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Bolivia

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FAST FACTS

OFFICIAL NAME: Plurinational State of Bolivia

FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Republic

CAPITAL: La Paz, Sucre

POPULATION: 10,800,900

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: Spanish and 36 indigenous languages

MONEY: Bolivian boliviano

AREA: 424,164 square miles (1,098,581 square kilometers)

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Bolivian Flag

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THE LOWDOWN AND HIGHLIGHTS

 

A trail winds through the Andes Mountains in South America. It passes the ruins of the Inca (a civilization that thrived between the 12th and 16th centuries), valleys filled with llamas, and a lake perched in the peaks. Eventually the path starts to descend, leading from the cool mountains into the humid Amazon rain forest. The trail is in Bolivia, a country where the people and wildlife are as diverse as the landscape.

LAND OF DIVERSITY 

 

Humans have inhabited the land in Bolivia for thousands of years. During the 15th and 16th centuries the Inca reigned over the region. In 1538 Spanish conquerors gained control of the territory. They stayed in power until 1825, when they were ousted in a revolt. The new leaders formed an independent country, naming it Bolivia after Simón Bolívar, the revolt’s leader.

 

Today Bolivia is big on variety. The country is home to nearly 11 million people. It has 37 official languages and two capital cities (La Paz and Sucre). In addition to llamas, a range of other animals thrive in Bolivia including jaguars, Andean condors, caimans, sloths, piranhas, and the emperor tamarin—a type of monkey that sports a mustache!

 

ON THE RECORD

 

Bolivia’s land isn’t just diverse—some of its features have broken records! Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest lake that’s deep enough for a boat to sail on. Salar de Uyuni, which sits in the southwest of the country, is the world’s largest salt flat. And the world’s highest forest sits more than 13,000 feet above sea level in Bolivia’s Sajama National Park. This takes cool scenery to new heights.  

 

By Angela Modany, NGS Staff

 

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