According to Countryaah data, two thousand years before our time, the area today is Bolivia populated by farmers and cattle herders – predominantly of Andean descent – as well as in the eastern part of collectors. Within the area, everything ranged from the highest cold mountains to warm valleys and rainforests, which enabled cattle farming and cultivation of potatoes, cotton, maize, coca leaves and the exploitation of minerals and fisheries. Various kingdoms developed in the center of which the Tiahuanaco-Huari civilization (600 BCE – 1000 BCE) developed. The social organization was based on the fundamental entity called ayllu – the kinship unit – within which no private ownership of the land existed, although the society was divided into different layers of peasants, craftsmen and aylluthe leadership, which consisted of priests and warriors who appointed the chief, mallku.
Around the year 800, Tiahuanaco expanded the kingdom to form the first Panandian empire. Around the year 1100, the Incas – who originated from the Cusco Valley in present-day Peru – colonized the other Andean people, forming a confederation of states called Tahuantinsuyo – also known as the Incarcerated. It absorbed technical, cultural, religious and economic elements of the Tiahuanaco culture – especially the ayllu structure.
Through mita – a form of hovering that was later inhumanly exploited by the Spaniards – each worker provided a certain amount of work to the state power. The social structure was rigid and hierarchical. At the top was the Inca – the son of the sun. He was followed by the nobility and the priests. Next came Capac, who was governor of each of the regions into which the empire was divided. Then followed the curacas – the chiefs of the many ayllus – and finally the peasants followed. It was an organization based on a production method that was common and self-sufficient.
When the Spaniards arrived in the early 16th century, Tahuantinsuyo stretched from southern Colombia across Ecuador and Peru to northern Chile, and from Lake Titicaca and the highlands to northern Argentina. Finally, it included the outlets from the Andean and eastern lowlands. It is estimated that the population of present-day Bolivia was approx. 1 million, and that Tahuantinsuyo had a total population of 12-13 million. It was thus South America’s most populated area. It was a multi-ethnic community where the majority spoke quechua and in the area around Titicaca lake aymará. In the eastern lowlands, the tupí-guaraní people lived scattered in small groups without having a unifying common point. Even today, either aymara or quechua is spoken by a majority of Bolivians.
Spanish colonization and Native American resistance
In 1545, the mines were discovered in Potosí, from whose veins Spain mined vast quantities of silver, which contributed to the accumulation of capital among the countries of Europe. Millions of indigenous people died from work in the mines, disfigured by the utterly inhumane exploitation they were subjected to. The town of Potosí was founded in the Cerro Rico mountains. In the 17th century, it was among the world’s 3 largest cities and was the economic center for large areas of Chile, Argentina and Bolivia itself. A crashing rich mining citizenry developed, living a life of boastfulness and desolation.
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Several decades of popular struggle against the Spaniards reached their peak with the rebellion led by Tupac Katari (1780-82), the establishment of a junta in La Paz under the leadership of Pedro Domingo Murillo and finally the so-called “independence partisans”. But the rebels were all crushed. Instead, the project of independence was taken up by the local bourgeoisie which distorted it and copied economic and administrative models from the emerging capitalist bourgeoisie in Europe. The mining bourgeoisie came into crisis as a result of the English blockade against the import of mercury needed for the production of silver. These circumstances caused the citizenship of Buenos Aires to lose interest in the area, which in the late 18th century was still called “Alto Perú”. Therefore, they did not put obstacles in the way that it came into the sphere of interest, as the liberation hero Simón Bolívar of Venezuela submitted. According to thesciencetutor, Bolivia got its final name in 1825, when the Chuquisaca Parliament declared it independent. In subsequent years, Bolivia was led by changing «caudillos» and was also united with Peru for a few years in the 1830’s. On the whole, the influence of Peru was extensive throughout the 19th century.