Posted on March 23, 2019
When you hear that a nation celebrates "Day of the Sea," I bet you picture people going to the beach or the rocky seashore for activities based around the ocean.
|"Mar Para Bolivia" means|
"Sea / ocean for Bolivia."
But...Bolivia doesn't have contact with any sea or ocean! It's landlocked. No beaches, no coast, no seashores.
So why does this nation celebrate a Day of the Sea?
Well...BECAUSE it's landlocked!
You see, Bolivia used to have access to the Pacific Ocean, but it lost its coast and became landlocked as a result of the 1879-1883 War of the Pacific with Chile. Every year it celebrates a Week of the Sea, during which officials again state their claims for ocean access. Semana del Mar ends on March 23 with a special ceremony dedicated to Eduardo Abaroa, Bolivia's hero in the war. (That's a statue of Abaroa in the photo at the top of the page.)
|Before, above: Chile, in dark green, eventually took over the narrow coastal|
strip belonging to Peru (orange) as well as the bit of ocean access belonging
to Bolivia (yellow).
After, below: In 1883, the familiar borders we see today were adopted.
What does Bolivia restating its claims to oceanfront property look like?
By the way, the chunk of coast that Bolivia lost was part of the famous Atacama Desert. I should say "famous and gorgeous" - just check it out!