Bolivia was part of the Incan Empire from the 13 th century until the Spanish conquered it in the 1500's. The Spanish discovered large amounts of silver which in the area, and that became the primary focus of the colony. Simon Bolivar liberated Bolivia in 1825, being the last Spanish possession in South America to achieve independence. . Bolivia was on the losing side of a number of wars over the years with its neighbors; each war resulted in Bolivia losing territory to its neighbors. From 1962 until 1984 Bolivia was ruled by the military.