1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cochabamba (department)

COCHABAMBA, a central department of Bolivia, occupying the eastern angle of the great Bolivian plateau, bounded N. by the department of El Beni, E. by Santa Cruz, S. by Chuquisaca and Potosi, and W. by Potosi, Oruro and La Paz. Area, 23,328 sq. m.; pop. (1900) 328,163. Its average elevation is between 8000 and 10,000 ft., and its mean temperature ranges from 50° to 60° F., making it one of the best climatic regions in South America. The rainfall is moderate and the seasons are not strongly marked, the difference being indicated by rainfall rather than by temperature. The rainy season is from November to February. Cochabamba is essentially an agricultural department, although its mineral resources are good and include deposits of gold, silver and copper. Its temperate climate favours the production of wheat, Indian corn, barley and potatoes, and most of the fruits and vegetables of the temperate zone. Coca, cacáo, tobacco and most of the fruits and vegetables of the tropics are also produced. Its forest products include rubber and cinchona. Lack of transportation facilities, however, have been an insuperable obstacle to the development of any industry beyond local needs except those of cinchona and rubber. Sheep and cattle thrive in this region, and an experiment with silkworms gave highly successful results. The population is chiefly of the Indian and mestizo types, education is in a backward state, and there are no manufactures other than those of the domestic stage, the natives making many articles of wearing apparel and daily use in their own homes. Rough highways and mule-paths are the only means of communication, but a projected railway from Cochabamba (city) to Oruro, 132 m., promises to bring this isolated region into touch with the commercial world. The department is divided into nine provinces, but there is no effective local government outside the municipalities. The capital is Cochabamba; other important towns are Punata, Tarata, Totora, Mizque and Sacába.