페이지 이미지

The third division comprises the lowlands of Bolivia, a vast extent of tropical plains and silvas, lying between the eastern slopes of the cordilleras and the Brazilian and Paraguayan frontiers. The northernmost portion of this region is popularly called the Bolivian Amazonia, and consists of a large forested area in which rubber trees thrive. The southern portion is largely uninhabited prairie land, capable, nevertheless, if provided with transportation facilities, of considerable development for agricultural and grazing purposes.


[ocr errors]

Although still far from adequate, great progress has been made during the past quarter of a century in the provision of railroads and other means of communication in Bolivia. According to Government reports, there were 1,165 miles of railroad in operation in 1923, and 231 miles more under construction. Of the lines in operation 83 miles belong to the State, 416 miles pertain to the Bolivia Railway Co., 325 miles to the Bolivian section and branches of the Antofagasta and Bolivia Railway Co., 144 miles to the Bolivian section of the Arica-La Paz Railway, 61 miles to the Guaqui-La Paz line of the Peruvian Corporation, 48 miles to the electric and steam roads of the Cochabamba Light & Power Co., and 88 miles to mine connection roads. Government-owned lines under construction embrace 123 miles from Atocha to Villazon, 60 miles of unfinished road from Potosi to Sucre, and 48 miles of the Yungas Railway to connect La Paz with the agricultural Beni country.

Bolivia has a network of splendid rivers, many of which afford means of transportation during the greater part of the year. According to the Oficina de Estadísticas y Estudios Geográficos, the total length of navigable streams is 12,000 miles. The greater part of them are in the northeastern part of the country and are directly or indirectly tributary to the Amazon. In the southeastern lowlands the Paraguay is navigable practically its entire length. Its affluents the Pilcomayo and Bermejo, are navigable in their Bolivian waters only by small boats. Lake Titicaca, a large body of water lying along the southwestern Peruvian frontier at an altitude of 12,545 feet, with an area of 4,000 square miles, constitutes, in conjunction with Peruvian and Bolivian railroads, another important means of transportation.

Since the Republic is without direct access to the sea, international commerce must necessarily be carried on through her navigable rivers and their confluents to the Atlantic, or over the three international lines of railroad—the Antofagasta and Bolivia, the Arica-La Paz, and the Guaqui-La Paz in conjunction with the Peruvian Southern Railway-to the Pacific seaboard.

Where railroads and navigable rivers are not available mules and llamas afford the chief means of transportation. A great number of country roads connect the various sections and towns throughout the country, over which these animals can travel, but in most cases they are little more than trails and are unfit for modern vehicles. In the plateau some fairly good automobile highways are maintained between the more important towns not served by railroads, but they are not dependable in bad weather.

Telegraph service is maintained by the State throughout practically the entire Republic, and a number of wireless stations have been installed, some at distant and otherwise isolated points, largely for the use of the Government in keeping in touch with outlying districts.

INDUSTRIES Manufacturing industries have not developed in Bolivia to the same extent as in the neighboring countries of Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. The tendency in their establishment has been to work on only lines that meet with a ready market, such as beer, alcohol, cigarettes, matches, shoes, candles, and soap. A beginning has been made in the milling of 'flour and the manufacture of chocolate, candy, wire nails, cardboard boxes, and bedsteads.

Bolivia's principal industry—that employing the greatest number of workmen and yielding the largest return-is mining. In variety of minerals Bolivia is richly endowed. It has been stated that practically every kind of known metal is to be found in its subsoil. Only a few, however, such as tin, copper, silver, antimony, lead, wolfram, zinc, bismuth, and gold are actually being exploited commercially, because of lack of capital and transportation facilities. Silver and gold were mined in some quantities even before the coming of the Spanish conquistadores, and despite the heavy inroads made on them during colonial days, the best-known deposits are still unexhausted, although special processes and modern methods and machinery may be necessary for their profitable working.



Bolivia enjoys the reputation of having been, in times gone by, one of the world's greatest producers of silver. Its mines and rich lodes are innumerable, yet, due to a variety of causes, chiefly lack of capital, modern machinery, and transportation facilities, a large number have been abandoned or are worked only spasmodically. However, since in recent years great improvement has taken place in the transportation facilities of the country and the price of silver has risen, a growing activity in this field is noticeable. In 1923, 22,068 tons of silver ore were shipped abroad, in comparison with 12,684 tons in 1918.

The richest silver ores found in Bolivia contain from 10 to 50 and even 80 per cent of pure silver. Others yield from 1 to 10 per cent. The largest, richest, and most important veins are found in the Departments of Potosi and Oruro.


Tin has been mined in Bolivia only since about the middle of the nineteenth century. Developments in the tin-plate industry and discovery of new applications in manufacturing, together with exhaustion of previous sources of supply, have brought up the price to such an extent that at the present time tin mining is the most important of Bolivia's industries, and accounts for the larger part of its exports. Tin is found in nearly all parts of the country, although the regions about La Paz, Oruro, Chlorolque, and Potosi supply nearly all of the present output.

Bolivian tin is largely extracted from lodes, placers no longer being worked to any extent. The bulk of the ore obtained is not sufficiently rich in tin to permit shipping in its original form, and it is therefore subjected to mechanical concentration before exporting. The concentrates contain from 60 to 70 per cent of tin. Smelting within the country has not been found practicable because of the scarcity of native fuel and the prohibitive cost of bringing foreign coal to the high plateaus where the mines are located.

The growth of the industry is apparent from Bolivian statistics of exports of tin, which show that in 1897 3,682 tons of concentrates were shipped out of the country; in 1900 the figure had increased to 16,000 tons, in 1908 to 32,000 tons, in 1914 to 36,594 tons, and in 1924, as may be seen from the tables further on in this report, to 52,478 tons.

The more important tin producers of the country, together with an indication of the amount of tin produced at their mines, are enumerated below:

Patino Mines and Enterprise Consolidated (Inc.).—Located at Uncia, Bolivia, with head offices in New York City. The mines are the “Llallagua” and “La Salvadora-Uncia-Patino," located at Llallagua and Uncia, Bolivia, in the Department of Potosi. Monthly production is approximately 1,400 to 2,000 tons. The concentrates contain about 70 per cent of tin.

Empresa de Estano de Araca.—The mines are located at Araca, in the Province of Loaiza. Monthly production is 273 to 500 tons.

Caracoles T'in Co. of Bolivia.- The mines are at Caracoles, Province of Inquisivi. Production ranges from 273 to 341 tons per month.

Compañía Minera e Agricola O ploca de Bolivia.-The mines are in the Chichas region of the Department of Potosi. Monthly production is 273 to about 364 tons.

Compañía Estanifera de Morococala.—The mines are situated in the Province of Cercado, about 25 miles southeast of Oruro. The monthly tin production is approximately 136 tons.

Empresa Minera de Huanuni.- These mines are situated southeast of Oruro, on the Machacamarca-Uncia Railway. The monthly production is estimated at from 91 to 150 tons of concentrates.


Copper constitutes one of the greatest of Bolivia's natural resources. It is not, however, being mined to anything like its full possibilities. Deposits, many of them of high copper content, occur in widely distributed localities in the Bolivian Andes. Nevertheless, because of lack of railroad transportation, only a few are being worked. The most famous are the Corocoro mines. These, since the completion of the Arica-La Paz railway, have furnished the greater part of the Bolivian output. The fact that exports of copper have risen from 8,513 tons in 1914 to 31,915 tons in 1923 is significant of the probable future expansion in this industry.


[ocr errors]

Of the other minerals now being exported in appreciable quantitiesbismuth, wolfram, zinc, lead, and antimony-bismuth and lead are the most important, from both a quantity and value standpoint. An almost equal quantity of bismuth was shipped in 1914 and 1923, while shipments of lead in 1923 were over six times greater in quantity than in 1914. Other minerals, with the exception of antimony, have decreased in volume.

AGRICULTURE A very wide variety of agricultural products are possible of successful cultivation in Bolivia, although only a comparatively few actually receive commercial attention because of the limited transportation facilities. Wheat, corn, potatoes, beans, barley, mandioca, rice, peanuts, coffee, fruits, nuts, sugar, tobacco, coca, cacao, cinchona, vegetable ivory, balsam, sarsaparilla, copal, vanilla, nutmeg, vegetable silk, cotton, and rubber are all produced in fair quantities. Rubber from the Bolivian Amazonia has in years gone by been one of Bolivia's most important articles of commerce, but since the decline of the Amazonian rubber industry there has been a very noticeable dropping off in trade.

A large number of valuable woods suitable for .cabinetmaking grow in the country's forests, although they have not received the attention, commercially, which they deserve.

The breeding of sheep and cattle is carried on fairly extensively both in the highlands and on the lower prairies.

The Bolivian market can be considered as seasonal only to a very limited extent, because of the predominant position of mining in the country's industries, and the backward condition of agriculture. The situation may differ to some extent when farmers of the great fertile lowlands are provided with means for transporting their crops to consuming centers, but at present their isolation is so profound and their standards of living so low that purchases of foreign goods at any time are almost negligible.

In a few of the semilowlands, as, for example, in the Province of Cochabamba, the situation is somewhat more encouraging. Agriculture here has had a better chance to develop and the inhabitants more opportunity for coming in contact with modern ideas. As a consequence, the city of Cochabamba, capital of the Province, is yearly acquiring greater importance as a distributing center for imported wares.

The best markets, of course, are those cities and towns where a white population exists. The more important of these are La Paz, , the metropolis and seat of government, in the center of an important mining district; Cochabamaba, agricultural center; Oruro, in the great tin-mining region; Potosi, capital of a rich mining Province; Sucre, the nominal capital of the Republic; and Uyuni, a busy railroad junction. There are, of course, other towns which deserve the attention of seekers for markets; Corocoro, of copper fame, Puerto Suarez, in the coffee and rubber region, as well as Santa Cruz, Tarija, and Trinidad, commercial centers of the lowland country.

The climate, the occupation of the people, and the character of the land, are all factors which to a greater extent than in most countries, determine the nature of the goods which can be disposed of. All sections of Bolivia absorb a certain amount of textiles and wearing apparel, but since the climate of the highlands is cool the year round the demand there is naturally for articles of clothing suitable for fall weather, including warm outer garments, overcoats, and sweaters, and warm blankets and comforts. Practically no sales can be made of what in the United States is considered as summer wear.

On the other hand, clothing materials offered in the Bolivian lowlands should be of a character suitable for wear in the


IMPORT AND EXPORT TRADE Aside from a limited quantity of ready-to-wear garments, the trade of the country consists largely of cotton goods, woolen goods, dress goods, silks, linen, jute, hemp, embroideries, laces and trimmings, ribbons, lingerie, hats, shoes, furs, gloves, leggins, etc. In 1922 (the most recent year for which detailed statistics are available), 239,103 pounds of cotton imitations of broadcloth, 653,058 pounds of white cotton goods, 1,923,322 pounds of unbleached cotton cloth, 1,117,580 pounds of woven cotton cloth, 312,335 pounds of cassimeres, 302,382 pounds of cloth for making women's clothing, and 1,410,919 pounds of gunny for making sacks were imported, among other goods, as shown in the table of Bolivian importations from 1919 to 1923, inclusive. Clothing for the laborers in Bolivia is of the cheapest and most ordinary material, and is for the most part made at home. In mining centers there is a certain demand for durable trousers, especially corduroy, and for overalls.

Wheat flour is one of the principal staple commodities imported into Bolivia in large quantities. In 1922 out of a total of 38,058,610 pounds brought in, Chile supplied about 60 per cent, the United States 25 per cent, and Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Paraguay the balance. Sugar amounting to approximately 19.600,000 pounds, consumed in the same year, was supplied principally by Peru. Lumber for construction purposes, and wooden railroad ties, are largely of United States and Chilean origin. Many other items, such as Portland cement, paraffin wax, glass bottles, rice and other articles of food, kerosene, hardware and tools, mining machinery and electrical goods, wire, sheet iron, explosives, coal, and petroleum find a fair market at all times, and the trade is now or could be shared in to a preponderant extent by American exporters.

In 1922 the total imports of Bolivia amounted to 248,095,440 pounds valued at $19,462,250, United States currency; in 1923 the figures were 283,073,406 pounds valued at $21,652,112. This was an increase of 34,977,966 pounds in weight and $2,189,862 in value, or 14 and 11 per cent respectively. Detailed figures for 1923 are not available and no figures have yet been compiled for 1924.

Imports by commodities from 1919 to 1922, inclusive, follow:

[blocks in formation]

Pounds Pounds Pounds Pounds Live animals.

9, 208, 195 4, 610,217 4, 290, 562 5, 262, 605 Barley.

3, 500, 672 1, 246, 498



199, 984 Rice

6, 416, 748 2, 901, 304 2, 428, 662 6,714, 034 Wheat flour.

36, 850, 401 26, 129, 872 27,063, 076 38, 058, 610 Sugar

20, 064, 775 13, 476, 016 17, 230, 603 19, 625, 851 Unspecified articles of food and drink

15, 620, 492 14,863. 654 13,726, 913 12,854, 144 Forage

1, 115, 466 1, 237, 673

20, 601 850, 034 Lumber for construction purposes.

14, 209, 926.' 17, 898, 047 12, 328, 250 16, 829, 413 Railroad ties, wooden,

19, 013, 866 4, 625, 402 3, 247, 131 3, 753, 116 Gasoline and naphtha.

958, 122

1,596, 275 1, 816, 570 1, 592, 147 Kerosene.

2, 283, 436 ! 4, 139, 762 2, 249, 794 3, 207, 304 Crude petroleum.

9,758, 750 12, 975, 071 16, 131,384 26, 504, 625 Paraffin wax and stearin.

1, 708, 604 4, 153, 385

2, 953, 164 2, 444, 893 Other mineral oils and derivatives.

1,963, 700 1, 969, 803

2, 183, 4871 1, 448, 385 Coal and conglomerates.

54, 842,890 88, 449,832 61, 489, 142 49, 170, 087 Portland cement

10, 738, 661 12, 655, 808 17, 122, 097 10, 013, 813 Other raw materials.

5, 438, 912 7,780,091 3, 229, 855

2, 481, 790 Soap

1,096, 554 1.671, 219 679, 561

854, 061 Candles

75, 1981 648, 403 319, 360 i 92, 956 1 Figures from the Boletin Comercial, Nov. 23, 1924. Conversion: in value made at the rate of $0.3895, the par value of the boliviano.

« 이전계속 »