Since Bolivia was created as a state in 1825 it has been a multiethnic society made up of indigenous peoples (55 percent mainly Quechua and Aymara), mestizos or criollos of mixed European and indigenous background (30 percent), persons of European descent, mainly Spanish (14 percent), and Afro-Bolivians (1 percent). Since the Spanish conquest of the Incas, Bolivia’s majority indigenous population has been marginalized and the country run by centralist governments made up of an elite minority. As Bolivia’s centralism began shifting in the 1950s, indigenous people slowly gained rights, education, and empowerment culminating in the 2005 democratic election of indigenous leader Evo Morales who won the presidency on a campaign titled “500 years of resistance [or suppression] of the indigenous peoples” (Monasterios, Stefanoni, & do Alto, 2007, p. 73). In 2009 a new constitution legally changed Bolivia’s name from Bolivia to the Plurinational State of Bolivia, in recognition of its ethnical diversity. For want of brevity this text will refer to the Plurinational State of Bolivia as “Bolivia,” as many Bolivians continue to do so today as well.
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- Bolivian Governance, 1950–2010
Tamara L. Stenn
- Palgrave Macmillan US
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