Bolivia History

Bolivia history reflects the influence of the richest cultural treasures of the Inca civilization. With more than half of the population still living according to traditional ways, modern Bolivian culture is heavily influenced by the centuries old traditions handed down since the time of the Incan empire.

Tiahunico, Lake Titicaca, and the Island of the Sun are some of the most revered sites in all the Incan Empire. Tiahuanico, although long in ruin when the Inca discovered it, nonetheless achieved great spiritual significance in the life of the Inca. The elaborately carved megalithic figures and impeccable stonework at this site will leave you puzzling at its origins, seeing them for yourself will allow you to understand how these ancient monuments have come to be so revered and continue to draw reverent spectators to this very day.

While the Inca culture plays a prominent role in the history of Bolivia, the enduring legacy that was imprinted upon this country by the subsequent Spanish conquest of the 15th century also made a lasting impression on the nature of this Andean nation.

When one hears stories of the rampant disease that obliterated the population, the wars, and the rampant looting of the most sacred objects of the Incan empire, it is truly heartbreaking. The Incan civilization was at its greatest height when Ferdinand Pizzaro arrived, changing the face of Bolivia history forever.

Although they greatly outnumbered the Spanish conquistadors, the native Incan population stood no chance against the horses, armor, guns, and strange diseases that the Spaniards bought with them to the New World. The Inca were a very trusting and communal society, and bargaining with the Spaniards only resulted in the cruel and brutal murder of the ruler, Sapa Inca and the complete defacing of the most revered temples that even an ordinary Inca was not worthy of entering without days of purification and bare feet.

After tearing itself away from Spanish rule in 1825, Bolivia culture has since experienced more than 200 coups. This country now has bigger issues to deal with than European invaders such as the unbridled coca production, which is the third highest in South America after Brazil and Peru, abject poverty, and social turmoil.

Bolivian culture, now a mix of Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, is an amalgam of the cultures that have risen and fallen since ancient times. The Indians have a distinct appearance, they are often of a short, stocky build, and many wear brilliant weavings and practice traditional farming methods, eking out a meager existence in the parched highlands of the Altiplano. Bolivians of Spanish, or mestizo (mixed) descent are easily recognized by their fair features and taller stature.

The history of Bolivia, at times a mystery and at other moments a tragedy, is evident everywhere you visit. Impeccably preserved ancient sites are to be found everywhere in this country, which is certainly the least developed and one of the poorest in all of South America.

Taking time to learn about Bolivia history will enhance your trip to Bolivia and transform it into an enriching experience.

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