Bolivia, officially known as The Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, and Chile and Peru to the west.
Prior to European colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was a part of the Inca Empire, which was the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was called Upper Peru or Charcas and was under the administration of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included most of Spain’s South American colonies. After declaring independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the republic, named for Simón Bolívar, on August 6, 1825. Bolivia has struggled through periods of political instability, dictatorships and economic woes.
Bolivia is a democratic republic, divided into nine departments. Its geography is varied from the peaks of the Andes in the west, to the eastern lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country, with a medium Human Development Index score, and a poverty level around 60%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, and fishing, mining and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum. Bolivia is very wealthy in minerals, especially tin.
The Bolivian population, estimated at 10 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and few Africans. The main language spoken is Spanish, although the Aymara and Quechua languages are also common. The large number of different cultures within Bolivia has contributed greatly to a wide diversity in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.