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
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
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
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
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.