La Paz

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This article is about the capital of Bolivia. For other uses, see La Paz (disambiguation).
Central La Paz
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Central La Paz
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Central_La_Paz_Bolivia.jpg
Panoramic sight of the city of La Paz

La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia, as well as the departmental capital of La Paz Department. As of the 2001 census, the city of La Paz had a population of about one million. La Paz is situated in a chasm below a plateau at an altitude of 3600 meters alongside the La Paz river. Atop the plateau is the city of El Alto, where the international airport is located. The city is located at 16°30' South, 68°8' West (-16.5, -68.1333).

Founded in 1548 by Alonso de Mendoza at the site of the Native American settlement called Chuquiago, the full name of the city was originally Nuestra Seora de La Paz (meaning Our Lady of Peace). The name commemorated the restoration of peace following the insurrection of Gonzalo Pizarro and fellow conquistadors two years earlier against Blasco Nez Vela, the first viceroy of Peru. In 1825, after the decisive victory of the republicans at Ayacucho over the Spanish army in the course of the South 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 capital only. This change reflected the shift of the Bolivian economy away from the largely exhausted silver mines of Potos to the exploitation of tin near Oruro, and resulting shifts in the distribution of economic and political power among various national elites.

Currently, La Paz is not the richest and most modern city in Bolivia anymore. In the last few decades, Santa Cruz de la Sierra has shown good economic development.

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