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Fast Facts: Bolivia

Some facts about Bolivia, which held national elections Sunday:

Land and People: Landlocked country of 8.5 million people in heart of South America. Two-thirds is tropical lowland, one-third Andean highlands. Aymara and Quechua Indians make up majority, followed by people of mixed Spanish and Indian descent and smaller Indian groups such as Guarani.

History: Inca Empire conquered area around A.D. 1200 and remained in control until arrival of Spaniards. Bolivia was major supplier of silver to Spain before gaining independence in 1825. A 1952 revolution nationalized mines, made agrarian reforms, enacted universal suffrage. String of military coups began in 1964, but Bolivia returned to democratic rule in 1982. Indian-led protests brought down President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in 2003 and his successor, Carlos Mesa, last June.

Economy: Recent governments imposed tough measures that stabilized inflation but failed to lift most people from poverty. Bolivia is South America's poorest country, with per capita gross domestic product of $950. Legal exports include natural gas, minerals, soybeans, cotton. Significant black market earnings come from cocaine. Bolivia is third-largest producer of coca leaf, cocaine's raw material. Government eradicating coca fields in cooperation with United States.

The Ballot: Winner of presidential election begins five-year term Jan. 22. Voters also chose vice president, 27 senators, 130 congressmen and nine governors.