This landlocked South American Country is located North and East of Brazil and West of Peru and Chile and South of Argentina and Paraguay. There is 418,683 square miles of usable land. Ninety-five percent of the population is Roman Catholic with a Democratic Government. Bolivia also has the highest capital in the world at 11,910 feet. In the mid-16th century, Spain entered and took control, this caused the predominant Indian population to be forced into slavery; finally in 1825 Bolivia gained independence from Spain. Once they gained their independence, the country lost huge amounts of their land to neighboring countries. During 1879-1884 several thousand acres was lost to Chile after the War of the Pacific. In 1938 Bolivia surrendered over 100,000 square miles to Paraguay after their loss at the Chaco War. Bolivia is the poorest country in South American even though they sit on top of the second largest natural oil and gas reserve in the world. Their mineral wealth dried up in the early 17th century, about the same time they won their independence. Culture
The official language in Bolivia is Spanish; many hybrid Spanish languages exist because of the native languages mixing with the Spanish immigrants. More than thirty other languages are spoken in Bolivia most of which are used by the indigenous people and some is used by religious groups such as Aymara and Guyara.
In the Bolivian society the males are dominate because men feel superior to women. Men also have a strong sense of honor and believe in maintaining dignity at all costs. When it comes to religion, the churches are female dominated. With having ninety-five percent of Bolivia’s population that is Roman Catholic, they do have other religions such as: Protestant and Native Religions; some of the indigenous still use traditions that date back to the Incans.
Bolivian families are tight knit, often many generations will live together in the same house; extended family is very important. Husbands/Fathers are usually considered to be the bread winners and the wife/mom is generally responsible for the domestic duties. Demographics in Bolivia include thirty percent Mestizo, thirty percent Quechua, twenty-five percent Aymara, and fifteen percent White.
Music plays a large role in Bolivian Culture it is used during many holidays and festivals. Most of Bolivian music is based on European forms, although some is influenced by tradition. Popular instruments they use are Bronze Gongs, Copper Bells, and the Tarka. Bolivia is also known for their famous musical people/groups: Alfredo Dominguez, Gilbert Favre, and Los Jairas.
Holidays in Bolivia are similar to most holidays in the United States of America. January first is Nuevo Año (New Year’s Day), February second is Fiesta de la Virgen de Candelaria, May first is Dian del Trabajo (Labor Day), August sixth is Dia de la Patria (Independence Day), November first is Todos Santos (All Saints Day), December twenty-fifth is Navidad (Christmas Day), and Good Friday and Corpus Christi are floating holidays.
When meeting and greeting Bolivian’s handshakes are typical, but if people are familiar with one another, a kiss on the cheek or a pat on the shoulder is acceptable. Eye contact is expected when greeting someone; when first meeting a person it is important to gain their trust. Economics
Bolivian currency is considered Boliviano’s, in 2009 it was 7.07 per US dollar and in 2011 it was 6.937 per US dollar. In 2011 the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $23.30 billion and $2,283 per capita income. Also in 2011, the Economic Rate was 9.9% and the unemployment rate was 5.5%. Taxes and Government spending: Imports were $2.613 billion and were partners with Brazil, Argentina, and U.S. Exports were $8.397 billion and were partners with Brazil U.S., and Peru. Bolivia’s account balance was $735.4 million; all in 2011.
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