A Map of Bolivia


Background: 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 the 1980s, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and drug production. Current goals include attracting foreign investment, strengthening the educational system, continuing the privatization program, and waging an anticorruption campaign.
Location: Central South America, southwest of Brazil Area: Total: 1,098,580 sq km, water: 14,190 sq km, land: 1,084,390 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. Coastline: 0 km (landlocked).
Climate and Terrain: Climate: Varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid. Terrain: Rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau, 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.
People: Population: 8,445,134. Ethnic groups: Quechua 30%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%. Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist.) Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara (official).
Government: Government type: Republic. Capital: La Paz. Independence: 6 August 1825 (from Spain).
Economy overview: Bolivia, long one of the poorest and least developed Latin American countries, has made considerable progress toward the development of a market-oriented economy. Successes under President Sanchez De Lozada (1993-97) included the signing of a free trade agreement with Mexico and becoming an associate member of the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur), as well as the privatization of the state airline, telephone company, railroad, electric power company, and oil company. Growth slowed in 1999, in part due to tight government budget policies, which limited needed appropriations for anti-poverty programs, and the fallout from the Asian financial crisis. In 2000, major civil disturbances in April, and again in September and October, held down overall growth to 2.5%. Bolivia's GDP failed to grow in 2001 due to the global slowdown and laggard domestic activity. Growth is expected to pick up in 2002, but the fiscal deficit and debt burden will remain high. GDP - composition by sector: Agriculture: 14%, industry: 31%, services: 55%.
Statistics: Telephones - main lines in use: 327,600. Telephones - mobile cellular: 116,000. Radio broadcast stations: AM 171, FM 73, shortwave 77. Radios: 5.25 million. Television broadcast stations: 48. Televisions: 900,000. Internet users: 78,000. Railways: Total: 3,691 km. Highways: Total: 49,400 km, paved: 2,500 km, unpaved: 46,900 km. Airports: 1,109, with paved runways: 12, with unpaved runways: 1,069.

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