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Bolivia History

Bolivia - national flagBolivia - national flag

The flag dates from 1851 and was officially adopted in 1888; the colors, however, were used as early as 1825-26. The red color stands for national bravery and bloodshed in the struggle for independence, the yellow for the presence of minerals and the green for the fertility of the soil. In the state flag, the state coat of arms is seen with a condor as well as symbols of the country's natural riches added in the yellow stripe.

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Bolivia - history

10,000 years ago, Bolivia was populated by hunters and root-gathering Indians who later became permanent residents, tamed the llama and began growing potatoes and quínoa.

The earliest preserved ruins are stone stones in Chiripa from approximately 1200 BC and in the Mojo kingdoms from about 500 BC. From Lake Titicaca to the Pacific, a high culture, Tiahuanaco, developed with knowledge of metal use. From it originates the famous Calasasaya Temple on the Acapana Hill from around 600 AD. with the Sun Gate dedicated to the peaceful cultural mediator, the god Viracocha, as well as the Tunca Punco Palace with the Ten Doors. Tiahuanaco was about 1200 replaced by several aymaráriger. They became approximately 1450 invaded by Pachacuti Inca (reigned 1438-71); his successor Topa Inca (1471-93) continued the conquests, introduced new cultivation methods and migrated large groups of Quechua-speaking Inca colonists to the area. He founded Collasuyo, one of the four regions of the Inca Empire.

Bolivia History

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The colonial era

In 1538, the Spaniards conquered Gonzalo and Hernando Pizarro Upper Peru, from 1559 called Charcas, and founded the headquarters Chuquisaca. The forced labor, in Spanish mita, in the silver mines on Mount Cerro Rico cost the lives of a very large number of Indians and black slaves, because the silver was extracted with mercury, which is toxic. Potosí, the city at the foot of Cerro Rico, was founded in 1545 and was in 1650 the new world's largest and richest with approximately 150,000 residents. After Cerro Rico was closed due to insufficient technology, the Oruromine was opened in 1607. Among other things. the conditions in the mines led to a seven-month Native American uprising in 1781, led by Tupac Katari and inspired by a simultaneous uprising in Peru.

Presidents (elected)
1825-26 Simón Bolávar
1826-28 Antonio José de Sucre
1829-39 Andrés de Santa CruzCalahumana
1841-47 José Ballivián
1848-55 Isidoro Belzú
1857-61 José Maráa Linares
1861-64 Jozé M. de Achá
1864-71 M. Melgarejo
1876-79 Hilario Daza
1880-84 Narciso Campero
1884-88 Gregorio Pacheco
1888-92 Aniceto Arce
1892-96 Mariano Baptista
1896-99 Severo Fernández Alonso
1899-04 José M. Pando
1904-09 Ismael Montes
1909-13 Eliodoro Villazón
1913-17 Ismael Montes
1917-20 José Gutiérres Guerra
1921-25 Bautista Saavedra
1926-30 Hernando Siles
1931-34 Daniel Salamanca
1936-37 José David Toro
1937-39 Germán Busch Becerra
1940-43 Enrique Peñaranda
1943-46 Gualberto Villarroel
1947-49 Enrique Hertzog
1951-52 Hugo Ballivián
1952-56 Váctor Paz Estenssoro
1956-60 Hernán Siles Suazo
1960-64 Váctor Paz Estenssoro
1964-69 René Barrientos Ortuño and Alfredo Ovando Candia (alternate)
1969 Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas
1969-70 Alfredo Ovando Candia
1970-71 Juan José Torres
1971-78 Hugo Bánzer Suárez
1978 Juan Pereda Asbún
1979-80 Lidia Gueiler Tejada
1980-81 Luis Garcáa Meza Tejada
1982-85 Hernán Siles Suazo
1985-89 Victor Paz Estenssoro
1989-93 Jaime Paz Zamora
1993-97 Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
1997-2001 Hugo Banzer Suárez
2001-02 Jorge Quiroga Ramirez
2002-03 Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
2003-05 Carlos Mesa Gisbert
2005-06 Eduardo Rodríguez
2006 Evo Morales

The University of Chuquisaca was the center of the first attempt at independence in 1808, when professors took the lead in the city's revolt. It was later crushed by the Spanish army, but it became the beginning of the whole process of secession of South America. The country was declared independent after the Battle of Tamasla in 1825 thanks to the efforts of Simón Bolívar and José de Sucre. Independence was affirmed at a congress in Chuquisaca in 1825, after which the country was renamed Bolivia in honor of the liberator Bolívar. As an honor, he was appointed president for life, but remained in power for only six months, drafting Bolivia's first constitution and selling Cerro Rico to England to redeem the war debt. Sucre then became the first president-elect.

Wars and civil wars

Attempts to establish a nation-state and a well-functioning political and economic system in Bolivia failed, and instead led to a series of civil wars, coups, and conflicts within the military and among landowners. The power struggles between regional army leaders, caudillos, made the country weak and vulnerable to neighboring countries and became structural features in the country's development. This weakening may explain Bolivia's defeat to Chile on two occasions. The first was in 1836, when Andrés de Santa Cruz formed the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation, which was rejected by neighboring Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Ecuador. Santa Cruz's plan to rule the Pacific coast from Callao triggered a war with Chile in 1836, which ended with Chile's victory and the dissolution of the Confederacy in 1839. The second was the Nitrogen War of 1879-83, in which Bolivia again joined forces with Peru against Chile. The Allies lost the nitrate deposits in the area; Bolivia lost the province of Antofagasta, access to the sea and the province of Peru Atacama.

In the period 1884-1920, Bolivia experienced greater political stability and economic growth due to the resumption of silver and tin production, rubber boom, war compensation from Chile and the sale of the Acre territory to Brazil after a short war in 1903. Most important, however, was tin extraction and exports, which boomed from the 1890's, not least due to the progress of the tin can canned around the world. A new oligarchy, far more internationally oriented and funded than the silver mine owners, came to sit on the republic's apparatus of power and carried out a modernization that included the construction of railways, the expansion of infrastructure, and relocation to sparsely populated areas.

The liberal revolution in 1898 with José Manuel Pando (1848-1917) at the helm replaced the conservative government, with the help of the Indians. Before the victory, Pando had promised to abolish serfdom, pongeaje, and return the Native American communities to their land, but when he became president, he declared the Indians subhuman, and let many shoot after an uprising.

From the 1920's until the revolution of 1952, the country was again hit by political upheavals, during which the military was the main player in an alliance with the oligarchy, while a growing middle and working class began to mobilize and demand political influence and better living conditions. Political instability and social unrest were exacerbated by the worldwide economic crisis of 1930 and the Chaco War of 1932-35 against Paraguay, during which some 100,000 Bolivians lost their lives. During the four wars with its neighbors between 1836 and 1935, Bolivia lost half of its original territory.

Reforms and coups

The working class organized itself professionally in the Bolivian LO, COB, whose Trotskyist-oriented leadership had a background as tin miners. Against this political background, the National Revolutionary Movement, MNR, was formed under the leadership of Víctor Paz Estenssoro, who won the 1951 presidential election. The oligarchy, La rosca, and the military refused to recognize the MNR's victory and gave power to a military junta. A popular uprising developed in April 1952 almost into a revolution that forced the military out and put Paz Estenssoro at the head of a government with the support of the COB, which carried out profound reforms: the Tin mines were nationalized and administered under the control of the workers; land reforms were launched while armed peasants occupied the great haciendas. The military was replaced by popular militias, the Indians were granted civil rights, and unpaid work and other pre-capitalist working conditions were abolished. MNR governments sought to promote industry; it failed, after the drastic fall in the price of tin in the mid-1950's and due to the poor administration of state mining.

Bolivia's history from 1952 is marked by growing economic difficulties, social conflicts and political instability. Against this background, in 1964 the military had once again been able to seize power in a coup and play its traditional role as the extended arm of the oligarchy and the protector of foreign capital. In 1967, a guerrilla war broke out by the legendary Che Guevara, who was killed the same year. General Hugo Bánzer Suárez took power in 1971 in a new military coup. Bánzer Suárez retained power until 1978. His rule suppressed all political and professional organizations, but political instability continued. There were several coups until 1982, when presidential elections were held and a process of democratization began. Veteran Victor Paz Estenssoro became president 1985-89 and saved Bolivia from the economic abyss by introducing a market-oriented economy with extensive wage freezes and strike bans. He curtailed human rights violations and fought cocaine production with US military assistance. His successor, Jaime Paz Zamora, was president 1989-93 and continued his modernization and market-oriented policies and cooperation with the United States. In the 1993 presidential election, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (b. 1930) from the MNR was elected.

During President Sánchez de Lozada's reign of 1993-97, liberalization continued, the state sold out of its companies, and reforms were introduced. At the same time, decentralization was implemented, which meant block grants for 314 newly formed municipalities and real popular participation in the decisions. A school reform made teaching in Native American languages ​​compulsory. Former dictator Bánzer Suárez regained power in 1997, implementing a major austerity program and a massive campaign against coca production. In four years, with the support of the army, they managed to reduce coca cultivation by 90%. Bánzer Suárez resigned in August 2001 due to illness and was replaced by his Vice President, Jorge Fernando Quiroga Ramírez (b. 1960). In the 2002 election, Sánchez de Lozada regained the presidency.

Dissatisfaction with Sánchez de Lozada's government culminated in bloody protests in 2003, during which more than 100 people lost their lives. Sánchez de Lozada had to resign, and he was succeeded by Carlos Mesa. Continued unrest about exports of bolivian natural gas in 2005 led to Mesa also resigning under the impression of popular protests. Later that year, Evo Morales won the presidential election, becoming the republic's first Native American leader. The left-leaning and US-critical Morales had before that emerged as the leader of the Indian coca farmers, and he was elected on promises of land reforms, and that the country's natural resources should benefit the population. In 2006, he thus came under state control of the energy sector, sparking international protests. He also succeeded in getting Parliament's approval of land reforms.

 

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