Juan Ondarza Lara (May 17, 1827 - January 7, 1875) was a Bolivian soldier, engineer, and geographer. He was born in Sucre, Bolivia, on May 17, 1827. Ondarza joined the Bolivian Army at 13 years and, after being decorated in the Battle of Ingava, joined the Army Topographical Bureau (Topografica del Ejercito) and was educated under the tutelage of French immigrant Felipe Bertres. Bertres issued a map of Bolivia in 1843, but this was found to be rife with error. Ondarza, along with assistants Juan Mariano Mujia and to a lesser extent Lucio Camacho, were commissioned to complete a thorough survey of the country. They invested 14 years in the project: 11 years traveling throughout Bolivia taking astronomical observations, and 3 years compiling the relevant information. Ondarza, along with Juan Mariano Mujia, then traveled to the United States and Europe searching for a publisher for his great map. While in the United States Ondarza joined the National Academy of Sciences, in England, the Royal Geographical Society, and in France, the Paris Geographical Society. His map was finally published in 1959 by the American cartographic publisher J. H. Colton. Ondarza subsequently returned to Bolivia where he fell afoul of the new corrupt government of Mariano Melgarejo and forced into exile. He returned to Bolivia in 1872 during the subsequent administration of Tomas Frias Ametller. Afterwards he explored Lake Titicaca before dying in La Paz on January 7, 1875. His brother, Abdon Ondarza is also famous for founding the coastal city of Antofagasta (then Bolivia, now Chile).

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