30 Interesting Facts about Bolivia  

2 weeks ago in Knowledge Feed

30 Interesting Facts about Bolivia  

Bolivia is a landlocked country in central South America and has a varied terrain that spans the Amazon rainforests, the Andes mountains, and the Atacama Desert. The scenery that encompasses the country is wonderful. There is much to explore its culture and the wilderness that surrounds it. Let us check out some of the most interesting facts about the country.

  1. Bolivia got its name from Simon Bolivar - the Venezuelan political and military leader who earned the independence of Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador from Spain in 1825. Simon Bolivar also went on to become the first president of Bolivia.
  2. The Republic of Bolivia became independent on the 6th of August, 1825. Soon afterward, on the 3rd of October, 1825, after getting approval, the name was changed from the Republic of Bolivia to Bolivia.
  3. Slavery was prevalent in Bolivia before its independence. Soon afterward, the system of slavery was abolished in 1831, but it was not until 1851 that it really ended.
  4. Bolivia is the 5th largest country in South America and the 27th largest in the world.
  5. Bolivia has 2 capital cities - Sucre and La Paz. While La Paz is the seat of the legislative and the executive branches of the national government here, the official and judicial capital of the country sits at Sucre.
  6. The administrative capital of the country - La Paz - sits on the Altiplano plateau of the Andes. It is the highest administrative capital in the world, sitting at heights of more than 3,500m above the sea level. The snow-capped Mt. Illimani can be seen in the background.
  7. Sucre is a city that can be found in the southern highlands of Bolivia. Bolivia’s Declaration of Independence was signed at Casa de la Libertad. The complex houses the galleries that relate the city to its past. It is the sixth-largest city in Bolivia in terms of population.
  8. The Camino de lasYungas or the North Yungas Road is a 56 km long patch of road that connects the city of La Paz to the Yungas region of Bolivia. The road also includes the Cotapata - Santa Barbara which has replaced the old ‘Road of Death’, which is now reserved only for cycling activities. It is known as the ‘world’s most dangerous road’.
  9. El Alto is the highest city in the world. It is not a small town but a large city with a population of about 1.2 million. El Alto sits at a height of about 1,350 m or 13,615 ft above the sea level.
  10. Bolivia is the poorest country in South America, even after being rich in minerals. However, this fact is changing in recent times. The educational opportunities in the country are very low and not even 1 in every 4 youngsters makes it to secondary school.
  11. Zebras (not actual zebras, but people dressed as zebras) wander through the streets of La Paz and help children cross the streets safely. They also educate drivers and pedestrians about road safety.
  12. Bolivia is surrounded by land on all sides - Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile. However, a part of Lake Titicaca falls in Bolivia, which is the highest navigable lake and sits at 3,805 m above the sea level. There are often disputes with Peru over the lake on the grounds of territorial claims.
  13. The only other landlocked country in South America in Paraguay. At the war of the Pacific in the 1880s, Bolivia lost 420 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline and 120,000 square kilometers of land to Chile.
  14. Different landscapes can be seen through the country - the highlands have rough and icy mountains with some volcanic peaks as well. The Amazon basin has dense vegetation.
  15. The climate thus varies throughout the country. The western part is cold because of the Andes highlands. The eastern side is warm. The plains are hot and humid, especially in the Amazon basin.
  16. The highest point of Bolivia is Nevado Sajama at a height of about 6,542 m (or 21,463ft). Several active volcanoes can be found among the Andes mountains, especially on the border with Chile. The last volcanic eruption took place at Irruputuncu in 1995.
  17. Salar de Uyuni - the largest salt flat - lies in Bolivia. It is referred to as the ‘largest mirror on Earth’. It was a prehistoric lake that went dry and left behind a desert of bright white salt, spanning over 11,000 sq km with rock formations and islands filled cacti. Many pink flamingos can be seen in the area.
  18. The second-largest lake in Bolivia was Lake Poopo. However, the lake is no more as the water has completely dried up due to a change in the climate. The lake sits about 12,000 ft above the sea level. It can be seen in the Andean plains.
  19. A hotel can be found on the salt flat - Palacio de Sal (meaning the Palace of Salt). The construction was done in 1993 to 1995. The entire hotel was constructed from a million 14-inch blocks of salt. There were used to make the walls, floor, ceiling, and furniture.
  20. Bolivia has a tradition where people offer dead animals to the gods in return for blessings. Dead animals are sold on the streets of Bolivia, including dried llama fetuses to be offered to Pachamama (or Mother Nature).
  21. Bolivia is a country where there are multiple official languages - 37 to be exact! Though Spanish is the main language here, the others are Aymara, Quechua, and Guarani. 33 other languages have been officially recognized in the country.
  22. About 36 indigenous cultures are present in Bolivia. They constitute about 62 to 70 percent of the Bolivian population. Each of these cultures has its own languages and customs. The largest cultural group in Bolivia are the Quechuas. The second-largest in the region is Aymara.
  23. A clock sits on the National Congress building right in the main square of La Paz. However, this clock runs backward. This device intends to urge its citizens to think differently and not blindly follow the norms and customs that prevail.
  24. The GuembeBiocenter in Santa Cruz, Bolivia is home to the world’s largest butterfly sanctuary. The place spans over 24 hectares. The center remains open 365 days in a year and is located just 20 minutes from downtown Santa Cruz. There are bars, restaurants, bungalows, resorts, picnic and barbecue areas within the sanctuary. You can spend a lot of time in this place.
  25. One of the largest protected areas in the world - Madidi National Park - covers an area of about 18.958 sq kilometers. About 8,500 different species of flora and fauna have been found here by researchers so far and it is expected that the number should be somewhere around 11,400.
  26. One amazing attraction in Bolivia is the San Pedro prison. This prison is unique in the fact that unlike other prisons, it allows its inmates to live with their families. They can work, earn and buy or rent accommodation.
  27. About 5055 footprints of 8 different species of dinosaurs have been found in Bolivia. It is located in Cal Orko - an imposing limestone slab that is about 80 meters high and 1.5 km long. These marks are 68 million years old. The most unbelievable fact is that they stand on a vertical wall. It is believed that the movement of tectonic plates has pushed the flat ground at such an angle.
  28. The dolphins in the Amazonian rivers, known as Bolivian Bufeo, are pink in color. These species live strictly in freshwater and have adapted to this environment. These dolphins are slightly smaller than the pink dolphins that can be found in Peru and Brazil. They have declared a part of Bolivia’s Natural Heritage.
  29. About 8 million Andean Indians have died because of the mining of Cerro Rico, or the Rich Hill. About 3000 tons of minerals are brought to the surface every day by 15,000 miners. It is said that about 14 women become widows every month. 38 business firms conduct these mining activities on Cerro Rico.
  30. About 70% of the world’s production of Brazil nuts comes from Bolivia. According to an estimate, about 25 million tonnes of these nuts are exported to Brazil, Europe, and the United States every year.
  31. These are some of the most interesting facts about the country. Though the country has its share of problems and struggles, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.