Deeper into Jeopardy! XXXV: South American Capitals – $1600

Jeopardy! category: SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITALS (8-1-2015)

$1600 clue: Sucre is Bolivia’s judicial capital; this city, the legislative capital

Correct response

The gist: Yeah, so, when you’re done learning all 196 national capitals… there are 15 countries that have more than one. La Paz, Bolivia, is that countries legislative capital, where the country’s government buildings are located. Sucre, sadly, proved too remote and cut off from the centres of the country’s economy to be a very effective capital – today it just houses the country’s Supreme Court. La Paz became the legislative capital at the end of the 20th century, as the Cerro Rico silver mines, which provided much of the wealth for the elite living in Sucre, declined. The shift in Bolivia’s economy caused La Paz to become the de facto capital of the country in 1898. Virtually all of the country’s government offices and powers, excepting the Supreme Court, now reside in La Paz, which is also has more than twice the population of Sucre (although it’s still only the country’s third largest city – Santa Cruz, the largest, has about twice as many as La Paz).

La Paz is located in the Altiplano, a wide, relatively flat plateau located within the Andes Mountains and stretching from Peru through Bolivia and into northern Chile and Argentina. Cuzco, the fantastic capital of the Inkan empire, also shares the Altiplano. With this clue, we finally get to the continent’s (and the world’s) highest capital; La Paz seats loftily at 3650 metres (almost 12000 feet), more than about 800 metres higher than the runner-up, Quito. It was founded in 1548, once again on the remains of a native settlement, and named for the peace (in Spanish, “la paz;” the city’s full name is “Nuestra Señora de La Paz”) struck between the conqueror of the Inka, conquistador Gonzalo Pizarro, and Blasco Núñez Vela, the first viceroy of Peru – the former had revolted against the latter, forcing the viceroy to step down. Due to its extreme altitude, it has very cool temperatures – the average temperature during the warm months is around ten degrees Celsius, or 50 Fahrenheit, comparable to cities in Scandinavia despite its low latitude of 16 degrees. It’s a cultural centre of Bolivia, with many festivals held year-round as well as many museums and other attractions… but if you’re looking to escape the winter, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.

The Government Palace of Bolivia, in La Paz

The clue: I think this clue’s asking for the easier of the two cities. When I learned the world capitals, at least, I learned La Paz first, it being the effective modern capital, although Sucre is the capital constitutionally. So really, for most people, this clue is just asking “what’s the capital of Bolivia?” Which I guess is a relatively obscure country, sort of… so fine for a $1600 clue. And it takes the opportunity to teach the audience a little about how some other countries have their governments set up, which is nice.

In Jeopardy!: Sigh, another tough thing to search in the J!Archive. But as far as clues with “La Paz” and “Bolivia” in them, there are twenty clues in that show up for those search terms. The ones that give La Paz and look for Bolivia aren’t very interesting. 14 of the clues mention Sucre, too, usually just to contrast it with La Paz. There are also nine clues that refer to its being the world’s highest capital. So Bolivia, Sucre, and its height – that’s what you need to know for La Paz.


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