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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 Inkarri (or Inkari) story is one of the most famous legends of the Inca. When the Spanish conquistadores executed the last ruler of the Inca, Atahualpa, he vowed he would come return to avenge his death. According to the legend, the Spaniards buried his body parts in several places around the kingdom: His head is said to rest under the Presidential Palace in Lima, while his arms are said to be under the Waqaypata (Square of Tears) in Cuzco and his legs in Ayacucho. Buried under the earth, he will regenerate until one day, when he will rise, take back his kingdom and restore harmony in the relationship between Pachamama (the earth) and her sons. The Qero weave many versions of the regenerating form of Inkarri into their mestanas.
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