Bolivian Food History and Interesting Important Facts

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An Amazing Country

Bolivia is considered to have been inhabited for the last 20.000 years, at the beginning in small towns; and around the 220 B.C. the very important Tiwanaku culture started developing in the Titicaca lake region.  This has been a very advanced civilization, leaving behind signals of a great architectural development.  Also its agricultural techniques were very advanced.  This civilization  disappeared around the XII century, A.D. in a very mysteriously way. Some archeologists say it may have been a flood from the Titicaca, but nobody knows for sure what happened then. 

At the same time, other civilizations, the Mollos and the Moxos who also had developed very important and advanced agricultural techniques, disappeared around the same century, or maybe a little later, in the XIII century.  In the XV century, the Incas took over this region and made them part of their empire.

In our days, the Aymara people who claim to be descendants of the Tiwanakus and the Quechua speaking people are considered to be the original inhabitants of this country, and both their languages are official languages together with the Spanish.  Because when the Spaniards came in 1525 and conquered the country, what they found was a very advanced, wealthy region. Up to our days, Bolivia is of all the Andean countries, the one who is closer to the indigenous origin and still maintains many of its traditions.

For these reasons, there are many things very much alike with the other countries that were part of the Incas Empire, like main foods,   and same way of preparing them.
Potatoes, which were a very important part of their diet, previous to the Inca’s Empire, still are a very important part of their diet in our days, where over 200 different kinds of them are cultivated.  So is corn, which makes a very common ingredient both in old days and also in our days in any Bolivian meal.

Quinoa, which was in the Incas time called The Mother Grain, is still cultivated in Bolivia and a very common ingredient in any meal also.  It is considered of great importance, as this grain contains important proteins and fibers and is in increasingly demand in the whole world today.  But as this grain grows only over certain altitude, few countries can grow it themselves.

Because Bolivia has many geographical zones, with different cultural backgrounds and very different climates, the Bolivian cuisine differs from one region to the other.  But what is very similar in them all is the abundance of meats, potatoes and corn.  And the addition of many different herbs and thus each region has its own special taste!

A very interesting fact about Bolivia, is that one can’t miss shopping in the street markets in La Paz..  There you can find the witches’ markets and there besides finding Bolivian food, you can find the strangest objects.  Small figures of embracing couples, proven to help you get a good marriage, dried llama fetus will for sure give you good luck in your business or protect your home!  Bolivia is a country of wonders!




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