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Cochabamba Department

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Title: Cochabamba Department  
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Subject: Bolivia, List of Bolivian cities by population, Miss Bolivia 2008, List of airports in Bolivia, Demographics of Bolivia
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Cochabamba Department

Cochabamba Department
Quchapampa suyu
Flag of Cochabamba Department
Coat of arms of Cochabamba Department
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): "City of Eternal Spring"
Location within Bolivia
Location within Bolivia
Country  Bolivia
Established as department by law 1826
Autonomous department by referendum 2009
Capital Cochabamba
 • Governor Edmundo Novillo Aguilar
 • Department 55,631 km2 (21,479 sq mi)
Elevation 2,574 m (8,445 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Department 1,758,143
 • Urban 608,276
Time zone BOT (UTC-4)
HDI (2004) -
ISO 3166-2 BO-C

Cochabamba (from Quechua: qucha or qhucha, meaning "lake", pampa meaning "plain" [1]) is one of the nine component departments of Bolivia. It is known to be the "granary" of the country because of its variety of agricultural products due to Cochabamba's geographical position. It has an area of 55,631 km². Its population, in the 2012 census, was 1,758,143. Its capital is the city of Cochabamba. Cochabamba is known as the "City of Eternal Spring" and "The Garden City" due to its spring-like temperatures year round.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Government 3
    • Past executives 3.1
  • Provinces 4
  • Languages 5
  • Population and Demographics 6
  • Economy 7
  • Places of interest 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


The Cochabamba valley was inhabited for over a thousand years due to its fertile productive soils and climate. Archaeological evidence suggests that the initial valley inhabitants were of various ethnic indigenous groups. Tiwanaku, Tupuraya, Mojocoya, Omereque and Inca inhabited the valley at various times before the Spanish arrived.

The first Spanish inhabitant of the Valley was Garci Ruiz de Orellana in 1542. He purchased the majority of the land from local tribal chiefs Achata and Consavana through a title registered in 1552 at the Imperial City of Potosí. The price paid was 130 pesos. His residence, known as the House of Mayorazgo, still stands in the Cala Cala neighbourhood of the city.

The city, called Villa de Oropesa was founded on 2 August 1571 by order of Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, Count of Oropesa. It was to be an agricultural production centre to provide food for the mining towns of the relatively nearby Altiplano region, particularly the city of Potosí which became one of the largest and richest cities in the world during the 17th century – funding the vast wealth that ultimately made Spain a world power at the time. With the silver mining industry in Potosi at its height, Cochabamba thrived during its first centuries of existence. The city entered a period of decline during the 18th century as mining began to wane.

In 1786, King Charles III of Spain renamed the city to the 'loyal and valiant' Villa of Cochabamba. This was done to commend the city's pivotal role in suppressing the indigenous rebellions of 1781 in Oruro by sending armed forces to Oruro to quell the uprisings. Since the late 19th century it has again been generally successful as an agricultural centre for Bolivia.

The 1793 census shows that the city had a population of 22,305 persons. There were 12,980 mestizos, 6,368 Spaniards, 1,182 indigenous natives, 1,600 mulattos and 175 African slaves.

In 2000, Cochabamba was wracked with large-scale protests over the privatisation of the city's water supply. See Cochabamba protests of 2000.

In January 2007 city dwellers clashed with mostly rural protestors, leaving four dead and over 130 injured. The democratically-elected Prefect of Cochabamba, Manfred Reyes Villa, a former military aide to the Luis García Meza dictatorship of the 1980s, had allied himself with the leaders of Bolivia's Eastern Departments in a dispute with President Evo Morales over regional autonomy and other political issues. The protestors blockaded the highways, bridges, and main roads, having days earlier set fire to the departmental seat of government, trying to force the resignation of Reyes Villa. Citizens attacked the protestors, breaking the blockade and routing them, while the police did little to stop the violence. Further attempts by the protestors to reinstate the blockade and threaten the government were unsuccessful, but the underlying tensions have not been resolved.

In July 2007, a monument erected by veterans of January's protest movement in honour of those killed and injured by government supporters was destroyed in the middle of the night, reigniting racial conflicts in the city.

In August 2008, a nationwide referendum was held, and while the president Evo Morales had 67% support in Bolivia, the prefect of Cochabamba, Manfred Reyes Villa, was not confirmed by the voters of the department.


Cochabamba Department is bordered by Chuquisaca and Potosi Department to the south, Oruro and La Paz Department to the west, Beni Department to the north, and Santa Cruz Department to the east. The borders are formed mainly by rivers, like Ichilo to the east, Rio Grande to the south and Cotacajes to the west.[2]


The chief executive office of Bolivia departments (since May 2010) is the governor; until then, the office was called the prefect, and until 2006 the prefect was appointed by the President of Bolivia. The current governor, Edmundo Novillo Aguilar of the Movement for Socialism – Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples was elected on 4 April 2010 and took office 30 May.

Under the 2009 Constitution, Bolivian departments have an elected legislature, the Departmental Legislative Assembly. The Cochabamba Assembly has 34 members including two indigenous representatives.

The most recent election results are as follows:

  Cochabamba departmental election, 2010
Gubernatorial Candidate Party Votes for Governor Percentage Assembly Members by Territory Votes for Assembly by Population Percentage Assembly Members by Population Total Assembly Members
  Edmundo Novillo Aguilar Movement for Socialism 415.245 61,9% 16 360.785 60,7% 11 27
  Marvell José María Leyes Justiniano National Unity Front-Popular Consensus (All for Cochabamba) 174.175 26,0% 0 147.442 24,8% 4 4
  José Ronald Del Barco Alcocer Without Fear Movement 52.516 7,8% 0 63.614 10,7% 1 1
  María Casta Jaimes Arriaran Nationalist Revolutionary Movement 29.250 4,4 0 22.800 3,8% 0 0
Indigenous Representatives Elected through usos y costumbres by the Yuqui and Yuracaré peoples 2
  Valid votes 671.186 81,9% 594.641 72,7%
  Blank votes 111.510 13,6 183.077 22,4%
  Null votes 36.905 4,5% 40.713 5,0%
  Total votes 819.601 87,2% of registered voters 16 818.431 87,1% of registered voters 16 34
Source: Corte Nacional Electoral, Acto de Computo Nacional

Past executives

Date Began Date Ended Prefect/Governor Party Notes
23 Jan 2006 12 Aug 2008 Manfred Reyes Villa New Republican Force First elected prefect. Elected in Bolivian general election, December 2005, and removed by the 2008 recall election.
12 Aug 2008 26 Aug 2008 Johnny Gutierrez Ferrel (acting, de facto)
29 Aug 2008 12 Dec 2008 Rafael Puente Calvo (acting) MAS-IPSP
12 Dec 2008 30 May 2010 Jorge Ledezma Cornejo (interim) MAS-IPSP Final prefect
30 May 2010 Edmundo Novillo Aguilar MAS-IPSP Elected in regional election on 4 April; first governor


The Department of Cochabamba is divided into 16 provinces (provincias) which are further subdivided into 47 municipalities [3] (municipios) and – on the fourth level – into 144 cantons.

The provinces with their capitals and population according to census 2012 are listed as follow:

Province Capital Area (km²) Population
(2012 census)
Arani Arani 506 18,444
Arque Arque 1.077 20,630
Ayopaya Ayopaya 9.620 54,408
Bolívar Bolívar 413 7,279
Capinota Capinota 1.495 29,659
Carrasco Totora 15.045 135,097
Cercado Cochabamba 391 630,587
Chapare Sacaba 12.445 262,845
Esteban Arce Tarata 1.245 37,152
Germán Jordán Cliza 305 34,342
Mizque Mizque 2.730 35,586
Narciso Campero Aiquile 5.550 35,763
Punata Punata 850 54,409
Quillacollo Quillacollo 720 335,393
Tapacarí Tapacarí 1.500 24,595
Tiraque Tiraque 1.739 41.954


The languages spoken in the Cochabamba Department are mainly Spanish and Quechua. The following table shows the number of those belonging to the recognised group of speakers.[4]

Language Department Bolivia
Quechua 872,010 2,281,198
Aymara 84,921 1,525,321
Guaraní 1,379 62,575
Another native 3,351 49,432
Spanish 1,101,822 6,821,626
Foreign 40,579 250,754
Only native 269,588 960,491
Native and Spanish 648,195 2,739,407
Spanish and foreign 454,273 4,115,751

Population and Demographics

Description Department 1976 Department 1992[5] Department 2001[5] Department 2012[6]
Inhabitants 720.952 1.110.205 1.455.711 1.758.143
Rural - - 41 % -
Urban - - 59 % -
Total fertility rate - 4.00
Infant mortality - 72.00
decade growth rate
- 3.46 2.93 1.68
Net migration rate - - 2.40 -


The Cochabamba economy is based mainly in services, but recently it is experiencing some diversification in manufacturing, agriculture and tourism. The geographic location of Cochabamba makes it the main routes of transport joining the two main cities, the host government La Paz and the industrial hub Santa Cruz. Therefore, many cervices i.e. transport, banking, telecommunication, gastronomy, are economically important in the corridor La Paz – Santa Cruz. Extraction of oil was very important for the economy in the past; especially in Chapare where the wells are located. By 2013 many of the exploited wells were showing signs of depletion. Thus, investment is needed to find new productive wells. Once called “the basket grain of Bolivia” today Cochabamba produces just a portion of the agriculture output of the country. Overpopulation in the productive valleys and “minifundio” doomed the once competitive production. Nevertheless, Cochabamba is still important in poultry, dairy, tropical fruits, potatoes, among others. Recently, Cochabamba experiences some improvement in manufacturing and industry. The cement mill of COBOCE located in Capinota almost triples the production tapering the strong demand. The roads to the industrial park and other facilities of the park were improved making it more competitive for the local and new industries. Also, it is worth to mention the almost 1b USD government investment in the petro chemistry (urea plant) located in Bulo Bulo.

Places of interest

See also


  1. ^ Diccionario Bilingüe Iskay simipi yuyayk'ancha pdf
  2. ^ Andes Travel Map
  3. ^ (English)
  4. ^ (Spanish)
  5. ^ a b "Cochabamba: indicadores Sociodemográficos por Provincia y Scciones de Provincia 1992–2001" (PDF). Instituto Nacional de Estadística de Bolivia. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Bolivia: Censo Nacional de Población y Vivienda 2012" (PDF). Instituto Nacional de Estadística de Bolivia. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Pairumani

External links

  • Cochabamba Travel Guide
  • Weather in Cochabamba
  • Bolivian Music and Web Varieties
  • Pictures: Coca cultivation in the Cochabamba Tropic
  • [2]
  • Full information of Cochabamba Department

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