Photos of The People of Bolivia, Bolivia

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The People of Bolivia

Bolivia is one of only three countries in Latin America where the majority of the population consists of Amerindians - the other two are Peru and Guatemala. The Bolivian people are culturally, racially and socially very diverse: there are over 30 distinct indigenous groups that have been in the various regions for thousands of years.

Potosi boy
 
School boys
 
Potocchi dancer
 
Peña Performance
 
Chewing coca
 
People of Tarabuco
 
Man of Tarabuco
 
Selling instruments
 
Traditional man
 
Mother and child
 
Yampara woman
 
Joq'ollo hats
 
Shoeshine boy
 
School children, Uyuni
 
Boy of Oruro
 
Bolivia
 
Drumming band
 
Electric jeep ride
 
Aymara women marching
 
Schoolgirls of La Paz
 
Getting a shoeshine
 
Doing homework
 
Indian statue
 
Computer games
 
Selling souvenirs
 
Witches' Market
 
Boy of Copacabana
 
Small boy near Copacabana
 
Girls of Copacabana
 
Boy of Sicuan
 
Man of Yampupata
 
Children with llama
 
Posing with baby llama
 
Young Quechua man
 
Family in Challapampa
 
Girl with her llama
 

Until recently three official languages had been recognised: Spanish (usually called "Castellano"), Quechua, and Aymara. But since December 2009 a new constitution was adopted in which now all native languages and dialects are declared to be official languages. Even so, Spanish is used by most people, although many of Bolivia's indigenous peoples are bilingual. Quechua, the language of the Inca Empire (2.5 million) and Aymara (over 2 million) are spoken throughout Bolivia, while Chiquitano (180,000) and Guaraní (125,000) speakers belong to the two next largest indigenous groups. Bolivia's population is now more than 10 million.

The Quechua, the largest culture of Bolivia, are native to Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Potosí, Oruro and La Paz. They are mostly farmers and cultivate numerous varieties of corn and potatoes, quinoa and other tubers, although their most lucrative crop by far is coca. They also practice animal husbandry. The Aymara, the second largest Bolivian indigenous culture, are native to La Paz, Oruro and Potosí. Their sources of income are agriculture, animal husbandry, mining, fishing, handcrafts and trade. The Uru Uru culture is native to the area of La Paz and Oruro, which was named after them. There are fewer than 3,000 and speak the Uru language; most work in animal husbandry and the production of handcrafts. The great majority of European descendants are of Spanish origin, although there are also quite large German, Italian and North American communities and also small numbers from many other European and Asian communities. There is also a small Afro-Bolivian population in the Yungas forest region, the descendants of the first African slaves.