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La Paz

LA PAZ, a western department of Bolivia, bounded N. by the national territories of Caupolican and El Beni, E. by El Beni and Cochabamba, S. by Cochabamba and Oruro and W. by Chile and Peru. Pop. (1900) 445,616, the majority of whom are Indians. Area 53,777 sq. m. The department belongs to the great Bolivian plateau, and its greater part to the cold, bleak, puna climatic region. The Cordillera Real crosses it N.W. to S.E. and culminates in the snow-crowned summits of Sorata and Illimani. The west of the department includes a part of the Titicaca basin with about half of the lake. This elevated plateau region is partially barren and inhospitable, its short, cold summers permitting the production of little besides potatoes, quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) and barley, with a little Indian corn and wheat in favoured localities. Some attention is given to the rearing of llamas, , and a few cattle, sheep and mules are to be seen south of Lake Titicaca. There is a considerable Indian population in this region, living chiefly in small hamlets on the products of their own industry. In the lower valleys of the eastern slopes, where climatic conditions range from temperate to tropical, wheat, Indian corn, oats and the fruits and vegetables of the temperate zone are cultivated. Farther down, coffee, cacao, coca, rice, sugar cane, tobacco, oranges, bananas and other tropical fruits are grown, and the forests yield cinchona bark and rubber. The mineral wealth of La Paz includes gold, silver, tin, copper and bismuth. Tin and copper are the most important of these, the principal tin mines being in the vicinity of the capital and known under the names of Huayna-Potosi, Milluni and Chocoltaga. The chief copper mines are the famous Corocoro group, about 75 m. S.S.E. of Lake Titicaca by the Desaguadero river, the principal means of transport. The output of the Corocoro mines, which also includes gold and silver, finds its way to market by boat and rail to Mollendo, and by pack animals to Tacna and rail to Arica. There are no roads in La Paz worthy of the name except the 5 m. between the capital and the " Alto," though stagecoach communication with Oruro and Chililaya has been maintained by the national government. The railway opened in 1905 between Guaqui and La Paz (54 m.) superseded the latter of these stage lines, and a railway is planned from Viacha to Oruro to supersede the other. The capital of the department is the national capital La Paz. Corocoro, near the Desaguadero river, about 75 m. S.S.E. of Lake Titicaca and 13,353 ft. above sea-level, has an estimated population (1906) of 15,000, chiefly Aymara Indians.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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