Bolivia History Timeline

By | October 14, 2021

According to areacodesexplorer, Bolivia is a country in South America with borders to Brazil in the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina in the south, and Chile and Peru in the west. Bolivia is an inland state and thus does not have a coastline.

Santa Cruz is the country’s largest city and capital of the department of Santa Cruz, with 1.5 million. residents. The city is located in the eastern part of the country and has one of Bolivia’s largest industrial areas. Other major cities by population: La Paz, Cochabamba, Oruro, Sucre, Tarija, Potosi, Quillacollo.

The country is divided into 9 divisions: Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Beni, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz and Tarija.

Before Spanish colonization, the Andean region of present-day Bolivia was part of the Inca Empire, whereas the lowlands were inhabited by various independent tribes.

The Aymara people lived in the Andes and on the Altiplano plateau for several centuries, but were subject to the Inca Empire around the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century. Most current aymaras live in the area around Lake Titicaca and on the Altiplano.

Lake Titicaca is located in the Andes Mountains on the border between Peru and Bolivia. The water surface is 3812 meters above sea level, making Titicaca one of the highest lakes on the planet. The area of ​​the lake is 8,372 km².


00-900 – Tiahuanaco (tee-a-wa-na-ko) civilization flourishes in the Altiplano region. Tiahuanaco was an important city that was probably the center of an empire. Researchers believe that it was the ancestors of the present Aymara people who lived in the city. It is believed that the city was founded as a village around 200 BC, after which it grew into a highly developed city around the year approx. 600, before it was abandoned around the year 1000. At its peak, it had a population of about 40-50,000 and its people created great works of architecture that still today defy any explanation of how and when and by whom the place was built. Tiahuanaco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

16th century – The Incas conquered the country, but it lasted only until 1533, when they were conquered by the Spaniards.

1533-1538 – Spain occupied Bolivia.

1536-1537 – Siege of Cusco. The Spaniards arrived in the city in 1533 and it then became part of the Spanish Empire. Not far from Cusco is the famous Inca ruin Machu Picchu.

1545 – Silver discovered in the Cerro Rico Mountains. Cerro Rico directly means “The Rich Mountain”. The mountain, which has been popularly described as consisting of a silver spring, was the direct cause of the city of Potosí for a period becoming the largest city in America. Many of the Indians who were forced to work in the mines died there. Many more died of European diseases. However, the silver deposits were depleted after about 1800, and mining focused instead on tin, leading to downturns in the area. However, silver is still extracted today from the mountain. Approx. 15,000 people today work as miners in Potosí.

1548 – La Paz, the current capital of Bolivia, founded by Alonso de Mendoza.

1561 – Santa Cruz is founded on February 26 by the Spaniard Ñuflo de Chávez. He settled in his new town with his family, and was the first European to introduce goats and sheep to the region. He was killed there in a conflict with the natives (Itatines) in 1568. A few years later the settlement was moved to a new position 220 km further west due to the continuing conflicts with the natives.

1780 – The indigenous people of Bolivia, led by Túpac Amaru II, revolt against the Spaniards. The Indians believed they could renew the ancient Inca Empire and replace the unjust and oppressive Spanish government. But the Indians were divided, and they failed to conquer La Paz. Two years later, the uprising stopped. Although Túpac Amaru II failed to win, after his death he was made a legend in the Peruvian independence struggle and its indigenous movement, as well as an inspiration for countless causes in Hispano America, etc. He was executed / beheaded on May 18, 1781. by the colonial authorities in Cusco. Read more here.

1809-1825 – Bolivian War of Independence.

1825 – Bolivia becomes independent from Spain and Peru. Freemason Simón Bolívar will briefly become Bolivia’s first president from August 12-29. December, 1825, followed by Antonio José de Sucre from December 29, 1825-18. April, 1828.

1830 – Antonio José de Sucre is assassinated, shot dead, in obscure circumstances during an ambush on the way to Quito near Pastro in southern Colombia, on June 4. There are several theories as to why Sucre was assassinated and who was behind it. One theory suggests that José María Obando, who became President of Colombia in 1831, was the mastermind behind the ambush.

1836-1839 – The President tries to unite Bolivia with Peru, but the attempt ultimately fails; war with Chile and Argentina.

1839 – The Battle of Yungay effectively destroys the Peru-Bolivian Confederacy on January 20.

1842 – Peace treaty with Peru.

1879-1884 – The Cold War, or the Pacific War, was fought between Chile on the one hand and Bolivia and Peru on the other. The war was fought to gain control of rich mineral resources, primarily nitrate / nitrate in the form of guano (bird droppings) on the islands off the coast. The result of the war was that Chile conquered the department of Tarapacá in Peru and the province of Litoral in Bolivia. The latter made Bolivia a landlocked state.

1899 – La Paz becomes the seat of government and the administrative capital, Sucre the official capital.

1903 – Nitrogen War officially ends.

1906 – Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid find work at the Concordia tin mine in the Santa Cruz area.

1908 MYTH: On November 3, near Sante Vincente in southern Bolivia, a courier for Aramayo Franke and Cia Silver Mine was assaulted and robbed by two masked American bandits believed to be Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. The two bandits fled to the small mining town of Santa Vincente, where they hid in a small boarding house owned by a local miner named Bonifacio Casasola. Casasola became suspicious of his two foreign tenants when he saw their mules, with a characteristic from the mine fire on its left side. So he left the house, and reported it to a nearby telegraph, which then summoned a small Bolivian army, the Abaora Regiment, stationed nearby. They surrounded the house on the evening of November 6, and the intention was to arrest the two criminals, but they would not surrender, and a shooting drama was set in motion. The two bandits were found the next morning, both dead, and both with multiple gunshot wounds all over their bodies. The Bolivian authorities had difficulty identifying them. They were buried as ‘Desconocidos’ or unknown in a small cemetery in San Vincente, where they are located near a German miner, Gustav Zimmer. But it has not been possible to find their graves or DNA traces after them. Therefore, there are many myth stories where some tell that they survived and traveled back to the United States under false ID, while others tell that they were killed in an ambush by other local bandits who made it look like they were dead of suicide. Many films have been made in tribute to their memory, the most famous being Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid from 1969, where Cassidy is played by Paul Newman and Sundance is played by Robert Redford. However, the film’s plot is only sporadically built on real events.

1920s – The mining industry flourished in the country, but after the Wall Street crash of 1929, Bolivia’s economy suffered severely.

1932-1935 – Outbreak of the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay over control of large parts of the Gran Chaco region, which was once thought to contain large deposits of oil. Despite an oil discovery at the foot of the Andes Mountains in 1928, no special oil discoveries have ever been made in the area.

1942 – Victor Paz Estensorro founded the Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (Danish: The Revolutionary Nationalist Movement), also known simply as the MNR, of which he was leader for almost 50 years from the beginning to 1990. He was President of Bolivia 4 times: 1952-1956; 1960-1964; August 6, 1964 – November 4, 1964 and last from 1985-1989. He died on June 7, 2001, aged 94 years.

1943-1946 – Gualberto Villarroel leads the new government after a coup by MNR. Villarroel was sometimes compared to Argentina’s Juan Perón, but is best remembered for his alleged fascist sympathies and for his violent death at the presidential palace on July 21, 1946. Inside the palace, Villarroel announced his resignation, but a furious group of protesters broke into the palace, and grabbed the president, and threw him down on the square from the balcony of Plaza Murillo in La Paz, and his body was hung up in a lamppost. He has since been honored by the majority of the Bolivian people as a martyr and hero whose time had not yet come when he met his violent death.

1966-1967 – Revolutionary Che Guevara arrives in La Paz on November 3, 1966, with a false identity and changed appearance so that he will not be recognized. Three days later, he traveled to rural areas in the southeastern part of the country to form his guerrilla army. Guevara’s first base camp was in the tropical forest of the remote Ñancahuazú area. The guerrilla was to be the first step towards the overthrow of the Bolivian government and the creation of a socialist state. The guerrillas succeeded in defeating several Bolivian patrols before they themselves were annihilated, and Guevara was captured on October 8, and executed on October 9, 1967 in La Higuera.. Only five guerrillas survived and managed to escape to Chile.

1971-1978 – Colonel Hugo Banzer Suarez reigns as dictator. Torture under Banzer was widespread and Banzer’s regime hired Nazi criminal Klaus Barbie as a consultant. He was re-elected from 1997 to 2001, becoming the first former dictator in Latin America to later be democratically elected head of state. In Banzer’s second reign launched a comprehensive program against the illegal cultivation and trade of coca. The program was controversial in Bolivia, especially among the indigenous people. Banzers period of government was further marked by the usual harassment with the unions. Banzer was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001, and he had to resign as president on August 7, 2001, due to health problems. He was replaced by his Vice President Jorge Quiroga. Banzer died on May 5, 2002.

1982-1985 – Hernan Siles Zuazo becomes president again (first office: 1956-1960), restoring democracy after 18 years of military rule.

1990 – Land reforms for the benefit of indigenous peoples.

1996 – Over 5,000 dinosaur footprints discovered at Cal Orcko near Sucre ; land reform agreement with landowners and Native American chiefs.

1999 – Bush fires destroy hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland.

2003-2006 – The unrest in Bolivia, was a social conflict and a series of unrest in the country, primarily concerning the exploitation of the country’s large reserves of natural gas, but also about the political power in the country, including the indigenous political influence in the country.

2006 – Evo Morales is elected president. He has won three presidential elections. He is aymara and is also the first president in the country to have ethnicity among the area’s indigenous people. Morales won the Bolivian presidential election for the third time when he was elected for a third term on 12 October 2014 (2015-2019).

2007 – State of emergency declared after months of heavy rain and floods.

2017 – Water shortages in Bolivia due to overgrowth, intense drought, shrinking glaciers, and growing demands from cities, agriculture and mining, are forcing officials to ration supplies in La Paz. About 177,000 families in the country are estimated to be affected by the drought.

Bolivia History Timeline