Bolivia is an independent country located in the Western part of South America. It is officially known as the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Bolivia is listed as South America’s fifth largest state. It is home to an estimated 11 million residents. The country is landlocked, and it occupies an area of 424,164 square miles. It has diverse geographic features ranging from the Andes mountain ranges to the lowlands. Bolivia is among the poorest countries of South America. Bolivia’s borders five countries: Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. The country maintains strong relations with its neighbors as well as other foreign nations.
Bolivia’s border with Peru is on the Northwestern side of Bolivia. It is approximately 668 miles long. The two countries share Lake Titicaca, which is South America’s second largest lake. There are some crossing border points along the Bolivia-Peru border. At these border stations, customs officials on both sides of the border check travelers documents before allowing them entry into Bolivia or Peru. In the late 19th century, Bolivia and Peru were engaged in the Pacific war that saw Bolivia lose its coastline to Chile. In 2010, Peru signed an agreement with Bolivia that gave the landlocked country of Bolivia a piece of land along the Pacific coast of Peru. The generous act was welcomed by the Bolivian government which established plans to build a port and a beach resort on the piece of land.
Bolivia shares an expansive border with Brazil on the Eastern side of Bolivia. The Bolivia-Brazil border is approximately 2,127 miles long. The borderline between the two countries passes through diverse terrain ranging from developed urban centers to harsh desert terrain and through thick tropical forests. Bolivia and Brazil have had strained relations in the past. At the start of the 20th century, the two Latin American neighbors fought over a piece of fertile land on the Amazon basin. The matter was settled in 1903 after Bolivia sold the land to Brazil. More recently in 2006, Bolivia and Brazil were engaged in a serious dispute over Bolivia’s plan to nationalize its energy sector. Brazilian authorities were concerned that Petrobras – a Brazilian energy company operating in Bolivia – would not be adequately compensated in the nationalization plans. In an attempt to enhance regional integration, Brazil and Bolivia settled the dispute in February 2007.
Bolivia and Paraguay are landlocked nations in South America. The Bolivia-Paraguay border is situated on the Southern part of Bolivia. The border runs through the lowlands area referred to as the Chaco region. Bolivia and Paraguay have had some conflicts in the past. Between 1932 and 1935, the two South American countries were involved in the deeply fought Chaco War. The Chaco War was classified as the toughest war in Latin America in the 20th century. The source of conflict was Bolivia's and Paraguay's fight over the Gran Chaco area said to have rich oil deposits. Foreign nations took sides and supported either Bolivia or Paraguay in the war. The two countries suffered severe economic decline from the war. A ceasefire agreement between the two nations was reached in June 1935. Paraguay emerged as the winner in the dispute and took a larger portion of the disputed area. The final report with a marked borderline between Bolivia and Paraguay was given to the Presidents of the two countries in 2009.
Bolivia and Chile share a border on the South Western side of Bolivia. The two nations have had difficult relations since the early 19th century. The major source of conflict was a fight for land by the two countries. The fight started shortly after the two nations attained independence from Spain. Bolivia and Chile claimed a piece of land along the Pacific coast. Bolivia and Chile heavily fought during the War of the Pacific which lasted for five years. At the end of the war, Chile emerged the winner and secured a significant part of Bolivia’s and Peru’s Pacific coast. Consequently, Bolivia was left without a coastline which resulted in the country being a landlocked nation. The hostile action by Chile led to strained relations between Bolivia and Chile. Chile established a rail link between Bolivia and the Pacific coast and gave favorable terms to Bolivia to access the Coastline through Chile. Bolivia’s attempts to acquire its coastline back from Chile in October 2018 failed after the International Court of Justice ruled in favor of Chile.
Bolivia shares a border with its South American neighbor Argentina. The border is on the Southern part of Bolivia. The two nations were once united under the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata. To date, Bolivia and Argentina have maintained amicable relations. The two share close economic and cultural ties. In 2016, Bolivia exported goods and services worth $708 million to Argentina. Additionally, millions of Bolivian citizens live and work in Argentina. There are three official border stations along the Bolivia-Argentina Border which are operated by customs officials from Bolivia and Argentina.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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