Brits in Bolivia – bits and pieces

Former British diplomat, Alan Shave – living in La Paz since his retirement in 1996 – was challenged, over a glass of cognac, to write a history of the British in Bolivia. His investigations have now produced some 40 chapters in draft – and he’s still researching everything British in his adoptive country from bilateral relations to spies, mining and railway development, alleged British ‘interests’ in the Pacific and Chaco Wars, and even the story of ‘Big Ben’, the wandering clock tower of La Paz, and the city’s ‘British’ Cemetery. ‘Bits and pieces’, he says, which may someday become a readable history of the British in Bolivia. You can enjoy his talk by watching this video.

Alan W Shave, CVO, OBE

  • Born East London, 1936
  • Journalist (three newspapers before joining Central Office of Information, Latin American Section. General/feature writing and twice a gossip columnist)
  • National Service Royal Air Force (volunteered for hazardous missions…and sent to NATO HQ in Paris for 15 months flying a typewriter)
  • Commonwealth Relations Office/Diplomatic Service, 35 years – in following order: Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Spain, Italy, Bolivia, Anguilla. (Bolivia 1966-1970 and 1988- 1992, the latter posting as Deputy Head of Mission.)
  • Ended career as Governor of Anguilla: the last Governor of Anguilla to wear a uniform, invade another European territory, and lose one of Her Majesty’s islands!
  • In retirement Alan Shave represented British, Dutch, and 14 European senior volunteer programmes helping Bolivian development initiatives.