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Prior to European colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was a part of the Inca Empire – the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The conquistadors took control of the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was known as Upper Peru and was under the administration of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included most of Spain's South American colonies, although the area enjoyed substantial autonomy under the jurisdiction of the Royal Court of Charcas. After declaring independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar, on August 6, 1825. This image shows a llama in the Laguna Colorada, a shallow salt lake in the southwestern Bolivian sector of the Altiplano. Image courtesy of Phillie Casablanca.
The awayo is a strong and colorful textile typical of Andean culture. It is traditional for the indigenious people to carry their babies on their backs secured by an awayo. The colors of the awayo and the type of designs express different the histories and customs of different regions and communities. The material, symbols, colors and weaving techniques are traditions passed down from generation to generation within communities. As a representative of its culture, the awayo represents movement, pace of life, proximity, support, food and shelter, roots, dignity and affection.
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