Pando Department

Pando is a department in the North of Bolivia, with an area of 63,827 square kilometres (24,644 sq mi), in the Amazon Rainforest, adjoining the border with Brazil and Perú. Pando has a population 154,355 (2020 census).[2] Its capital is the city of Cobija.

Pando Department
Departamento de Pando
Meeting of Waters, Manuripi and Madre de Dios Rivers, Near Sena, Bolivia
Meeting of Waters, Manuripi and Madre de Dios Rivers, Near Sena, Bolivia
Flag of the Pando Department

"Trabajo Industria Progreso"
"Work, Industry, Progress"
Tierra santa, vestida de gloria
Holy land, dressed in glory
Map indicating the Pando Department within Bolivia
Pando Department (red) within Bolivia.
EstablishedSeptember 24, 1938
Named forJosé Manuel Pando
 • GovernorRegis Germán Richter
 • Senators4 of 36
 • Deputies5 of 130
 • Total63,827 km2 (24,644 sq mi)
 • Rank5th in Bolivia
 5.82% of Bolivia
 (2020 estimate)
 • Total154,400
 • Density2.4/km2 (6.3/sq mi)
 • % of Bolivia
 • Rank
9th in Bolivia
Time zoneUTC-4 (BOT)
Area code+(591) 3
ISO 3166 codeBO-N
Official languageSpanish
HDI (2019)0.743[1]
high · 2nd of 9
a. Also largest city.

The department, which is named after former president José Manuel Pando (1899–1905), is divided into five provinces.

Although Pando is rich in natural resources, the poverty level of its inhabitants is high, due largely to the lack of roads effectively linking the province to the rest of the country. In addition, residents suffer from debilitating effects of tropical diseases, typical of life in the Amazonian rain forest. The main economic activities are agriculture, timber and cattle.

At an altitude of 280 metres above sea level in the northwestern jungle region, Pando is located in the rainiest part of Bolivia. Pando has a hot climate, with temperatures commonly above 26 degrees Celsius (80 Fahrenheit).

Pando is the least populous department in Bolivia, the most tropical (lying closest to the Equator in the Amazonian Basin), and the most isolated, due to an absence of effective roads. It was organized at the beginning of the 20th century from what was left of the Acre Territory, lost to Brazil as a result of the so-called Acre War (1903). Its capital city of Cobija (the smallest of all the Bolivian departmental capitals) was named after the much-lamented Bolivian port of the same name on the Pacific Ocean, part of an area lost to Chile following the War of the Pacific.

Although remote, Pando is densely forested and close to navigable waterways leading to the Amazon River and from there on to the Atlantic Ocean. The department had a rubber boom in the late 19th century and early 20th century, along with the northern part of nearby Beni department. The local industry collapsed under competition with rubber cultivated in Southeast Asia, as well as the discovery and manufacture of synthetic rubber.

Culturally, the Pandinos are considered part of the so-called Camba culture of the Bolivian lowlands, similar to the people of the country's other two tropical departments, Beni and Santa Cruz. Many of Pando's original settlers moved from nearby Beni.

Autonomy movementEdit

Far from the centers of power in Bolivian society, Pando has recently linked its fate with that of Santa Cruz and Beni, which (along with Tarija and Chuquisaca) are demanding increased autonomy for the departments, with a lessening in central government power. Prefect Leopoldo Fernández strongly backed autonomy for the department, in alliance with other governors of the eastern media luna (half-moon, so known for their combined geographic shape). Nationwide referenda on autonomy held on July 2, 2006, were approved in all four departments. A second referendum to approve a statute of autonomy was held by each department in mid-2008, despite being declared illegal by the National Electoral Court in March. Left-wing and pro-Morales social movements boycotted the votes.[3]

Pando's referendum, held on June 1, 2008, won 82% approval among those who voted. But 46.5% of the registered electorate did not vote, the highest abstention rate in the four departments holding such referenda.[4] Considerable social unrest took place in 2008, culminating with the spectacular arrest in September 2008 of Prefect Leopoldo Fernández, stemming from the massacre at El Porvenir of anti-autonomy backers of President Evo Morales.[5]

Provinces of PandoEdit


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1976 34,493—    
1992 38,072+0.62%
2001 52,525+3.64%
2012 110,436+6.99%
2020 154,400+4.28%
Source: Citypopulation[6]


The predominant language in the department is Spanish. The following table shows the number of those belonging to the recognized group of speakers.[7]

Language Pando Bolivia
Quechua 1,708 2,281,198
Aymara 1,848 1,525,321
Guaraní 35 62,575
Another native 861 49,432
Spanish 45,969 6,821,626
Foreign 7,719 250,754
Only native 336 960,491
Native and Spanish 3,676 2,739,407
Spanish and foreign 44,491 4,115,751

Places of interestEdit



  1. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  2. ^ "Pando (Department, Bolivia) - Population Statistics, Charts, Map and Location". Retrieved 2022-05-04.
  3. ^ "Illegal autonomy referendum deepens division in Bolivia". Andean Information Network. April 17, 2008.
  4. ^ "Two more Bolivian provinces favour more autonomy" Archived 2008-06-05 at the Wayback Machine, Monsters & Critics, 2 June 2008.
  5. ^ Chavez, Franz (2008-09-16). "Governor Arrested for "Porvenir Massacre"". Inter Press Service. Archived from the original on 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  6. ^ "Bolivia: Provinces".
  7. ^[permanent dead link] (Spanish)
  8. ^ "Chive Destination Guide (Pando, Bolivia) - Trip-Suggest".

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 11°11′S 67°11′W / 11.183°S 67.183°W / -11.183; -67.183