Bolivia: A Land Divided

Bolivia: A Land Divided

Bolivia: A Land Divided

Bolivia: A Land Divided

Excerpt

This is the first general survey of modern Bolivia to be published in England. It is one of a series of studies of the Latin American republics which are designed to give a concise but comprehensive picture of the political, social and economic conditions in those countries for the benefit of the non-specialist reader and student. If it succeeds, therefore, in bringing the Bolivian scene before the eyes of a wider audience than the Latin American experts both vividly and with accuracy, it will have achieved the purpose for which it was written and commissioned.

Bolivia is nor an easy country to know. Its affairs have attracted little public attention now or at any time, and to many people it is no more than a name. It is difficult of access, internal communications are bad and travel away from the main air routes savours rather of pioneering than of the milder forms of tourism. Indeed it is commonly--and truly--said that few even among Bolivians themselves know more than a small part of their own country well. It is one of the few remaining countries in the world which contain areas still awaiting exploration. For these reasons, and also because the physical conformation of the land has exercised a paramount influence on its history and economy, the regional geography has been described fairly fully.

The internal history has been turbulent and explosive. But as this is likely to hold little interest for the general reader, only so much has been said as is necessary for an understanding of present problems and tendencies. A separate section on the history of the tropical lowlands has been included because, although they cover more than three-fifths of Bolivia's territory and offer many of the richest prospects for future development, they are neglected in the standard histories and text-books. A very abbreviated survey of Bolivian mining is also given both for its intrinsic interest and because of its crucial importance in the life and social structure of the Republic over three centuries. The sociological picture is coloured by the conflict of interests between a backward and unadaptable Indian population on the one side and a small controlling minority of European stock on the other. Some account has therefore been given of the psychology of the highland Indian and his . . .

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