1) Which of the following countries gained independence before 1850, boasts the highest (de facto) capital in the world at 11,975 ft above sea level and has an incredible biodiversity, including more than 4,000 types of potatoes?
Correct Answer: Bolivia.
The "Tibet" of South America, Bolivia is traversed by three massive Andean ranges, which include four of the world's highest eternally snow-topped mountains, towering to heights up to 6,550 meters (Sajama). Although the country is landlocked, it has Lake Titicaca, lying half in Bolivia and half in Peru, the world's second largest inland sea and highest navigable lake (3,810 meters above sea level), as well as one of the deepest (370 meters).
The central range, or Cordillera Real, forms a magnificent snowcapped backdrop for La Paz, which is the seat of government. No other major city in the world can boast of a higher, more immense mountain overlooking it than La Paz's Illimani (6,322 meters). Although La Paz is centered at the bottom of a deep, bowl-shaped canyon (protected from the chilly Altiplano winds), the city is 3,557 meters high, whereas rival Santa Cruz, the fastest-growing large city in the eastern lowlands and Bolivia's second-largest city, is only 416 meters in elevation.
(source: Library of Congress Country Studies - Bolivia: Introduction)
La Paz is the seat of government while Sucre is the constitutional capital.