- Total Population: 10,118,683 (2011)
- Life expectancy: 68 years (2011)
- Per capita income (purchasing power parity): $4,800 (2010)
- Ethnicities and Languages:
-Quechua: 30% - official language
-Aymara: 25% - official language
-White (Spanish): 15%
-Mestizo (Spanish): 30% - official language
- Major export products: natural gas, soybeans and soy products, crude petroleum, zinc ore, tin
Located east of Peru and Chile, Bolivia shares a portion of the long Andean cordillera which stretches from Northern Venezuela down to Southern Argentina. Most historians agree that this region has been inhibited for some 20,000 years by a variety of different indigenous groups, including -- and most famously -- the Incas. For centuries during Spanish colonization, the deep and immeasurable silver mines of Bolivia were heavily exploited, providing much of Spain's wealth in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Bolivia has since suffered a long history of poverty, economic crises, and political instability. It is currently one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America. Named after the legendary independence fighter Simon Bolivar, Bolivia tore away from Spanish rule in 1825 only to experience seemingly interminable post-colonial hardship. After nearly 150 years of regional warfare, internal power struggles, and forever worsening living conditions for the majority of the population, in 1982 democratic rule -- at least by name --was established in the wake of a brutal military coup. But leaders have continued to struggle with problems ranging from deep-seated poverty to state-induced violence to illegal drug production. Government-led initiatives towards decentralization and privatization of state operations fixed the country's economic woes of the 1980s but did very little for improving the poverty and inequality, particularly among indigenous populations.
In 2005, the Movement Toward Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo) led by candidate Juan Evo Morales Ayma won the presidential elections with 54% of the national vote. Leader of a union of growers of the illicit coca plant and Amerindian (Aymara) by descent, Morales' ascension to presidency marked a major turning point in Bolivia's political and social history. He has dedicated his administration to protecting the coca-growing sector, to reversing neo-liberal reform economic policies implemented in the '90s and early 2000s, and to increasing state involvement in the economy. In December 2009, President MORALES easily won reelection, and his party
took control of the legislative branch of the government, which will
allow him to continue his process of change.
For detailed PDF map of Bolivia
Cooperative Coffees Sponsors Bolivia Cupping Competition
CIA World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bl.html
US Dept. of State (Diplomacy): http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35751.htm
UNICEF country profile: http://www.unicef.org/bolivia/
International Coffee Board Statistics