A Brief History of Bolivia by Waltraud Q. Morales

By Waltraud Q. Morales

Compliment for the former version: ...the author's devotion to Bolivia and trouble for its destiny shines through...Recommended.--Choice

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But the silver revival would have been impossible without a large and steady labor supply. To this end, the Spanish colonial viceroy Francisco de Toledo reintroduced a draft Indian labor system adapted from the Incan mita system, thereby ensuring practically free unskilled labor to the mine and mill owners. Other changes included a new mining code, a rationalized taxation structure, royal control of silver production, and a royal mint in Potosí. According to historians Herbert S. Klein and Jeffrey Cole, these developments dramatically reordered the mining economy and the social and economic life of the Indians.

The people of the altiplano had to rely on crops grown in the distant fertile valleys and in farm districts closer to the Pacific coast. When the Aymara kingdoms colonized or conquered regions that could supply food and other necessities to the population of the altiplano, they also transplanted their dual system of political and socioeconomic organization. This immediately created parallel functional structures in both the agricultural colony and the altiplano homeland. The system cut across differing ecological regions and climatic zones and allowed the Aymara to exploit the agricultural hinterland.

C. C. D. 100 and by 600, a powerful Tiwanakan empire had developed that came to dominate the Bolivian altiplano and to control the coastal settlements of the Nazca and Paracas peoples in what is modern-day Peru. The Tiwanakans may be thought of as the ancestors of the modern-day Aymara Indians of the Bolivian and Peruvian highlands who still live near Lake Titicaca and in the neighboring lowland valleys. Researchers believe that the Tiwanakan Empire preceded and even rivaled the more familiar empire of the Inca in many respects.

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