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Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and counter-coups. Comparatively democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production. Current goals include attracting foreign investment, strengthening the educational system, resolving disputes with coca growers over Bolivia's counterdrug efforts, and waging an anticorruption campaign.



Central South America, southwest of Brazil

Geographic coordinates:

17 00 S, 65 00 W


total: 1,098,580 sq km
land: 1,084,390 sq km
water: 14,190 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly less than three times the size of Montana

Land boundaries:

total: 6,743 km
border countries: Argentina 832 km, Brazil 3,400 km, Chile 861 km, Paraguay 750 km, Peru 900 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)


varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid


rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Rio Paraguay 90 m
highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m

Natural resources:

tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 2.67%
permanent crops: 0.19%
other: 97.14% (2001)

Irrigated land:

1,280 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

flooding in the northeast (March-April)

Environment - current issues:

the clearing of land for agricultural purposes and the international demand for tropical timber are contributing to deforestation; soil erosion from overgrazing and poor cultivation methods (including slash-and-burn agriculture); desertification; loss of biodiversity; industrial pollution of water supplies used for drinking and irrigation

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection

Geography - note:

landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru



8,857,870 (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 35.7% (male 1,613,049/female 1,551,023)
15-64 years: 59.8% (male 2,591,328/female 2,701,892)
65 years and over: 4.5% (male 178,486/female 222,092) (2005 est.)

Median age:

total: 21.47 years
male: 20.79 years
female: 22.17 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.49% (2005 est.)

Birth rate:

23.76 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate:

7.64 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate:

-1.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 53.11 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 56.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 49.33 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 65.5 years
male: 62.89 years
female: 68.25 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.94 children born/woman (2005 est.)


noun: Bolivian(s)
adjective: Bolivian

Ethnic groups:

Quechua 30%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%


Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist) 5%


Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.2%
male: 93.1%
female: 81.6% (2003 est.)


Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Bolivia
conventional short form: Bolivia
local long form: Republica de Bolivia
local short form: Bolivia

Government type:



La Paz (seat of government); Sucre (legal capital and seat of judiciary)

Administrative divisions:

9 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Beni, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija


6 August 1825 (from Spain)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 6 August (1825)


2 February 1967; revised in August 1994

Legal system:

based on Spanish law and Napoleonic Code; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age, universal and compulsory (married); 21 years of age, universal and compulsory (single)

Source: CIA World Factbook