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Bolivia Facts





What is the capital of Bolivia?
The official capital of Bolivia is the city of Sucre, which is the seat of its judicial system. However, the administrative capital is the larger city of La Paz, located high in the mountains.
Although La Paz’s population is technically lower than another city, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the greater metropolitan area of La Paz contains more people than anywhere else in Bolivia, with more than two million residents.

What is the total population of Bolivia?
Bolivia’s population is estimated to be more than 10 million people, perhaps even closer to 11 million. Several million of these are concentrated in a number of metropolitan areas like La Paz and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, but there is also a huge rural culture made up primarily of indigenous farmers.

What languages are spoken in Bolivia?
Several dozen languages are spoken in Bolivia, including at least thirty indigenous tongues and several European ones. The various indigenous languages, mainly Quechua and Aymara, are all considered to be official alongside Spanish, which is the nation’s most widely-spoken language.

What is the national religion in Bolivia?
The vast majority (about 95%) of Bolivians are Roman Catholic, with Protestant Christians making up most of the remainder. Native spiritual traditions are frequently practiced alongside the colonial Catholic religion, however.

What is the form of government in Bolivia?
Bolivia (full name: the Plurinational State of Bolivia) has been a presidential republic for the last thirty years, following a long period of wars, revolution, and unrest. Despite some corruption and forced retirements, no recent leader has been able to seize permanent power and become a dictator, and power has largely been transferred peacefully from one president to the next. The current president, Evo Morales, is the first leader to have been elected from Bolivia’s majority population of indigenous peoples.

What countries border Bolivia?
Bolivia is a landlocked country, bordered by Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru. Its ally Peru leases a small section of coastal land to Bolivia, but a port or naval base has yet to be built there.

How big is Bolivia?
Bolivia is found in the central and western part of South America, covering a rugged, mountainous area. Its size has changed many times since it was first liberated from Spanish rule by Antonio José de Sucre and the legendary Simón Bolívar. The country’s shape was usually altered through the loss of territories while at war with neighboring countries (most notably, Bolivia’s coastal region was lost to Chile, causing it to become landlocked). Today, the country has been measured at around 1,098,580 square kilometers, or about 424,160 square miles.

Who was Simón Bolívar?
Simón Bolívar was an extremely important political figure and legendary revolutionary leader in South America. He is widely regarded to be the single person most responsible for the many successful South American revolts that ultimately pushed colonial Spain out of the continent. Under the Spanish, the territory that is now Bolivia was part of what was called “Upper Peru” (Alto Perú). It was freed, along with present-day Peru, as part of a rebellion led by Simón Bolívar’s friend Antonio José de Sucre and aided by Bolívar himself. The new country was called Bolivia in honor of South America’s hero.

What are Bolivia’s main industries?
Bolivia is rich in minerals, and built up a huge industry in the nineteenth century surrounding the production of tin. Natural gas and agriculture form the other important exports. During the 1980s, Bolivia became a major source of illegal cocaine, but this was soon cracked down on and reduced dramatically. Bolivia’s tourist industry is one of its fastest-growing revenue streams, as more and more foreign visitors arrive to catch a glimpse of Salar de Uyuni, the country’s famous salt flat.

What is Salar de Uyuni?
Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat and one of its most unique locations. A thick crust of salt, which has formed over an ancient briny lake in the mountains, supports many special forms of wildlife and provides an impressive landscape. During seasonal floods, it becomes the world’s largest mirror, reflecting the skies from its perfectly flat surface. These properties make it one of the best places in the world to help calibrate satellites, and it has been used for this purpose many times. It also contains an estimated 50-70% of the world’s lithium reserves, although the Bolivian government has been cautious to allow mining due to environmental and social concerns.