Historically, the region of Bolivia was already populated several centuries before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. Under the Spanish ruling, the indigenous population was forced to work in mines, while they were denied of economic and political opportunities. With the help of Simon Bolivar, a 19th century South-American independence fighter, the country gained its independence in 1825. In recognition of the leader’s support and in his honor, the new republic was named Bolivia. Today is a presidential republic, divided into 9 administrative departments. Per the 2009 constitution, Spanish, along with 36 indigenous languages, hold the status of official languages in Bolivia.
Although it lacks in the services sector, particularly in healthcare and development, Bolivia’s economy is the fastest growing one in Latin America with a steady growth for the foreseeable future, outrunning its competitive neighbors like Brazil or Argentina . Bolivia’s inflation rate has been fluctuating in recent years, slumping to below 3 percent in 2017, but it is expected to stabilize below the 5-percent mark. Bolivia is rich in natural resources, being among top producers of silver, zinc and bismuth. Consequently, Bolivia exports mostly fuels and mining products, followed by agricultural products, such as soybeans or quinoa. The majority of the exported goods go to Brazil, which takes a share of almost 20 percent of Bolivia’s exports, followed by the United States and Argentina.