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Bolivia's History: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

Lake Titicaca, megaliths and old silver mines can all be found in Bolivia! In this lesson, you will discover interesting facts and legends about the history of this country.

Island of the Sun

Have you ever wanted to find your way through a maze, also called a labyrinth? If you visit the Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), an island on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, you can stroll through a labyrinth of stone walls and tiny doors. This maze will lead you to a well, which legend says contains holy water. Lake Titicaca was a sacred place during the Inca civilization and there is a myth that the sun was created here. Bolivia has a fascinating history!

A raft sailing on Lake Titicaca from Isla del Sol.
Titicaca

Where Is Bolivia?

Bolivia is a country on the continent of South America. Bolivia has many different landscapes, including mountains and volcanoes. Bolivia is home to the largest salt flats in the world. Salt flats are flat areas of land covered in salt and were once ancient lakes that dried up! Bolivia borders Lake Titicaca, one of the highest lakes in the world at 12,500 feet.

Ancient Bolivia

Rising high above Lake Titicaca are the remains of Bolivia's first great empire, called Tiahuanaco (pronounced tee-a-wa-na-ko). Today you can see a ruin, or remain, of this empire called the Gate to the Sun, which is a megalith. A megalith is prehistoric monument made out of stone. Some believe the Gate of the Sun was a calendar, but legend says it was a portal to another dimension!

Tiahuanaco's power lasted until about 1200 AD, until the kingdoms of the Aymara took over. In 1438 the Incas from Peru expanded their empire, but they never completely controlled the tribes of Bolivia.

Spanish Conquest

Can you imagine finding a mineral treasure chest? This is what the Spanish conquistadors, or conquerors, called Bolivia when they found huge amounts of silver in the mid-1500s. Sadly, the Spanish made the natives work in these mines. Rebellions, or acts of resistance, formed over the next several hundred years. In 1820, Simon Bolivar, who Bolivia is named after, led a rebellion against the Spanish and brought an end to their rule. Bolivia gained their independence in 1825.

Landlocked

How would you feel if your neighbors came over and started claiming parts of your yard as their own? And if you didn't let them have it, they would declare war. Pretty soon, your entire backyard would be gone. This is what happened to Bolivia.

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