Bolivia was Known as Upper Peru

By: Douglas Scott

Bolivar, is a landlocked country in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil on the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina on the south, and Chile and Peru on the west. Bolivia is the second poorest country in Latin America, after Haiti.

Throughout the countries colonial history, Bolivia was known as Upper Peru, until after Simon Bolivar led the country to independence in 1825, when it was named in his honour. The countries name instigates great national pride, which has unfortunately been marred by years of turmoil and tyranny under the lead of caudillos, military dictators.

Liberation retains a dual meaning in Bolivia. A country of great expanse, extensive lakes and salt plains induce an elated sense of freedom for any traveller. But there is little of such freedom for Bolivians, many of whom count for some of the poorest people in Latin America. Although Bolivia has entered an unprecedented era of political stability, it follows a record of 192 coups in the 156 years from independence to 1981.

The fight to keep their land mirrors the Bolivians fight to preserve their traditions, such as the Pachamama, Mother Earth shrines to her are found everywhere.

The Bolivian military is comprised of three branches, an Army, Navy and Air Force. The legal age for voluntary admissions is 18. However, when the numbers are small the government recruits anyone as young as 14. It is estimated that 20 percent of the Bolivian army is between the ages 14 and 16 while 30 percent is from 16 to 18. The tour of duty is generally 12 months.

Bolivia is beautiful and striking there are currently 10 national parks and eight protected areas. Although Bolivia is landlocked, it never feels claustrophobic blessed with breathtaking lakes and lofty mountains. It is difficult to know what is more breathtaking the Bolivians gentle struggle to survive amidst a legacy of poverty and unrest, or the Altiplano ascending ever higher. Standing as tall as the mountains, the Bolivians pride for their homeland is always evident and always justified.

Go trekking through Bolivias large range of geographical regions and climates, including ancient Inca routes.

Hurtle down the worlds most dangerous road on a mountain bike. Starting from the Bolivian Andes outside of La Paz , descend rapidly down twisting mountain roads into the jungle. Various companies organise the trip, including the hire of professional bikes and equipment.

Venture into the Amazon jungle. Typical jungle trips include motorised canoe trips, rainforest walks and camping, led by local guides who have an intimate knowledge of the indigenous plants and wildlife.

South America Destinations
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