La Paz | Bolivia
La Paz (/lɑː ˈpɑːz/ ), officially known as Nuestra Señora de La Paz (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈnwestɾa seˈɲoɾa ðe la ˈpas]; English: Our Lady of Peace), also named Chuqi Yapu (Chuquiago) in Aymara, is the seat of government and the de facto national capital of the Plurinational State of Bolivia (the constitutional capital of Bolivia is Sucre). With an estimated 789,541 residents as of 2015, La Paz is the third-most populous city in Bolivia (after Santa Cruz de la Sierra and El Alto).
Its metropolitan area, which is formed by La Paz, El Alto and Viacha, makes up the most populous urban area in Bolivia, with a population of 2.3 million. It is also the capital of the La Paz Department.
The city, located in west-central Bolivia 68 km (42 mi) southeast of Lake Titicaca, is set in a canyon created by the Choqueyapu River. It is located in a bowl-like depression surrounded by the high mountains of the Altiplano. Overlooking the city is the towering, triple-peaked Illimani. Its peaks are always snow covered and can be seen from many parts of the city. At an elevation of roughly 3,650 m (11,975 ft) above sea level, La Paz is the highest capital city in the world. Due to its altitude, La Paz has an unusual subtropical highland climate, with rainy summers and dry winters.
La Paz was founded on October 20, 1548 by the Spanish conquistador Captain Alonso de Mendoza at the site of the Inca settlement of Laja as a connecting point between the commercial routes that led from Potosí and Oruro to Lima; the full name of the city was originally Nuestra Señora de La Paz (meaning Our Lady of Peace) in commemoration of the restoration of peace following the insurrection of Gonzalo Pizarro and fellow conquistadors against the first viceroy of Peru. The city was later moved to its present location in the valley of Chuquiago Marka. La Paz was under Spanish colonial rule as part of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, before Bolivia gained independence. Since its founding, the city was the site of numerous revolts. In 1781, the indigenous leader and independence activist Túpac Katari laid siege to the city for a total of six months, but was finally defeated. On July 16, 1809 the Bolivian patriot Pedro Domingo Murillo ignited a revolution for independence, marking the beginning of the Spanish American Wars of Independence, which gained the freedom of South American states in 1821.
As the seat of the government of Bolivia, La Paz is the site of the Palacio Quemado, the presidential palace. It is also the seat of the Bolivian legislature, the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, and numerous government departments and agencies. The constitutional capital of Bolivia, Sucre, retains the judicial power. The city hosts numerous foreign embassies as well as international missions in the country. La Paz is an important political, administrative, economic, and sports center of Bolivia; it generates 25% of Bolivia's Gross Domestic Product and serves as the headquarters for numerous Bolivian companies and industries.
Spain controlled La Paz with a firm grip and the Spanish king had the last word in all matters political, but consultation was extended, taking months or longer by sea. Indigenous and other unrest was repeated around the turn of the nineteenth century. In 1781, for a total of six months, a group of Aymara people laid siege to La Paz. Under the leadership of Tupac Katari, they destroyed churches and government property. Thirty years later Indians conducted a two-month siege against La Paz. This incident was the setting for the origin of the legend of the Ekeko. In 1809 the struggle for independence from the Spanish rule brought uprisings against the royalist forces. On July 16, 1809 Pedro Domingo Murillo said that the Bolivian revolution was igniting a lamp that nobody would be able to turn off. This uprising formally marked the beginning of the liberation of South America from Spain. The first open rebellions against the Spanish Crown took place in La Paz and the city of Sucre simultaneously. This event is known as the Primer Grito Libertario de América.
Pedro Domingo Murillo was hanged at the Plaza de los Españoles that night. After Bolivia gained independence, La Paz named this plaza after him, to commemorate him always. He is remembered as the voice of revolution across South America.
In 1825, after the decisive victory of the republicans at Ayacucho over the Spanish army in the course of the Spanish American wars of independence, the city's full name was changed to La Paz de Ayacucho (meaning The Peace of Ayacucho).
In 1898, La Paz was made the de facto seat of the national government, with Sucre remaining the nominal historical as well as judiciary capital. This change reflected the shift of the Bolivian economy away from the largely exhausted silver mines of Potosí to the exploitation of tin near Oruro, and resulting shifts in the distribution of economic and political power among various national elites.
Located in the district known as Cotahuma and near Sopocachi, is one of the main residential and diplomatic areas of the city. San Jorge is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods of La Paz and the financial center of the metropolis, housing international firms like Deloitte, Bank of America, Ernst & Young, BBVA and the famous Ritz Hotel. It is now home of Bolivia's tallest building known as Torre Girasoles, and the only intelligent building of the country, known as Torre Azul. The neighborhood is also populated with expensive offices, renowned restaurants, museums and bookstores. Its Avenida Arce, one of the main streets of the city, is the highest-priced street in the country and the one with the most upscale boutiques in Bolivia. San Jorge is home to the embassies of the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Japan, Germany and Spain. The offices of the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the CAF – Development Bank of Latin America, the Goethe Institut, the Alliance Française and the Dante Alighieri Society are also located in this modern neighborhood.
The economy of La Paz has improved greatly in recent years, mainly as a result of improved political stability. Due to the long period of high inflation and economic struggle faced by Bolivians in the 1980s and early 1990s, a large informal economy developed. Evidence of this is provided by the markets found all around the city. While there are stable markets, almost every street in the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods has at least one vendor on it. La Paz remains the principal center of manufacturing enterprises that produce finished-product goods for the country, with about two-thirds of Bolivia's manufacturing located nearby. Historically, industry in Bolivia has been dominated by mineral processing and the preparation of agricultural products. However, in the urban centre of La Paz, small plants carry out a large portion of the industry. Food, tobacco products, clothing, various consumer goods, building materials, and agricultural tools are produced. "The tin quotations from London are watched in La Paz with close interest as an index of the country's prosperity; a third of the national revenue and more than half of the total customs in 1925 were derived from tin; in short, that humble but indispensable metal is the hub around which Bolivia's economic life revolves. The tin deposits of Bolivia, second largest in the world, ... invite development."