Sucre, also known historically as Charcas, La Plata and Chuquisaca (population 247,300 in 2006) is the constitutional capital of Bolivia, the capital of the department of Chuquisaca and the 4th most populated city in Bolivia. Located in the south-central part of the country, Sucre lies at an elevation of 2750m (9,000 ft). This relatively high altitude gives the city a cool temperate climate year-round.
Sucre was founded under the name Ciudad de la Plata de la Nueva Toledo ( Silver City of New Toledo) by Pedro Anzures, Marqués de Campo Redondo. In 1559, the Spanish King Philip II established the Audiencia de Charcas in La Plata with authority over an area which covers what is now Paraguay, southeastern Peru, Northern Chile and Argentina, and much of Bolivia.
The Audiencia de Charcas was a subdivision of the Viceroyalty of Peru until 1776, when it was transferred to the newly created Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. In 1601, the Recoleta Monastery was founded by the Franciscans and in 1609, an archbishopric was founded in the city. In 1624, St Francis Xavier University of Chuquisaca was founded.
Sucre, after the economic decline of Potosí and its silver industry, saw the Bolivian seat of government move to La Paz in 1898. Many argue Sucre was the epicentre that initiated the independence movement against Spain in all of Latin America. The first "Grito Libertario" (Shout for Freedom) in any Western Hemisphere Spanish colony is said to have taken place in Sucre in 1809. Ironically, Bolivia was the last territory to gain its independence in 1825. In 1991, Sucre became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The City of Four Names
- Charcas was the indigenous name for the place upon which the Spaniards built the colonial city.
- La Plata was the name given to the emerging Hispanic city of privilege and honor.
- The name Chuquisaca was bestowed upon the city during the independence era.
- Sucre honors the great marshal of the Battle of Ayacucho (December 9, 1824), Don Antonio José de Sucre.
The city of Sucre contains many old and classic buildings:
The House of Freedom
Built in 1621, it is perhaps the most important building of the nation. The republic was founded in this building by Simón Bolívar who wrote the Bolivian Constitution.
The "Salón de la Independencia" houses the Bolivian Declaration of Independence.
Built on the same year of the foundation of the Republic, it is the first and the most important historical, bibliographical and documentation center of the country. The National Library has documents that date from 15th century.
Built between 1559 to 1712, the cathedral has the "Museo Catedraliceo" which is the first and most important religious museum of the country. The "Pinacoteca" has a vast collection of paintings by Colonial and Republican masters and also by Europeans such as Bitti, Fourchaudt and Van Dyck. The Cathedral contains a vast amount of jewelry made of gold, silver and gemstones.
Churches and Convents
- San Felipe Nery
- San Francisco
- La Recoleta
- Santa Teresa
- Santa Clara
- Santo Domingo
- San Lazaro (The oldest church in the country and Ex-Cathedral of Sucre)
- San Sebastian
- Iglesia de la Merced
- San Agustín
- Santa Mónica
- Santa Barbara
- San Miguel
- Loreto's Chapel
- Virgen de Guadalupe