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History of Bolivia

History of Bolivia

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This is the history of Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

. See also the history of Latin America
History of Latin America
Latin America refers to countries in the Americas where Romance languages are spoken. This definition, however, is not meant to include Canada, in spite of its large French-speaking population....

 and the history of the Americas
History of the Americas
The history of the Americas is the collective history of the American landmass, which includes North and South America, as well as Central America and the Caribbean. It begins with people migrating to these areas from Asia during the height of an Ice Age...

.

Bolivia is a landlocked country in South America. Bolivia became independent on August 6, 1825.

Pre-Hispanic period



The region that is now known as Bolivia has been constantly occupied for over 2000 years, when the Aymara arrived in the region, eventually settling in Western Bolivia, Southern Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 and Northern Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

. Present-day Aymara associate themselves with an advanced civilization situated at Tiwanaku
Tiwanaku
Tiwanaku, is an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia, South America. Tiwanaku is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire, flourishing as the ritual and administrative capital of a major state power for approximately five...

, in Western Bolivia. The capital city of Tiwanaku dates as early as 1200 BC as a small agriculturally-based village. The community grew to urban proportions between AD 600 and AD 800, becoming an important regional power in the southern Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

. According to early estimates, at its maximum extent, the city covered approximately 6.5 square kilometers, and had between 15,000 - 30,000 inhabitants. However, satellite imaging was used recently to map the extent of "flooded-raised field" agriculture (Aymara language: suka kollus) across the three primary valleys of Tiwanaku, arriving at population-carrying capacity estimates of anywhere between 285,000 and 1,482,000 people.

Around AD 400, Tiwanaku went from being a locally dominant force to a predatory state. Tiwanaku expanded its reaches into the Yungas and brought its culture and way of life to many other cultures in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. However, Tiwanaku was not a violent culture in many aspects. In order to expand its reach Tiwanaku became very political creating colonies, trade agreements (which made the other cultures rather dependant), and state cults.

The empire continued to grow with no end in sight. William H. Isbell states that "Tiahuanaco underwent a dramatic transformation between AD 600 and 700 that established new monumental standards for civic architecture and greatly increased the resident population." Tiwanaku continued to absorb cultures rather than eradicate them. Archaeologists have seen a dramatic adoption of Tiwanaku ceramics in the cultures who became part of the Tiwanaku empire. Tiwanaku gained its power through the trade it implemented between all of the cities within its empire. The elites gained their status by the surplus of food they gained from all of the regions and then by having the ability to redistribute the food among all the people. This is where the control of llama
Llama
The llama is a South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times....

 herds became very significant to Tiwanaku. The llama herds were essential for carrying goods back and forth between the center and the periphery as well as symbolizing the distance between the commoners and the elites. Their power continued to grow in this manner of a surplus of resources until about AD 950. At this time a dramatic shift in climate occurred.

At this point in time there was a significant drop in precipitation for the Titicaca Basin. Some archaeologists even venture to say that a great drought occurred. As the rain became less and less many of the cities further away from Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is a lake located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It sits 3,811 m above sea level, making it the highest commercially navigable lake in the world...

 began to produce less crops to give to the elites. As the surplus of food ran out for the elites their power began to fall. The capital city became the last place of production, due to the resiliency of the raised fields, but in the end even the intelligent design of the fields was no match for the weather. Tiwanaku disappeared around AD 1000 because food production, their main source of power, dried up. The land was not inhabited for many years after that.

Inca rule



Between 1438 and 1527, the Inca empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

 embarked on a mass expansion, acquiring much of what is now western Bolivia. However, they could not maintain control of the region for long as the rapidly expanding Inca Empire was internally weak, but nonetheless left the greatest mark on the Bolivian culture. In 1430, the Inca civilization swept across the western part of Bolivia. During this time, the Incas’ expansion increased under the rule of their ninth emperor, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, whose reign lasted from 1438 to 1471. Pachacuti Yupanqui was succeeded by his son, Topa Inca Yupanqui whose reign also increased the Incan territory and lasted from 1471 to 1493. During the fifteenth century the Incas conquered the region of Lake Titicaca, the last of the Aymaran people and the last of the Native Bolivians. Thus, western Bolivia became a part of the Inca territory.

Since the Incas had conquered the remaining parts of the Bolivian Altiplano
Altiplano
The Altiplano , in west-central South America, where the Andes are at their widest, is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside of Tibet...

, the native peoples experienced a breakthrough in what achievements. Like other cultures, the Inca spread their religion and language, Quechua, to their newly conquered territories. The Incas made an exception to the peoples living near Lake Titicaca; they were allowed to continue speaking Aymara. The Bolivians were introduced to a number of farming techniques, such as, terracing and the quipu
Quipu
Quipus or khipus were recording devices used in the Inca Empire and its predecessor societies in the Andean region. A quipu usually consisted of colored, spun, and plied thread or strings from llama or alpaca hair. It could also be made of cotton cords...

 system of keeping record with knotted strings (knotted strings of various lengths and colors were used for recording numerical information). The Incas were master builders and they constructed an elaborate system of roads, irrigation, and terraced mountain slopes.

Western Bolivia was not the only territory to be conquered by the Inca. Andean Ecuador, Peru, northern Chile, and northwestern Argentina made up an empire that stretched 2,000 miles in South America. The Inca enforced rules on the peoples living on the Bolivian Altiplano, but ruled as a welfare state; food, clothing, and shelter was provided for the needy and elderly. Like other Incans, Bolivians were expected to work for a number of days every year. If a person was unable to accomplish the designated number of days, they were punishable by death.

The Incan empire, before western contact, was thriving; everyone received the items that they needed. The Inca had a sort of caste system within the empire: the Inca ruling class, the priests, and the ayllus (the basic political and social units of Inca life). The Incas had an imperial colonization policy that intended to ensure the loyalty of the people to the empire by uprooting conquered people and whole communities and resettling them in safe territories that were friendly and loyal to the empire.

Conquest by Spain



Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

, Diego de Almagro
Diego de Almagro
Diego de Almagro, , also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo , was a Spanish conquistador and a companion and later rival of Francisco Pizarro. He participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile.Almagro lost his left eye battling with coastal...

, and Hernando de Luque
Hernando de Luque
Hernando de Luque was a Spanish priest who travelled to the New World in the 16th century. He arrived in 1514 with the expedition of Pedrarias Dávila to Panama, where he met Francisco Pizarro. Luque financed a joint expedition by Pizarro and Diego de Almagro to Peru in 1526...

 led the Spanish discovery and conquest of the Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

. They first sailed south in 1524 along the Pacific coast from Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 to confirm the existence of a legendary land of gold called "Biru" (later altered to Peru).

Because the rapidly expanding Inca Empire was internally weak, the conquest was remarkably easy. After the Inca Huayna Capac
Huayna Capac
Huayna Capac was the eleventh Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire and sixth of the Hanan dynasty. He was the successor to Tupac Inca Yupanqui.-Name:In Quechua, his name is spelled Wayna Qhapaq, and in Southern Quechua, it is Vaina Ghapakh...

 died in 1527, his sons Huascar
Huáscar
Huáscar Inca was Sapa Inca of the Inca empire from 1527 to 1532 AD, succeeding his father Huayna Capac and brother Ninan Cuyochi, both of whom died of smallpox while campaigning near Quito.After the conquest, the Spanish put forth the idea that Huayna Capac may have...

 and Atahualpa
Atahualpa
Atahualpa, Atahuallpa, Atabalipa, or Atawallpa , was the last Sapa Inca or sovereign emperor of the Tahuantinsuyu, or the Inca Empire, prior to the Spanish conquest of Peru...

 fought over the succession. Although Atahualpa defeated his brother, he had not yet consolidated his power when the Spaniards arrived in 1532, and he seriously misjudged their strength. Atahualpa did not attempt to defeat Pizarro when he arrived on the coast in 1532 because the Incan ruler was convinced that those who commanded the mountains also controlled the coast. When Pizarro formed alliances with Indians who resented Inca rule, Atahualpa did not modify the Inca ceremonial approach to warfare, which included launching attacks by the light of the full moon. Atahualpa’s refusal to accept the permanent Spanish presence and to convert led to the bloody Battle of Cajamarca
Battle of Cajamarca
The Battle of Cajamarca was a surprise attack on the Inca royal entourage orchestrated by Francisco Pizarro. Sprung on the evening of November 16, 1532, in the great plaza of Cajamarca, the ambush achieved the goal of capturing the Inca, Atahualpa, and claimed the lives of thousands of his...

 on 16 November 1532. Pizarro executed Atahualpa's 12 man honor guard and took the Inca captive at the so-called ransom room. One year later, the Inca capital of Cuzco
Cusco
Cusco , often spelled Cuzco , is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. In 2007, the city had a population of 358,935 which was triple the figure of 20 years ago...

 fell and was refounded as a new Spanish settlement in 1534.

Despite Pizarro's quick victory, Indian rebellions soon began and continued periodically throughout the colonial period. In 1537, Manco Inca, whom the Spanish had established as a puppet emperor, rebelled against the new rulers and restored a "neoInca" state. This state continued to challenge Spanish authority even after the Spanish suppressed the revolt and beheaded Túpac Amaru
Túpac Amaru
Túpac Amaru, also called Thupa Amaro , was the last indigenous leader of the Inca state in Peru.-Accession:...

 in the public square of Cuzco in 1572. Later revolts in the Bolivian highlands were usually organized by the elders of the community and remained local in nature, except for the great rebellion of Túpac Amaru II
Túpac Amaru II
Túpac Amaru II was a leader of an indigenous uprising in 1780 against the Spanish in Peru...

 in the 18th century.

During the first two decades of Spanish rule, the settlement of the Bolivian highlands — now known as Upper (Alto) Peru or Charcas
Charcas
Charcas may refer to:* Charcas Province, a province in Potosí Department, Bolivia* Real Audiencia of Charcas, one of six political units of the Viceroyalty of Peru* Charcas, a historical name of Sucre, capital of Bolivia...

 — was delayed by a civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

 between the forces of Pizarro and those of Almagro
Diego de Almagro
Diego de Almagro, , also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo , was a Spanish conquistador and a companion and later rival of Francisco Pizarro. He participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile.Almagro lost his left eye battling with coastal...

. The two conquistadors had divided the Incan territory, with the north under the control of Pizarro and the south under that of Almagro. But fighting broke out in 1537 when Almagro seized Cuzco after suppressing the Manco Inca rebellion. Pizarro defeated and executed Almagro in 1538 but was himself assassinated three years later by former supporters of Almagro. Pizarro's brother Gonzalo assumed control of Upper Peru but soon became embroiled in a rebellion against the Spanish crown. Only with the execution of Gonzalo Pizarro
Gonzalo Pizarro
Gonzalo Pizarro y Alonso was a Spanish conquistador and younger paternal half-brother of Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of the Inca Empire...

 in 1548 did Spain succeed in reasserting its authority; later that year, colonial authorities established the city of La Paz
La Paz
Nuestra Señora de La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia, as well as the departmental capital of the La Paz Department, and the second largest city in the country after Santa Cruz de la Sierra...

, which soon became an important commercial and trans-shipment center.

Indian resistance delayed the conquest and settlement of the Bolivian lowlands. The Spanish established Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, commonly known as Santa Cruz, is the capital of the Santa Cruz department in eastern Bolivia and the largest city in the country...

 in 1561, but the Gran Chaco
Gran Chaco
The Gran Chaco is a sparsely populated, hot and semi-arid lowland region of the Río de la Plata basin, divided among eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, northern Argentina and a portion of the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, where it is connected with the Pantanal region...

, the colonial name for the arid Chaco region, remained a violent frontier throughout colonial rule. In the Chaco, the Indians, mostly Chiriguano, carried out unrelenting attacks against colonial settlements and remained independent of direct Spanish control.

Spanish administration


During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was called "Upper Peru
Upper Peru
Upper Peru was the region in the Viceroyalty of Peru, and after 1776, the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, comprising the governorships of Potosí, La Paz, Cochabamba, Los Chiquitos, Moxos and Charcas...

" or "Charcas" and was under the authority of the Viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 of Lima. Local government came from the Real Audiencia of Charcas located in Chuquisaca or La Plata (modern Sucre
Sucre
Sucre, also known historically as Charcas, La Plata and Chuquisaca is the constitutional capital of Bolivia and the capital of the department of Chuquisaca. Located in the south-central part of the country, Sucre lies at an elevation of 2750m...

). Bolivian silver mines
Geology of Bolivia
The geology of Bolivia compromises a variety of different lithologies as well as tectonic and sedimentary environments. On a synoptic scale, geological units coincide with topographical units, to begin the country is divided into a mountainous western area affected by the subduction processes in...

 produced much of the Spanish empire's wealth, and Potosí
Potosí
Potosí is a city and the capital of the department of Potosí in Bolivia. It is one of the highest cities in the world by elevation at a nominal . and it was the location of the Spanish colonial mint, now the National Mint of Bolivia...

, site of the famed Cerro Rico — "Rich Mountain" — was, for many years, the largest city in the Western Hemisphere.

The longevity of Spain's empire in South America can be explained partly by the successful administration of the colonies. Spain was at first primarily interested in controlling the independent-minded conquerors, but its main goal soon became maintaining the flow of revenue to the crown and collecting the tribute of goods and labor from the Indian population. To this end, Spain soon created an elaborate bureaucracy in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 in which various institutions served as watchdogs over each other and local officials had considerable autonomy.

Upper Peru, at first a part of the Viceroyalty of Peru
Viceroyalty of Peru
Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima...

, joined the new Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
The Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, , was the last and most short-lived Viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire in America.The Viceroyalty was established in 1776 out of several former Viceroyalty of Perú dependencies that mainly extended over the Río de la Plata basin, roughly the present day...

 (whose capital was Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

) when it was created in 1776. The viceroy was aided by the audiencia (council), which was simultaneously the highest court of appeal in the jurisdiction and, in the absence of the viceroy, also had administrative and executive powers. The wealth of Upper Peru and its remoteness from Lima convinced the authorities in Lima to create an audiencia in the city of Chuquisaca (present-day Sucre) in 1558. Chuquisaca had become particularly important as Potosí's administrative and agricultural supply center. The jurisdiction of the audiencia, known as Charcas, initially covered a radius of 100 leagues
League (unit)
A league is a unit of length . It was long common in Europe and Latin America, but it is no longer an official unit in any nation. The league originally referred to the distance a person or a horse could walk in an hour...

 (1,796 km²) around Chuquisaca, but it soon included Santa Cruz and territory belonging to present-day Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

 and, until 1568, also the entire district of Cuzco. The president of the audiencia had judicial authority as well as administrative and executive powers in the region, but only in routine matters; more important decisions were made in Lima. This situation led to a competitive attitude and the reputation of Upper Peru for assertiveness, a condition reinforced by the economic importance of the region.

Spain exercised its control of smaller administrative units in the colonies through royal officials, such as the corregidor, who represented the king in the municipal governments that were elected by their citizens. By the early 17th century, there were four corregidores in Upper Peru.

In the late 18th century, Spain undertook an administrative reform to increase revenues of the crown and eliminate a number of abuses. It created an intendancy system, giving extensive powers to highly qualified officials who were directly responsible to the king. In 1784, Spain established four intendancy districts in Upper Peru, covering the present-day departments of La Paz, Cochabamba, Potosí, and Chuquisaca.

At first, the Spanish crown controlled the local governments indirectly, but in time slowly centralized procedures. At first, Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, Count of Oropesa
Francisco de Toledo, Count of Oropesa
Francisco Álvarez de Toledo, Count of Oropesa was Spanish viceroy of Peru from November 26, 1569 to September 23, 1581.-Early years:...

 confirmed the rights of local nobles and guaranteed them local autonomy. But the crown eventually came to employ Spanish officials, corregidores de indios, to collect tribute and taxes from the Indians. Corregidores de indios also imported goods and forced the Indians to buy them, a widely abused practice that proved to be an enormous source of wealth for these officials but caused much resentment among the Indian population.

With the first settlers in Upper Peru came the secular and regular clergy to begin the conversion of the Indians to Christianity. In 1552, the first bishopric
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

 in Upper Peru was established in La Plata; in 1605 La Paz and Santa Cruz also became bishoprics. In 1623, the Jesuits established the Royal and Pontifical Higher University of San Francisco Xavier of Chuquisaca
University of Saint Francis Xavier
The Royal and Pontificial Major University of Saint Francis Xavier of Chuquisaca is a public university in Sucre, Bolivia. It is one of the oldest universities of the new world, ranking as the second oldest university in the Americas behind Peru's National University of San Marcos...

, Upper Peru's first university.

Indian reaction to colonial rule and conversion to Christianity varied. Many Indians adapted to Spanish ways by breaking with their traditions and actively attempting to enter the market economy. They also used the courts to protect their interests, especially against new tribute assessments. Others, however, clung to their customs as much as possible, and some rebelled against the white rulers. Local, mostly uncoordinated, rebellions occurred throughout colonial rule. More than 100 revolts occurred in the 18th century alone in Bolivia and Peru.

Although the official Inca religion
Inca religion
In the heterogeneous Inca Empire several polytheistic religions were practiced by its different people. Most religions had common traits such as the existence of a Pachamama and Viracocha...

 disappeared rapidly, the Indians continued their local worship under the protection of local Indian rulers. But as Christianity influenced the Indians, a new folk-Catholicism developed, incorporating symbols of the indigenous religion. Whereas early Indian rebellions were anti-Christian, the revolts at the end of the 16th century were based in messianic Christian symbolism that was Roman Catholic and anti-Spanish. The church was tolerant of local Indian religions. For example, in 1582 the bishop of La Plata permitted the Indians to build a sanctuary for the dark Virgen de Copacabana on the shores of Lake Titicaca (Copacabana has been a traditional Aymara religious center ever since).

The conquest and colonial rule were traumatic experiences for the Indians. Easily susceptible to European diseases, the native population decreased rapidly. The situation worsened in the 18th century when Spain demanded higher tribute payments and increased mita obligations in an attempt to improve the mining output.

These profound economic and social changes and the breakup of native culture contributed to the increasing addiction of Indians to alcohol. Before the Spanish arrived, the Incas had consumed alcohol only during religious ceremonies. Indian use of the coca
Coca
Coca, Erythroxylum coca, is a plant in the family Erythroxylaceae, native to western South America. The plant plays a significant role in many traditional Andean cultures...

 leaf also expanded, and, according to one chronicler, at the end of the 16th century "in Potosí alone, the trade in coca amounts to over half a million peso
Peso
The word peso was the name of a coin that originated in Spain and became of immense importance internationally...

s a year, for 95,000 baskets of it are consumed."

Increasing Indian discontent with colonial rule sparked the great rebellion of Túpac Amaru II
Túpac Amaru II
Túpac Amaru II was a leader of an indigenous uprising in 1780 against the Spanish in Peru...

. Born to José Gabriel Condorcanqui, this educated, Spanish-speaking Native American took the name of his ancestor, Túpac Amaru. During the 1770s, he became embittered over the harsh treatment of the Indians by the corregidores de indios. In November 1780, Túpac Amaru II and his followers seized and executed a particularly cruel corregidor de indios. Although Túpac Amaru II insisted that his movement was reformist and did not seek to overthrow Spanish rule, his demands included an autonomous region. The uprising quickly became a full-scale revolt. Approximately 60,000 Indians in the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes rallied to the cause. After scoring some initial victories, including defeating a Spanish army of 1,200 men, Túpac Amaru II was captured and killed in May 1781; nonetheless, the revolt continued, primarily in Upper Peru. There, a supporter of Túpac Amaru II, the Indian chief Tomás Catari, had led an uprising in Potosí during the early months of 1780. Catari was killed by the Spaniards a month before Túpac Amaru II. Another major revolt was led by Julián Apaza, a sexton who took the names of the two rebel martyrs by calling himself Túpac Catari (also spelled Katari). He besieged La Paz for more than 100 days in 1781. In 1782, an Aymara woman, Bartolina Sisa
Bartolina Sisa
Bartolina Sisa was an Aymara woman, an indigenous heroine and the wife of Tupac Katari. Her date of birth is uncertain, some sources give it as August 24, 1753, while others give it as August 12, 1750...

, was executed for raising yet another revolt. Spain did not succeed in putting down all of the revolts until 1783 and then proceeded to execute thousands of Indians.

In the late 18th century, a growing discontent with Spanish rule developed among the criollos
Criollo people
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

(persons of pure Spanish descent born in the New World). Criollos began to assume active roles in the economy, especially in mining and agricultural production, and thus resented the trade barriers established by the mercantalist policies of the Spanish crown. In addition, criollos were incensed that Spain reserved all higher administrative positions for peninsulares (Spanish-born persons residing in the New World).

The Enlightenment, with its emphasis on reason, questioning of authority and tradition, and individualistic tendencies, also contributed to criollo discontent. The Inquisition
Inquisition
The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis , was the "fight against heretics" by several institutions within the justice-system of the Roman Catholic Church. It started in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy...

 had not kept the writings of Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic...

, Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

, Denis Diderot
Denis Diderot
Denis Diderot was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer. He was a prominent person during the Enlightenment and is best known for serving as co-founder and chief editor of and contributor to the Encyclopédie....

, Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

, Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States...

, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise...

, John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

, and others out of Spanish America; their ideas were often discussed by criollos, especially those educated at the university in Chuquisaca. At first the criollos of Upper Peru were influenced by the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, but they eventually rejected it as too violent. Although Upper Peru was fundamentally loyal to Spain, the ideas of the Enlightenment and independence from Spain continued to be discussed by scattered groups of radicals.

Struggle for independence



As Spanish royal authority weakened during the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, sentiment against colonial rule grew. Bolivian historiography dates the proclamation of independence to 1809, but 16 years of struggle followed before the establishment of a republic, named for Simón Bolívar
Simón Bolívar
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Yeiter, commonly known as Simón Bolívar was a Venezuelan military and political leader...



The invasion of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 in 1807-08 by Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

's forces proved critical to the independence struggle in South America. The overthrow of the Bourbon Dynasty
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 and the placement of Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte was the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily , and later King of Spain...

 on the Spanish throne tested the loyalty of the local elites in Upper Peru, who were suddenly confronted with several conflicting authorities. Most remained loyal to the Spanish Bourbons. Taking a wait-and-see attitude, they supported the Supreme Central Junta
Junta (Peninsular War)
In the Napoleonic era, junta was the name chosen by several local administrations formed in Spain during the Peninsular War as a patriotic alternative to the official administration toppled by the French invaders...

 in Spain, a government which claimed to rule in the name of the abdicated Ferdinand VII. Some liberals eagerly welcomed the possible reforms to colonial rule promised by Joseph Bonaparte. A few officials supported the claims to a type of regency
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of the Spanish realms by Ferdinand's sister, Carlota
Charlotte of Spain
Doña Carlota Joaquina of Spain was a Queen consort of Portugal as wife of John VI...

, who at the moment governed from Brazil
Colonial Brazil
In the history of Brazil, Colonial Brazil, officially the Viceroyalty of Brazil comprises the period from 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese, until 1815, when Brazil was elevated to kingdom alongside Portugal as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.During the over 300 years...

 with her husband, Prince Regent John of Portugal
John IV of Portugal
|-|John IV was the King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1640 to his death. He was the grandson of Catherine, Duchess of Braganza, who had in 1580 claimed the Portuguese crown and sparked the struggle for the throne of Portugal. John was nicknamed John the Restorer...

. Finally, a small number of radical Criollos
Criollo people
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

 wanted independence for Upper Peru.

This conflict of authority resulted in a local power struggle in Upper Peru between 1808 and 1810, which constituted the first phase of the efforts to achieve independence. In 1808, the president of the Audiencia, Ramón García León de Pizarro, leaned towards affiliation with Carlotta. But the oidor
Oidor
Oidor is the Spanish name of the member judge of the Royal Audiencias and Chancillerías, originally courts of Kingdom of Castile, which became the highest organs of justice within the Spanish Empire...

es
of the Audiencia favored the Supreme Central Junta. On 25 May 1809, the oidores deposed President García León and established a junta to govern in the name of Ferdinand VII. On 16 July 1809, Pedro Domingo Murillo led another revolt by Criollos and Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s in La Paz and proclaimed an independent junta of Upper Peru, which would govern in the name of Ferdinand VII. By November 1809, Cochabamba
Cochabamba
Cochabamba is a city in central Bolivia, located in a valley bearing the same name in the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cochabamba Department and is the fourth largest city in Bolivia with an urban population of 608,276 and a metropolitan population of more than 1,000,000 people...

, Oruro
Oruro, Bolivia
Oruro is a city in Bolivia with a population of 235,393 , located about equidistant between La Paz and Sucre at approximately 3710 meters above sea level. It is the capital of the department of Oruro....

, and Potosí
Potosí
Potosí is a city and the capital of the department of Potosí in Bolivia. It is one of the highest cities in the world by elevation at a nominal . and it was the location of the Spanish colonial mint, now the National Mint of Bolivia...

 had joined the La Paz junta. Both revolts were put down by forces sent to La Paz by the viceroys of Peru and the Río de La Plata.

During the following seven years, Upper Peru became the battleground for forces of the United Provinces of the River Plate
United Provinces of South America
The United Provinces of South America was the original name of the state that emerged from the May Revolution and the early developments of the Argentine War of Independence...

  and royalist troops from Peru. Although the royalists repulsed three Argentine invasions, guerrillas controlled parts of the countryside, where they formed six major republiquetas, or zones of insurrection. In these zones, local patriotism would eventually develop into a full fight for independence. By 1817, Upper Peru was relatively quiet and under the control of the Viceroyalty of Peru.


After 1820, conservative Criollos supported General Pedro Antonio de Olañeta, a Charcas native, who refused to accept the restoration of the liberal Spanish Constitution of 1812
Spanish Constitution of 1812
The Spanish Constitution of 1812 was promulgated 19 March 1812 by the Cádiz Cortes, the national legislative assembly of Spain, while in refuge from the Peninsular War...

. Olañeta, convinced that these measures threatened royal authority, refused to join either the liberal royalist forces or the rebel armies under the command of Bolívar and Antonio José de Sucre
Antonio José de Sucre
Antonio José de Sucre y Alcalá , known as the "Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho" , was a Venezuelan independence leader. Sucre was one of Simón Bolívar's closest friends, generals and statesmen.-Ancestry:...

. Olañeta did not relinquish his command even after the Peruvian royalists included him and his forces in their capitulation agreement following their defeat in the Battle of Ayacucho
Battle of Ayacucho
The Battle of Ayacucho was a decisive military encounter during the Peruvian War of Independence. It was the battle that sealed the independence of Peru, as well as the victory that ensured independence for the rest of South America...

 in 1824. Olañeta continued a quixotic war during the following months until Sucre defeated him, and he was killed by his own men on 1 April 1825, in a battle that effectively ended Spanish rule in Upper Peru. A constitutional congress declared Bolivia an independent republic on 6 August and named the new republic in honor of Bolívar because it considered him its founder.

19th century


During the presidency of Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz
Andrés de Santa Cruz
Andrés de Santa Cruz y Calahumana was President of Peru and Bolivia...

, Bolivia enjoyed the most successful period of her history with great social and economic advancement. Santa Cruz got involved in internal Peruvian political problems and succeeded in unifying Peru and Bolivia into a confederation, the Peru–Bolivian Confederation. As Santa Cruz openly declared the Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

 as a predecessor of his state, this move was perceived as a threat to regional power balance and a menace to countries on former Inca territory. The War of the Confederation
War of the Confederation
The War of the Confederation , was a conflict between the Peru-Bolivian Confederation on one side and Chile, Peruvian dissidents and Argentina, on the other, fought mostly in the actual territory of Peru and which ended with a Confederate defeat and the dissolution of the...

 broke out and different wars against almost all its neighbors were fought during this period with sound victories against its enemies but maybe the turning point took place on the fields of Paucarpata where the Confederacion Peru-Boliviana led by Santa Cruz forced the Chilean and Peruvian rebel armies to sign the peace treaty known as the Paucarpata Treaty which included their unconditional surrender; later this treaty was discarded by the Chilean parliament. The rebel Peruvians and the Chilean army set off to a new war against Santa Cruz, defeating the Confederation on the fields of Yungay. This was the turning point on Bolivian history after this moment for nearly 60 years, coups and short-lived constitutions dominated Bolivian politics.

Going through a vicious economical and political crisis Bolivia's military weakness was demonstrated during the War of the Pacific
War of the Pacific
The War of the Pacific took place in western South America from 1879 through 1883. Chile fought against Bolivia and Peru. Despite cooperation among the three nations in the war against Spain, disputes soon arose over the mineral-rich Peruvian provinces of Tarapaca, Tacna, and Arica, and the...

 (1879–83), when it lost its seacoast and the adjoining rich nitrate
Nitrate
The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of nitric acid, consisting of one central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically-bonded oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The nitrate ion carries a...

 fields to Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

. An increase in the world price of silver brought Bolivia a measure of relative prosperity and political stability in the late 1800s.

During the early part of the 20th century, tin replaced silver as the country's most important source of wealth. A succession of governmental applied laissez-faire
Laissez-faire
In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies....

  policies through the first third of the century.

Early 20th century



Living conditions of the indigenous peoples, who constitute more than half of the population, remained deplorable. Forced to work under primitive conditions in the mines and in nearly feudal status on large estates, they were denied access to education, economic opportunity, or political participation. Bolivia's defeat by Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

 in the Chaco War
Chaco War
The Chaco War was fought between Bolivia and Paraguay over control of the northern part of the Gran Chaco region of South America, which was incorrectly thought to be rich in oil. It is also referred to as La Guerra de la Sed in literary circles for being fought in the semi-arid Chaco...

 (1932–1935) marked a turning point. Great loss of life and territory discredited the traditional ruling classes, while service in the army produced stirrings of political awareness among the indigenous people. A large portion of Gran Chaco
Gran Chaco
The Gran Chaco is a sparsely populated, hot and semi-arid lowland region of the Río de la Plata basin, divided among eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, northern Argentina and a portion of the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, where it is connected with the Pantanal region...

 was surrendered to Paraguay. In return Bolivia was given an access to the Paraguay River
Paraguay River
The Paraguay River is a major river in south central South America, running through Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina...

 where later Puerto Busch
Puerto Busch
Puerto Busch is located in the province of Germán Busch, Santa Cruz Province, republic of Bolivia on the Paraguay River in eastern Bolivia. It is named in honor of General Germán Busch, who fought in the Chaco War....

 was founded and with this free access to the Atlantic Ocean over international water. In 1936 the Standard Oil
Standard Oil
Standard Oil was a predominant American integrated oil producing, transporting, refining, and marketing company. Established in 1870 as a corporation in Ohio, it was the largest oil refiner in the world and operated as a major company trust and was one of the world's first and largest multinational...

 was nationalized and the state-owned firm Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) was created. From the end of the Chaco War until the 1952 revolution, the emergence of contending ideologies and the demands of new groups convulsed Bolivian politics.

Bolivian National Revolution


Standing alongside the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

, the Bolivian National Revolution is one of the most significant sociopolitical events to occur in Latin America during the 20th century. The Revolutionary Nationalist Movement
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement
The Revolutionary Nationalist Movement is a Bolivian political party, perhaps the most important in the country during the 20th century. At the legislative elections in 2002, the party won, in an alliance with the Free Bolivia Movement, 26.9% of the popular vote and 36 out of 130 seats in the...

 (MNR) emerged from the ashes of the Chaco War in 1941 as a middle-class political coalition eschewing Marxism for a vague nationalist ideology better suited to Bolivia's social reality. The MNR participated in the military-civilian regime of Gualberto Villarroel (1943–46) but was deposed in 1946 by the mining oligarchy and the Partido Izquierda Revolucionario (PIR). Its members fled into exile and spent the next six years organizing. The party initiated a brief but bloody civil war in October 1949, but was defeated and once again, exiled. The MNR emerged victorious in the 1951 elections, but the results were called fraudulent by the opposition, and its right to the presidency was denied. On 9 April 1952, the MNR led a successful revolt and set into motion the Bolivian National Revolution. Under President Víctor Paz Estenssoro
Víctor Paz Estenssoro
Ángel Víctor Paz Estenssoro was a politician and president of Bolivia. He ran for president 8 times , winning in 1951, 1960, 1964, and 1985....

 and later, Hernan Siles, the MNR introduced universal adult suffrage, carried out a sweeping land reform, promoted rural education, and, in 1952, nationalized the country's largest tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 mines. What is especially significant about the Revolution is that, for the first time in Republican history, the State attempted to incorporate into national life the Aymara and Quechua peasants that together constituted no less than 65 percent of the total population. Although the policies pursued by the MNR were largely corporatist and assimilationist, it marked a significant turning point in Bolivia's contested history of indigenous-state relations.

Military rule


Twelve more tumultuous years of national reform left the country bitterly divided and in 1964, a military junta overthrew President Paz Estenssoro at the outset of his third term; an event that many assert brought an end to the National Revolution and marked the beginning of nearly 20 years of military rule in Bolivia. Many scholars have looked to the CIA in explaining the November 1964 coup, but an increasing number of declassified U.S. documents refute the claim. Towards the end of Paz's second term, Barrientos — a popular, Quechua-speaking General — had succeeded in co-opting the peasant unions formed in the wake of the 1953 agrarian reform, establishing the Pacto Militar-Campesino (PMC). Throughout the 1960s Barriento leveled the peasant unions against labor unrest in the mines. The 1969 death of President René Barrientos
René Barrientos
René Barrientos Ortuño was a Bolivian politician who served as his country's Vice President in 1964 and as its President from 1964 to 1969....

, a former member of the junta elected President in 1966, led to a succession of weak governments. A coup was led by the military, only to see a countercoup led by leftist Juan José Torres
Juan José Torres
Juan José Torres González was a Bolivian socialist politician and military leader. He served as President of Bolivia from October 7, 1970 to August 21, 1971. He was popularly known as "J.J."...

. Alarmed by public disorder, the military, the MNR, and others installed Col. (later General) Hugo Banzer Suárez as President in 1971. Banzer ruled with MNR support from 1971 to 1974. Then, impatient with schisms in the coalition, he replaced civilians with members of the armed forces and suspended political activities. The economy grew impressively during Banzer's presidency, but demands for greater political freedom undercut his support. His call for elections in 1978 plunged Bolivia into turmoil once again.

Elections in 1978, 1979, and 1980 were inconclusive and marked by fraud. There were coups, counter-coups, and caretaker governments. In 1980, Gen. Luis García Meza carried out a ruthless and violent coup. His government was notorious for human rights abuses, narcotics trafficking, and economic mismanagement. This led to a breakdown in relations with the U.S., which under both the Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 and Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 administrations refused to recognize García's government due to its drug ties. http://www.country-studies.com/bolivia/the-united-states.html Later convicted in absentia for crimes, including murder, García Meza was extradited from Brazil and began serving a 30-year sentence in 1995. Garcia Meza recently published an unapologetic autobiography entitled simply, Yo Dictador.

Transition to democracy


After a military rebellion forced out García Meza in 1981, three other military governments within 14 months struggled with Bolivia's growing problems. Unrest forced the military to convoke the Congress elected in 1980 and allowed it to choose a new chief executive.

1982 to present


In October 1982 –22 years after the end of his first term of office (1956–60)- Hernán Siles Zuazo
Hernán Siles Zuazo
Hernán Siles Zuazo was a politician from Bolivia. He served as his country's constitutionally elected president twice, from 1956 to 1960 and again from 1982 to 1985....

 again became President. Severe social tension, exacerbated by economic mismanagement and weak leadership, forced him to call early elections and relinquish power a year before the end of his constitutional term.

In the 1985 elections, the Nationalist Democratic Action Party (ADN) of Gen. Banzer won a plurality of the popular vote, followed by former President Paz Estenssoro's MNR and former Vice President Jaime Paz Zamora
Jaime Paz Zamora
Jaime Paz Zamora was President of Bolivia from August 6, 1989 to August 6, 1993. He also served as Vice-President between 1982 and 1984.-Foundation of the MIR and alliance with Siles Zuazo:...

's Revolutionary Left Movement
Revolutionary Left Movement (Bolivia)
The Revolutionary Left Movement - New Majority is a social democratic political party in Bolivia...

 (MIR). But in the congressional run-off, the MIR sided with MNR, and Paz Estenssoro was chosen for a fourth term as President. When he took office in 1985, he faced a staggering economic crisis. Economic output and exports had been declining for several years.

Hyperinflation
Hyperinflation
In economics, hyperinflation is inflation that is very high or out of control. While the real values of the specific economic items generally stay the same in terms of relatively stable foreign currencies, in hyperinflationary conditions the general price level within a specific economy increases...

 had reached an annual rate of 24,000%. Social unrest, chronic strikes, and unchecked drug trafficking were widespread. In 4 years, Paz Estenssoro's administration achieved economic and social stability. The military stayed out of politics, and all major political parties publicly and institutionally committed themselves to democracy. Human rights violations, which badly tainted some governments earlier in the decade, were no longer a problem. However, his remarkable accomplishments were not won without sacrifice. The collapse of tin prices in October 1985, coming just as the government was moving to reassert its control of the mismanaged state mining enterprise, forced the government to lay off over 20,000 miners.

Although the MNR list headed by Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada y Sánchez de Bustamante , familiarly known as "Goni", is a Bolivian politician, businessman, and former President of Bolivia. A lifelong member of the Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario , he is credited for using "shock therapy", the economic theory championed by then...

 finished first in the 1989 elections, no candidate received a majority of popular votes and so in accordance with the constitution, a congressional vote determined who would be president. The Patriotic Accord (AP) coalition between Gen. Banzer's ADN and Jaime Paz Zamora's MIR, the second- and third-place finishers, respectively, won out. Paz Zamora assumed the presidency, and the MIR took half the ministries. Banzer's center-right ADN took control of the National Political Council (CONAP) and the other ministries.

Paz Zamora
Jaime Paz Zamora
Jaime Paz Zamora was President of Bolivia from August 6, 1989 to August 6, 1993. He also served as Vice-President between 1982 and 1984.-Foundation of the MIR and alliance with Siles Zuazo:...

 was a moderate, center-left President whose political pragmatism in office outweighed his Marxist origins. Having seen the destructive hyperinflation of the Siles Zuazo administration, he continued the neoliberal economic reforms begun by Paz Estenssoro, codifying some of them. Paz Zamora took a fairly hard line against domestic terrorism, personally ordering the December 1990 attack on terrorists of the Néstor Paz Zamora Committee.

Paz Zamora's regime was less decisive against narcotics trafficking
Illegal drug trade
The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

. The government broke up a number of trafficking networks but issued a 1991 surrender decree giving lenient sentences to the biggest narcotics kingpins. Also, his administration was extremely reluctant to pursue coca eradication
Coca eradication
Coca eradication is a controversial strategy strongly promoted by the United States government starting in 1961 as part of its "War on Drugs" to eliminate the cultivation of coca, a plant whose leaves are not only traditionally used by indigenous cultures but also, in modern society, in the...

. It did not agree to an updated extradition treaty with the US, although two traffickers have been extradited to the U.S. since 1992. Beginning in early 1994, the Bolivian Congress investigated Paz Zamora's personal ties to accused major trafficker Isaac Chavarria, who subsequently died in prison while awaiting trial. MIR deputy chief Oscar Eid was jailed in connection with similar ties in 1994; he was found guilty and sentenced to 4 years in prison in November 1996. Technically still under investigation, Paz Zamora became an active presidential candidate in 1996.

The 1993 elections continued the tradition of open, honest elections and peaceful democratic transitions of power. The MNR defeated the ADN/MIR coalition by a 36% to 20% margin, and the MNR's Sánchez de Lozada was selected as president by an MNR/MBL/UCS coalition in the Congress.

Sánchez de Lozada pursued an aggressive economic and social reform agenda. The most dramatic change undertaken by the Sanchez de Lozada government was the capitalization program, under which investors acquired 50% ownership and management control of public enterprises, such as the Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) oil-corporation, telecommunications system, electric utilities, and others. The reforms and economic restructuring were strongly opposed by certain segments of society, which instigated frequent social disturbances, particularly in La Paz and the Chapare
Chapare Province
Chapare, also called The Chapare and is pronounced Cha-pa-reh, is a rural province in the northern region of Cochabamba Department in central Bolivia. The majority of the territory consists of valley rainforests that surround the area's main waterway, the Chapare River, which is also a tributary of...

 coca-growing region, from 1994 through 1996.

In the 1997 elections, Gen. Hugo Banzer
Hugo Banzer
Hugo Banzer Suárez was a politician, military general, dictator and President of Bolivia. He held the Bolivian presidency twice: from August 22, 1971 to July 21, 1978, as a dictator; and then again from August 6, 1997 to August 7, 2001, as constitutional President.-Military and ideological...

, leader of the ADN, won 22% of the vote, while the MNR candidate won 18%. Gen. Banzer formed a coalition of the ADN, MIR, UCS, and CONDEPA parties which hold a majority of seats in the Bolivian Congress. The Congress elected him as president and he was inaugurated on 6 August 1997.

2000 Cochabamba protests


Between January and April 2000, a series of anti-privatization protests took place in Cochabamba
Cochabamba
Cochabamba is a city in central Bolivia, located in a valley bearing the same name in the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cochabamba Department and is the fourth largest city in Bolivia with an urban population of 608,276 and a metropolitan population of more than 1,000,000 people...

 against the privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 of the municipal water supply that was being pushed through on the recommendation of the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and the International Monetary Fund. The Bolivian government declared martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

, killing several people, arresting protest leaders and shutting down radio stations. After continued disturbances and civic pressure, the government finally rolled back the privatization on 10 April 2000.

In 2001, Bechtel filed suit against the Bolivian government, citing damages of more for $25 million. Bechtel argues that its contract was only to administer the water system, which suffered from terrible internal corruption and poor service, and that the local government raised water prices. The continuing legal battle attracted attention from anti-globalization
Anti-globalization
Criticism of globalization is skepticism of the claimed benefits of the globalization of capitalism. Many of these views are held by the anti-globalization movement however other groups also are critical of the policies of globalization....

 and anti-capitalist groups. This topic is explored in the 2003 documentary film The Corporation and on Bechtel's website. In January 2006, Bechtel and the other international partners settled the lawsuit against the Bolivian government for a reported $0.30 (thirty cents) after intense protests and a ruling on jurisdiction favorable to Bechtel by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.

2002 presidential election


President Hugo Banzer
Hugo Banzer
Hugo Banzer Suárez was a politician, military general, dictator and President of Bolivia. He held the Bolivian presidency twice: from August 22, 1971 to July 21, 1978, as a dictator; and then again from August 6, 1997 to August 7, 2001, as constitutional President.-Military and ideological...

 resigned in August 2001, due to being diagnosed with lung cancer. He was succeeded by his vice-president, Jorge Quiroga
Jorge Quiroga
Jorge Fernando "Tuto" Quiroga Ramírez was President of Bolivia from August 7, 2001 to August 6, 2002. He is of Spanish descent.-Background and early life:...

. In the 2002 presidential elections
Bolivian presidential election, 2002
The 2002 Bolivian presidential election took place on 30 June 2002. The election took place on the same day as the 2002 Bolivian legislative election. No candidate won over half of the vote, therefore the National Congress of Bolivia elected the president from the two candidates who had received...

, Sánchez de Lozada ran again, and narrowly beat NFR's Manfred Reyes Villa
Manfred Reyes Villa
Manfred Reyes Villa is a Bolivian politician, who was mayor of Cochabamba four times and ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 2002 and 2009 against Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and Evo Morales Ayma. He founded and led the Nueva Fuerza Republicana political party...

 and the cocalero
Cocalero
Cocaleros are the coca leaf growers of Peru and Bolivia. Evo Morales, who became president of Bolivia in 2006, is a leader of the cocalero movement in that country.-Cocalero movement:...

and indigenous leader Evo Morales
Evo Morales
Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

 of the Movement Toward Socialism
Movement for Socialism (Bolivia)
The Movement for Socialism-Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples , alternately referred to as "Movement Toward Socialism" or "Movement to Socialism", is a left-wing, socialist, Bolivian political organization led by Evo Morales, founded in 1995...

 (MAS) party, in an election claimed to have been tainted by clear signs of electoral fraud .

Several days before Bolivians went to the voting booths, the U.S. ambassador, Manuel Rocha
Manuel Rocha
-Background:Rocha graduated from Taft School in 1969 and graduated from Yale University cum laude in 1973. He received a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University in 1976 and a Master of Arts in international relations from Georgetown University in 1978.Rocha began his...

, warned the Bolivian electorate that, if they voted for Morales, the US would cut off foreign aid and close its markets to the country. Morales nonetheless received nearly 21% of the vote, putting him only a couple points behind Sánchez de Lozada.

Black October


In recent years, an increasingly divisive conflict has been the Bolivian Gas War
Bolivian Gas War
The Bolivian gas conflict was a social confrontation in Bolivia centering on the exploitation of the country's vast natural gas reserves. The expression can be extended to refer to the general conflict in Bolivia over the exploitation of gas resources, thus including the 2005 protests and the...

; a dispute over the exploitation of Bolivia's large natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 reserves in the south of the country.

Strikes and blockades first erupted in September 2003, with several deaths and dozens of injuries in confrontations with the armed forces. President Sánchez de Lozada resigned under pressure from protesters, formally handing over the presidency to his vice-president, Carlos Mesa, in order to preserve the Constitutional order. He fled the country to the United States. Mesa was inaugurated and promised to address the demands of the protesting majority. In the face of mounting protests, he resigned on March 7th 2005, claiming he was unable to continue governing the country. With promises of support, he withdrew his resignation.

In May–June 2005, Mesa again tendered his resignation and in a hastily convened session of the Parliament in Sucre
Sucre
Sucre, also known historically as Charcas, La Plata and Chuquisaca is the constitutional capital of Bolivia and the capital of the department of Chuquisaca. Located in the south-central part of the country, Sucre lies at an elevation of 2750m...

, Mr.Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé - the President of the Supreme Court - became President on the night of June 9th 2005. Political agreements were reached to modify the Constitution, and allow the full renewal of Parliament, simultaneously with a Presidential Election, on December 4th 2005.

The 2005 election and the Evo Morales administration


The deterioration of the political system contributed towards the rise of a loose confederation of indigenous social movements, the MAS
Movement for Socialism (Bolivia)
The Movement for Socialism-Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples , alternately referred to as "Movement Toward Socialism" or "Movement to Socialism", is a left-wing, socialist, Bolivian political organization led by Evo Morales, founded in 1995...

 and others parties, with the head of the MAS, Evo Morales
Evo Morales
Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

, a former cocalero
Cocalero
Cocaleros are the coca leaf growers of Peru and Bolivia. Evo Morales, who became president of Bolivia in 2006, is a leader of the cocalero movement in that country.-Cocalero movement:...

, as leader. In the elections of December 2005
Bolivian presidential election, 2005
The 2005 Bolivian presidential election was held on December 18, 2005. The two main candidates were Evo Morales of the Movement Towards Socialism Party, and Jorge Quiroga, leader of the Democratic and Social Power Party and former head of the Acción Democrática Nacionalista Party. Felipe Quispe,...

 Evo Morales and MAS obtained a comfortable victory reaching 54% of the electorate's votes, becoming the first Native Bolivian president in history.

On 1 May 2006, Evo Morales delivered on his promises to nationalize most of Bolivia's natural gas fields, which many indigenous Bolivians had demanded for years. Troops were sent in to occupy the gas fields and take back control from foreign companies that same day. Many were operated by Petrobras
Petrobras
Petróleo Brasileiro or Petrobras is a semi-public Brazilian multinational energy corporation headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is the largest company in Latin America by market capitalization and revenue, and the largest company headquartered in the Southern Hemisphere by market...

, Brazil's largest energy company, and this political development was expected to strain relations between Morales and Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva , known popularly as Lula, served as the 35th President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010.A founding member of the Workers' Party , he ran for President three times unsuccessfully, first in the 1989 election. Lula achieved victory in the 2002 election, and was inaugurated as...

. On 29 October 2006, the Morales government signed agreements with eight foreign gas firms including Petrobras, to give the Bolivian national gas company a majority stake in the gas fields, bringing the nationalization to completion.

In late August 2007, the MAS purged the Constitutional Tribunal of magistrates that voted earlier in the year against Morales' move to fill Supreme Court vacancies while Congress was in recess. The purge dismantled the outlet for arbitration between branches of government.

On 4 May 2008, autonomy referendums were held in four eastern departments, in which they declared themselves autonomous from the central government. All four referendums passed. Evo Morales deemed this referendum illegal. Turnout was as low as 70%.

In February 2009 a new constitution was enacted by Evo Morales. This gave Bolivians of indigenous descent more economic and political rights.

See also

  • Bolivia Gas War (the social conflict about the issue of the Bolivian natural gas
    Natural gas
    Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

     reserves)
  • Charca people
  • History of the Americas
    History of the Americas
    The history of the Americas is the collective history of the American landmass, which includes North and South America, as well as Central America and the Caribbean. It begins with people migrating to these areas from Asia during the height of an Ice Age...

  • History of Latin America
    History of Latin America
    Latin America refers to countries in the Americas where Romance languages are spoken. This definition, however, is not meant to include Canada, in spite of its large French-speaking population....

  • History of South America
    History of South America
    The history of South America is the study of the past, particularly the written record, oral histories, and traditions, passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's western hemisphere and southern hemisphere. South America has a history that spans a wide range of human...

  • List of Presidents of Bolivia
  • Politics of Bolivia
    Politics of Bolivia
    The politics of Bolivia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the president is head of state, head of government and head of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the...

  • Spanish colonization of the Americas
    Spanish colonization of the Americas
    Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...


External links