Bolivia History


Bolivia History

Like most Latin American countries, Bolivia was conquered by foreigners in search of new land and increased riches.

Before colonization, during the thirteenth century, Bolivia was part of the Incan Empire, an ancient culture whose technical understanding was ahead of its time. Incan artefacts are still found all over the country. With the coming of the Spanish, in the sixteenth century, Bolivia's silver-rich territory became the home base for the Spanish government, incorporating itself with the Peruvian empire and later to the empire of Plata.

Bolivia's fight for independence began in 1809, however only in 1825, did the Bolivians manage to defeat their Spanish rulers and declare their long-awaited independence. They changed the name of the city Alto Peru to Bolivia in honor of their liberator Simon Bolivar, who would become the first president of the country.

The political situation in Bolivia remained calm during the following years. In 1928, Andres de Santa Cruz, rose to power and formed a confederation with Peru, trying to restore the values of the ancient Incas. This partnership soon dissolved when Chile protested and declared war against Bolivia. Chile defeated Bolivia which began political chaos in the country.

It was difficult for the country to return to democracy. The constant power shifts and lack of capable leaders seriously affected the economic state of the country, leading Bolivia to extremely high inflation rates. During this process, Victor Paz Estensoro, rising for the fourth time to power (1984-1989), attempted several reforms to control the country's inflation.

During the 90s, there was no improvement on the political or economic scene. On the contrary, societal pressures resulted in the constant trading of political leaders, continually reversing positions of power. The new president Eduardo Rodriguez, tried to stabilize the situation by offering a transitional government to arrange a new round of elections to try to rise above the difficult phase the country was going through.

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