A Brief History of Bolivia, 2nd Edition by Waltraud Q. Morales

By Waltraud Q. Morales

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Several ayllus formed a federation of ayllus. The primarily agricultural economy was organized around the communal cultivation of the native potato and highland grains. 6 The Ancient Indian Peoples Aymara cosmology and religion centered on nature and the sun, moon, and stars. Viracocha, or Pachacámac, was the powerful creator god; Khuno, the dark deity of evil; and Pachamama (Mother Earth), the feminine deity of fertility. d. 1460, the aggressive and imperialistic Inca swept down from the north and rapidly conquered the decentralized kingdoms of the Aymara people.

Bolivia’s human development index (HDI), which measures quality of life through such indicators as education, life expectancy, housing, sanitation, and health care, remains low compared to the Latin American–Caribbean averages and the averages for industrialized nations. More than 40 percent of Bolivia’s population lacks access to proper sanitation, and 15–30 percent lacks drinkable water. can be laid at the door of political instability and bad government. Rather, Bolivians have suffered also the tyranny of geography.

Archaeological ruins at the imperial city of Tiwanaku show extensive skill in architecture and knowledge of astronomy. Tiwanaku was laid out in several large plazas with the dominant central plaza paved with imposing stone slabs. The few architectural walls, semisubterranean temples, and gateways that survive today are adorned with Chavín-style figures and carved animals. Most impressive of these is the Puerta del Sol, or the Gate of the Sun, and the rebuilt Temple of Kalasasaya, which in Aymara means “stones standing upright” and refers to its basaltsandstone monoliths that are astronomically aligned around a ritual platform.

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