I. A W. Department Of Bolivia, bordering on Peru; area, 43,051 sq. m.; pop. in 1865, 519,465, about nine tenths of whom were Aymaras. The face of the country is extremely diversified, comprising some of the loftiest mountains (Illimani, Sorata, etc.) and deepest valleys on the American continent; while from the first descend most of the streams which unite to form the Rio Beni, one of the principal affluents of the Amazon. The soil is extremely fertile, and the vegetation varied and luxuriant. Fine timber and cabinet woods abound. Maize, wheat, and the other cereals are plentifully produced in almost all parts. Cotton, indigo, the sugar cane, tobacco, cacao, coffee, ginger, and pimento, with the several tropical fruits, are the chief productions of the valleys; while in the more elevated regions potatoes, chuno (a species of potato brought to market frozen and dried), quinoa (often used as a substitute for the two last), and the various fruits and many of the vegetables of the temperate zone are very plentiful. The coca plant is everywhere cultivated, and is the object of an extensive commerce. Cattle, horses, mules, sheep, and hogs are raised in prodigious numbers; vicunas, alpacas, llamas, and guanacos are extremely abundant, as are also jaguars, pumas, foxes, vizcachas, and monkeys.
The vampire is common and destructive of cattle. Gold and silver are found in several places; but the chief mineral wealth of La Paz is derived from the copper mines of Corocoro. The celebrated Lake Titicaca is partly situated on the W. border of the department, a large portion of which is watered by the Rio Desaguadero, carrying the waters of this lake to that of Au-llagas in Oruro. The department is also remarkable for the ancient ruins of Tiaguanaco, near the village of that name on the borders of Titicaca, and attesting the high civilization of a people anterior to the incas (probably the Aymaras). H La Paz de Ayacucho, a city, capital of the department, in lat. 16° 30' S., lon. 68° 30' W., about 300 m. N. N. W. of Sucre; pop. in 1865, 83,092, nine tenths Aymaras. It is about 13,000 ft. above the sea level, built in amphitheatre in a deep valley formed by the Chuquiapo, a torrent which descends from the neighboring peak of Illimani, rising 8,000 ft. higher, and is here crossed by nine handsome bridges. The streets are not very regular, but the houses are substantially constructed, the lower part frequently of stone, and have a neat and agreeable appearance.
The cathedral, fronting the principal square, is a beautiful edifice, tastefully decorated outside with bas-si rilievi, and possessing a magnificent image of the Virgin of the Pilar of Saragossa, the gift of Charles V. Of the 14 other churches, some have much architectural beauty. There is a monastery, the university of San Andres, a school of medicine, and a number of other schools public and private, besides the college of law, sciences, and arts, and a seminary. The alameda is a delightful resort for promenading; and the cemetery or panteon is surpassed in beauty by very few in South America. La Paz is the chief commercial emporium of the republic, owing to its situation almost due E. of the Peruvian port of Arica, which is in reality the most convenient for Bolivia. There is no industry of importance, and the principal trade consists in the traffic in coca leaves, and the export of copper extracted from the extensive mines of Corocoro in the vicinity. A curious commodity daily received in the markets is taquia, the dried excrements of the llama and its congeners, constituting the chief fuel used in the country. - The city was founded in 1548 by Alonzo de Mendoza, who named it Nuestra Seilora de la Paz. In 1605 it was raised to a bishopric; and in 1825 it received its present appellation of La Paz de Ayacucho, in memory of the battle fought in the plain of the last name, decisive of Bolivian independence.
La Paz, a seaport of Mexico, capital of the territory of Lower California, on a bay of the same name, on the W. shore of the gulf of California, 240 m. N. W. of Mazatlan; lat. 24° 15' N, lon. 110° 12' W.; pop. about 500. Many of the houses show in their tasteful construction that the town was once the abode of luxury. The port is well sheltered, and easily defensible against attack from the sea. But the shipping is now almost insignificant; and the pearl fisheries, once very extensive and productive, have lost much of their importance. The climate is hot and insalubrious, and the surrounding country is for the most part barren; yet there are numerous ranchos at some distance in the interior, exporting fruits and animal products.