Spain built its empire in great part upon the silver that was extracted from Bolivia's mines.
After the first call for independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar.
Spanish is the official and predominant language, although 36 indigenous languages also have official status, of which the most commonly spoken are Guarani, Aymara and Quechua languages.
Modern Bolivia is a charter member of the UN, IMF, NAM, OAS, ACTO, Bank of the South, ALBA and USAN.
The country's population, estimated at 11 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and Africans.