Advanced societies which had existed for centuries around Lake Titicaca disappeared in the 13th century. The area was part of the Inca empire when it was conquered by Spain in the early 16th century. The Spanish exploited the silver mines, using the Indians as the work force. Bolivia achieved independence in 1825. It lost its sea-coast to Chile in the Pacific War (1879-83). is Even though the majority of Bolivia's population are indigenous people, the political and economic power has been in the hands of the non-indigenous minority since colonial times. From 1952-64, a progressive regime carried out land reform, nationalized the mines, and extended suffrage to the indigenous people and to women. In recent years, the Bolivian people have forcefully claimed their democratic rights, and demanded that the rich natural resources of the country (e.g. gas, oil) be used for their benefit. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. The majority of the population depend on subsistence farming and the production of coca. The Catholic Church was established at the time of Spanish colonization, and is the majority church. Protestant missions arrived in the late 19th and in the 20th century. The Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Christian Evangelical Union are the largest Evangelical churches. Pentecostals and Holiness churches form over 30 percent of the Evangelical Christians. There is a National Evangelical Association, affiliated with the WEA. The joint programme of CLAI and WCC for indigenous peoples is based in Bolivia's capital La Paz.
More on Bolivia:
Ecumenical solidarity visit to Bolivia
An international ecumenical "Living Letters" delegation sent by the World Council of Churches (WCC) visited Bolivia in July 2009. The team learned about conflicts related to the political change process led by representatives of the coutry's first nations. Read more...