external image bolivia_flag.jpg

By: Brooke, Melissa, Chloe, and Emily
Period 5

1. General Information
2. History
3. Entertainment
4. Food and Cuisine

General Information

Bolivia (officially known as The Republic of Bolivia) is located in Central South America. It is a landlocked country of 424, 165 sq. miles and has a population of 9,119,152 people (Culturegrams). Although forests cover almost half of Bolivia, the country has 5 major geographical areas (Country Reports). Altiplano, to the west, is a cold, high, and dry region surrounded by mountains. Las Yungas, north east of La Paz, is comprised of medium elevation valleys in the center of the country. The subtropical plain shared with Paraguay and Argentina is The Gran Chacho and the llanos or el trópico
Unlike most countries, Bolivia has two capitals (CIA- The World Factbook). are the hot, wet, forested lowlands to the east and north east (Culturegrams). The country’s
La Paz
highest courts are located in Sucre, the legal capital; La Paz, the main capital, is home to both the president and the country’s legislature (Culturegrams). Bolivia’s government is a republic (CIA- The World Factbook) and the current president is Evo Morales (Culturegrams). In Bolivia, voting is mandatory at the age of 18 (Culturegrams) The executive branch, made up of the president, vice president, and the cabinet, is located in La Paz. All members of the executive branch are elected for non-renewable 5-year terms.“El Congreso Nacional” is situated in Sucre. It is made up of a 27-seat Chamber of Senators and a 130-seat Chamber of Deputies (Culturegrams).
Castellano (Spanish), Quechua, and Aymara are all official languages of Bolivia (Culturegrams). Most people speak Quecha, but Spanish is used in the government, schools, and businesses. 95% of Bolivians are Roman Catholic. Baptisms and First Communions are important occasions and, in the month of February, Bolivians celebrate the festival of the “Virgen de la Candelaria” on the shores of Lake Titicaca (County Reports).
Portrait of a Bolivian Child
Bolivia has long been one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America. 2/3 of Bolivia’s population lives in poverty. For many years, illicit exports of the coca plant (cocaine) were Bolivia’s primary source of income (Culturegrams) However, exports have been reduced in recent years, and Bolivia made progress toward becoming a market-oriented economy in the 1990s (Country Reports). The economy is slowly growing and inflation is slowly decreasing, thanks largely to debt forgiveness. Bolivia was forgiven over 80% of their external debt, boosting their economic potential (Culturegrams).Now, Bolivia’s major exports are soybeans, natural gas, zinc, gold, wood (Country Reports).


Ancient People: Before the Spanish took over the lands that are today Bolivia, various Incan groups lived on the land. The area surrounding Lake Titicaca was influenced by the kingdoms of the Amyaran people. These people easily adapted to the climate and were able to grow both tropical and highland crops ( However, by the end of the 14th century, the Incans began to take over the region and conquer the weak, Amyaran kingdoms. The area of Kollasuyo represented one of the four major administrative units that the Incan people set up within their empire. The highest member of the Kollasuyo personally answered to the emperor and watched over all the workers, who were usually Amyara people ( The Incans incas1.jpgdid not control everything in the Amyaran’s lives, however. The people were able to keep their culture, their religion, and their language. This changed with an attempted revolt against the Incas in 1470 by the Amyaran people. By the early 16th century, the Incas dominated the Kollasuyo, but we unable to conquer nomadic tribes in the eastern Bolivian lowlands (

Spanish Conquest: When the Spanish arrived in Bolivia is 1532, the Incan empire was having difficulties establishing leadership, making it easy for the Spanish to conquer them. The Spanish conquest was led by a Spanish explorer named Francisco Pizzaro. When arriving on Bolivian land, Pizzaro first set up an alliance with the Indians who disliked the Incan rule. The conquering of the Incan emperor, Atahualpa, was very easy for Pizzaro. Soon after, the empire fell. Despite the victory, Indians tribes attempted many rebellions throughout the colonial period, but the rebellions were suppressed by the Spanish (conquestandsettlement). During the first decades on the Spanish rule, the Spanish divided the Bolivian lands into two, the north and the south. The north was controlled by Pizzaro and the south was controlled by Almagro. Later on, both Pizzaro and Almagro were executed because of conflicts between the two men. After Francisco Pizzaro’s death, his brother, Gonzalo Pizzaro, took control of the north or Upper Peru. After he assumed rule over Upper Peru, Gonzalo took part in a rebellion against the Spanish crown and was executed. In 1548, after the execution, the Spanish established the city of La Paz, which later became an important transshipment and commercial center (conquestandsettlement).

Bolivia's Independence: After the 16 year War of Independence, in 1825, Bolivia received its independence from Spain. The country was named after its liberator; Simon Bolivar ( country was in turmoil in the years following Bolivia’s independence. Bolivia’s economy suffered and rivalries between groups within the country began to split the country apart. In an attempt to help the country’s economy, there was the Revolution of 1952 led by the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement ( Bolivia lost a lot of its territory to Chile, Brazil, and Paraguay through treaties and war. In 1932, Bolivia suffered a major territorial loss in the Chaco War to Paraguay. Also, during the War of the Pacific, Bolivia lost its land along the Pacific Coast, taking away the country’s sea access. This loss has damaged Bolivia’s economy immensely. Luckily, in the 1800s the price of silver increased and deposits of tin were found in Bolivia in large amounts. Political parties that represented the mine owners controlled Bolivia until 1930. This helped the country achieve greater political stability (

People Celebrating Bolivia's Independence


Hobbies: Entertainment is a huge part of the Bolivian lifestyle. People love to get together and play card games or chess. Children especially love to play with tops called “trompos” or play exciting games with marbles (Country Reports). They also enjoy jumping rope or playing hopscotch, which they call “tuncuna” (Country Reports). Less fortunate children build toys for themselves like dolls or slingshots. Adults, especially women, enjoy playing rummy or canasta. Men have what they call “ Bachelor Fridays” where they get together and play a game of dice. The key to the game is to shoot metal pieces into the mouth of a container that it shaped to the resemblance of a frog (Country Reports). Another fun event that takes place in Bolivia is a yearly boat race in Lake Titicaca. There is also a swimming race that takes place where contestants put grease on themselves and swim as fast as they can to the other side of the lake (Country Reports).
Bolivian children playing "Trompos"

Sports: The biggest entertainment sport in Bolivia is soccer, or “fútbol” (Country Reports). Bolivians love to come together with family or friends for the big game or simply play for themselves. Another popular sport is called “paleta” which is similar to racquetball but is played on a large outdoor court enclosed by three tall walls (Bolivia Web).
The Bolivian soccer team

Music and Dance: Music and dance are large elements in Bolivian culture and entertainment. They are some of the most admired ways to express the Bolivian culture (Travel Vantage). Their music can be split into three types (Culture Grams):
1. Quick and joyful rhythms for east Bolivia
2. Leisurely and passionate rhythms from the Andes Mountains
3. Joyful and passionate rhythms form the central valleys (Culture Grams)
Some of the most famous instruments in Bolivian music are flutes, percussion instruments, and panpipes (Culture Grams). As for dancing, there are three traditional Bolivian dances called the cueca, tinku, and saya (Culture Grams). During the evening time, there are nightclubs all over Bolivia with constant dancing and music. There are also outdoor cafes where people watch dances and music all through out the day (Travel Vantage). However, Music and dance are especially used during carnivals and celebrations (Travel Vantage).

Bolivian Dance

Festivals: Festivals are a constant occurrence in Bolivia:
1. Achocalla: A festival in the small villages of Bolivia that celebrates the heritage and music of the Bolivian holidays (Destination 360).
2. Carnival of February: This carnival provides unforgettable parades and activities. Everything offered in this celebration shows a piece of Bolivian culture (Destination 360).
3. Semana Santa: Called the “sacred week,” this event is held in April with many different festivals. One festival is called “El Gran Poder,” the Great Power, and has religious marches of great color. Another festival is devoted to “Senor el Gran Poder,” Mister Great Power, or what the Bolivians believe to be Jesus (Destination 360).
4. Santisima Trinidad: Celebrated in the month of June, this event is a tribute to the first Sunday after the Pentecost (Destination 360).

Bolivian Festival

Famous People: These are two very influential and famous people in Bolivian society:
1. Jaime Laredo: Jaime is an “award winning” violinist in Bolivia who has been performing worldwide for over forty years. He became well known after winning a prestigious competition with the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium. He is listened to worldwide and is a very influential musician (Culture Grams).

Jaime Laredo

2. Marina Núñez del Prado: Marina is a sculptor who is recognized universally for her style of painting. She is best known for her native Bolivian themes with rocks and wood. Bolivians love her style of sculpting with her abstract and clean form (Culture Grams).
Marina Nunez

Food and Cuisine

Breakfast in Bolivia usually consists of api and an empanada. An api is a cornmeal drink, and an empanada is a pastry filled with cheese and other ingredients. Many Bolivians take mid-morning breaks to eat a national dish called saltena (Country Reports). Lunch is the most important meal
Bolivian Breakfast Stand
Bolivian Breakfast Stand
of the day for Bolivians. People take long lunch breaks so that they can go home and eat with their families. Generally people eat soup and a main course for lunch. Another important meal is afternoon tea. Bolivians are very social and love to spend time with one another, especially while enjoying a good meal. Dinner in Bolivia is not as important as breakfast or lunch. Dinner is a very small meal that Bolivians eat, generally, late at night (Country Reports).
Bolivians are very particular about their etiquette during meal times. Generally punctuality is frowned upon. People should arrive to a meal up to thirty minutes late. Meals are not to be seen as a time to discuss business. People are meant to get to know one another on a personal level and develop stronger relationships. The host of the meal has to invite the guests to eat by saying “enjoy” or “have a good meal” (Kwintessential). The host is generally required to make a toast at the beginning of a meal. While the host gives a toast the guests must keep their eyes on the host, and they must wait to drink until the host has given the toast. The host must also make sure that the guest is served first. However, to be polite, the guest must refuse to be served first and wait for the host to insist upon it. Food must never be eaten without utensils and elbows must never be placed on the table. When the meal is over, it is considered rude to leave until it has been over for at least thirty minutes (Kwintessential).

Potatoes, corn, beans, rice, grain, and fruit are all very important to the Bolivian style of cooking. The preservation of potatoes is important in rural areas. Potatoes are important because they can be used in many dishes, and after their preservation they last for a very long time. Corn can be used to make sweet popcorn called pasankalla (Country Reports). Corn can also be used in
Baby Chilis
Baby Chilis
the popular dish called choclo. Choclo is made from white corn and is seen more as a desert than a side dish. Fruits, such as bananas, passion fruits, papayas, and prickly pears, are used in many Bolivian meals. Fried plantains and cassava are popular side dishes for any meal of the day (Country Reports). Rice and grains are also important because of the variety of things dishes that they can be in. Rice is generally eaten with dinner as a side dish, while grains are mainly mixed into various soups such as, spicy Bolivian butterbean soup (Country Reports). Leche Asada is a popular dessert which is eaten after dinner (Country Reports Popular Desserts).
The most elaborate meals with various fresh vegetables and meat are eaten at ceremonial events, such as baptisms, weddings, and deaths. Public displays of generosity of offering
Farmers Market
Farmers Market
abundant food and drink are not seen, unless there is a ceremonial event (Countries and Their Cultures). On All Souls Day, meals are prepared for the deceased and those who are ill. These important meals tend to mimic those of upper-class restaurants in the major cities. The meals include dishes like aji de pollo, which is chicken smothered in a hot chili sauce (Countries and Their Cultures).

Works Cited

General Information:
1)"Bolivia." CIA- The World Factbook. 23 Apr 2009. 3 May 2009 <>.
2)Hayes, Holly. "Virgin de la Candelaria, Copacabana."
Sacred Destinations. 3 May 2009 <>.
3)"Lake Titicaca." Destination360. 2008. 3 May 2009 < >. 4)Anonymous, "Roman Catholicism." Religion Facts. 1 May 06. 3 May 2009 < >.
5)"Roman Catholic Church." Wikipedia. 3 May 2009. 3 May 2009 <>. Vera-Zavala, America. 6)"Evo Morales Has Plans for Bolivia." In These Times. 18 Dec 2005. 3 May 2009 < >.
7)Stiglitz, Joseph. "Evo Morales." Time. 3 May 2009 <>.

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5. "Conquest and Colonial Rule". April 9 2009. <>

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2. "Bolivian Events and Holidays." Destination360. 2008. Destination360. 15 April 2009 <>.
3. "Bolivia: General Information." Vantage World Travel. 2008. Vantage. 23 April 2009 <>.
4. "Jaime Laredo." 2007. Sheilas Corner. 25 April 2009 <>.
5. "Most Popular Sports in Bolivia." Bolivia Web Log. 2007. Ukamau. 25 April 2009 <>.
6. "Canasta Rules." Canasta. 2008. Canasta. 27 April 2009 <>.
7. "Famous People in Bolivia." Culture Grams. 2005. Culture Grams. 1 May 2009 <>.

Food and Cuisine:
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2. "Popular Desserts". 2009 Edition. Published by
<4/3/09>. <>.

3. Kwintessential. <4/3/09>.
4. Countries and Their Cultures. “Culture of Bolivia”. <4/3/09>.
5. Bolivia Web. "Recipies Gallery/Saltenas". <5/2/09>.
6. "Saltenas". <4/28/09>.
7. "Teacher Materials- Popcorn". <4/3/09>.
8. "Fried Plantains". <4/3/09>.
9. Recipe "Cassava Cake". <4/3/09>.
10. Bolivia Web. "Recipes Gallery/Leche Asada". <5/2/09>.