Bolivia Essay

1383 words - 6 pages


Bolivia is located in the west-central part of South America and is the fifth largest country
of the continent having an area about twice the size of Spain. Bolivia is landlocked
bordering five countries; Brazil on the northeast, Paraguay to the southeast, Argentina on
the south, and Chile and Peru on the west. The main physical feature of Bolivia is the
Andes Mountains, which define the country's three geographic zones. First is the
Altiplano, or plateau region, which lies between the Cordillera Occidental (west) and the
Cordillera Real (northeast). On the northern end of the Altiplano lies the Lake Titicaca,
the highest navigable body of water in the world. Secondly are the Yungas which form a
transition zone between the peaks of the Andes and the Amazonian forest. Lastly are the
Lowlands which make up over two-thirds of the national territory; north and east of the
Andes. Most of Bolivia's important rivers are found in the northern lowlands all which
eventually flow into the Amazon. (Box 234, 277, 314)
The area of modern Bolivia was controlled by Spanish conquest in 1525. The
territory of Bolivia, a part of the ancient empire of the Incas, was conquered in 1538 by
the Spanish conquistador Hernando Pizarro. As Spanish royal authority weakened during
the Napoleonic wars, judgment against colonial rule grew. Between 1808 and 1810, the
Wars of Independence took place in Upper Peru which constituted efforts to achieve
independence. The revolt on May 25, 1809 was one of the first in Latin America. On July
16, 1809, Upper Peru proclaimed itself an independent state. The Battle of Ayacucho in
1824 was the final battle that effectively ended Spanish rule in Upper Peru. On August 6,
1825, Bolivia achieved independence from Spain after a struggle led by Simon Bolívar and
Antonio José de Sucre. To satisfy Bolívar's reservations about the independence of Upper
Peru, the new nation was named after him. Five days after Bolivia declared its
independence from Spain, on August 11 the newly independent nation was named Bolivia,
after Simon Bolívar. (Country Study 15-16)
The type of government run in Bolivia is a Democracy. The 1967 constitution,
revised in 1994, provides for balanced executive, legislative, and judicial powers. Along
with the three branches there are nine administrative departments each controlled by a
governor. The Executive branch is headed by the President. The current president is
Hugo Banzer Suarez, elected in August 1997; the Vice President is Jorge Fernando
Quiroga Ramirez. The president and vice president are chosen through popular vote
elections to a four-year term. The president appoints the cabinet. The Legislative branch
is a bicameral National Congress, composed of a twenty-seven member Senate and a one
hundred thirty member Chamber of Deputies. The Judicial branch is the Supreme Court
composed of twelve members elected by congress and local courts. The...

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