Latin America is a subregion of the Americas where Romance languages (i.e., those derived from Latin) or a subset of the Romance language family – always including Spanish and Portuguese, and sometimes including French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 19,197,000 km2 (7,412,000 sq mi), almost 3.7% of the Earth’s surface or 12.9% of its land surface area. As of 2010, its population was estimated at more than 590 million and it’s combined GDP at 5.16 trillion United States dollars (6.27 trillion at PPP)
Latin America is made of 3 regions, South America, Caribbean, and Middle America (Mexico, Central America and the West Indies are together sometimes called Middle America). Latin America lies in the Western Hemisphere. According to Phelan (1968, p. 296), the term “Latin America” was first used in 1861 in La revue des races Latines, a magazine “dedicated to the cause of Pan-Latinism.
Bolivia officially known as the Plurinational State of Bolivia is a landlocked country located in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, Chile to the southwest, and Peru to the west. Bolivia is a democratic republic that is divided into nine departments. Its geography is varied from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country, with a Medium Human Development Index score, and a poverty level of 53%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum. Bolivia is very wealthy in minerals, especially tin.
The Bolivian population, estimated at 10 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and Africans. The main language spoken is Spanish, although the Guarani, Aymara and Quechua languages are also common, and all four, as well as 34 other indigenous languages, are official. The large number of different cultures within Bolivia has contributed greatly to a wide diversity in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.
The geography of the country exhibits a great variety of terrains and climates. Bolivia has a high level of biodiversity, considered one of the greatest in the world, as well as several ecoregions with ecological sub-units such as the Altiplano, tropical rainforests (including Amazon rainforest), dry valleys, and the Chiquitania, which is a tropical savanna. These areas feature enormous variations in altitude, from an elevation of 6,542 metres (21,463 ft) above sea level in Nevado Sajama to nearly 70 metres (230 ft) along the Paraguay River. Although a country of great geographic diversity, Bolivia has remained a landlocked country since the War of the Pacific.
THE ROLES OF BOLIVIA IN LATIN AMERICA INCLUDES;
1. Bolivia boasts over 200,000 species of seeds, including over 1,200 species of fern, 1,500 species of marchantiophyta and moss, and at least 800 species of fungus. In addition, there are more than 3,000 species of medicinal plants. So most medicinal herbs are from Latin America.
2.Bolivia is considered the place of origin for such species as peppers and chili peppers, peanuts, the common beans, yucca, and several species of palm. Bolivia also naturally produces over 4,000 kinds of potatoes.
3.Bolivia has more than 2,900 animal species, including 398 mammals, over 1,400 birds (70% of birds known in the world, being the sixth most diverse country in terms of bird species) 204 amphibians, 277 reptiles, and 635 fish, all fresh water fish as Bolivia is a landlocked country.
4. Bolivia has gained global attention for its ‘Law of the Rights of Mother Earth’, which accords nature the same rights as humans.
5. Bolivia has since sought to play a significant role in international forums, pursuing its aims for greater social justice, national sovereignty and democracy in global affairs.
6.Bolivian leaders have played a strong role in the process of the UN Climate Change negotiations fighting for a better deal for developing countries and in 2010 Bolivia hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights which sought to galvanise global civil society to pressure for an ambitious, justice based agreement in the international negotiations.
7. Bolivia is a member of a number of regional blocs and organisations – as well as being a member of the Andean Community of Nations trade bloc, Bolivia is also a member of ALBA – the Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra America – along with other left-leaning governments including Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador and several Caribbean states. Thereby promoting peace and unity in the region and the world at large.
8. Bolivia is an important gas exporting nation in the region as it account for over 98% of the region gas supply, thus playing a major role in the energy sector of the region.
9. Bolivia has the highest indigenous population in the region which has help in giving indigenous people in the region a sense of belonging in their respective countries in Latin America.
10. Bolivia is one of the largest contributors of aid material and military assistance after Brazil in the region, which has contributed in maintaining regional peace.
Bolivia is named after Simón Bolívar, a leader in the Spanish American wars of independence. The leader of Venezuela, Antonio José de Sucre, had been given the option by Bolívar to either keep Upper Peru (present-day Bolivia) under the newly formed Republic of Peru, to unite with the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, or to formally declare its independence from the Viceroyalty of Peru that had dominated most of the region. Sucre opted to create a new nation and, with local support, named it in honor of Simón Bolívar.
1. “Moneda de 10 Centavos” [10 Cent Coins] (in Spanish). Central Bank of Bolivia. Archived from the original on 28 April 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
2. Constitute Assembly of Bolivia 2007, p. 2
3. “South America :: Bolivia”. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
4. “Report for Selected Countries and Subjects”. International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
5. “Bolivia (Plurinational State of)”. United Nations. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
6. “Bolivia (Plurinational State of)”. Who.int. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010.