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Colombia ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia (), is a country in
South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It can also be described as a southern subcontinent of the Americas. The ref ...
with
territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the jurisdiction of a sovereign state. In most countries, a ''territory'' is an organized division of an area that is controlled by a country but is not formally developed ...
in
North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to ...

North America
. Colombia is bounded on the north by the
Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lamè Karayib; jam, Kiaribiyan Sii; nl, Caraïbische Zee; pap, Laman Karibe) is an American mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean in the tropics of the Western Hemisphere. It is b ...
, the northwest by
Panama Panama ( , ; es, link=no, Panamá ), officially the Republic of Panama ( es, República de Panamá), is a transcontinental country in Central America and South America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribb ...
, the south by
Ecuador Ecuador ( ; ; Quechua: ''Ikwayur''; Shuar: ''Ecuador'' or ''Ekuatur''), officially the Republic of Ecuador ( es, República del Ecuador, which literally translates as "Republic of the Equator"; Quechua: ''Ikwadur Ripuwlika''; Shuar: ''Ekuatur ...

Ecuador
and
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = National seal , national_motto ...
, the east by
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the Ca ...
, the southeast by
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 millio ...
, and the west by the
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents of Asia ...

Pacific Ocean
. It comprises 32
departments Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and administrative division within a country, for e ...
and the Capital District of
Bogotá Bogotá (, also , , ), officially Bogotá, Distrito Capital, abbreviated Bogotá, D.C., and formerly known as Santa Fe de Bogotá during the Spanish period and between 1991 and 2000, is the capital and largest city of Colombia, administered as ...

Bogotá
, the country's largest city. With over 50 million inhabitants Colombia is one of the most
ethnically An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, ...
and linguistically diverse countries in the world, with its rich
cultural heritage Cultural heritage is the legacy of cultural resources and intangible attributes of a group or society that is inherited from past generations. Not all legacies of past generations are "heritage", rather heritage is a product of selection by socie ...
reflecting influences by various Amerindian civilisations, European settlement, forced African labour, and immigration from Europe and the Middle East. Urban centres are concentrated in the Andean highlands and the Caribbean coast. Colombia has been inhabited by various
indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The term ''indigenous'' was first, in its modern contex ...
since at least 12,000 BCE, including the
Muisca The Muisca (also called Chibcha) are an indigenous people and culture of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Colombia, that formed the Muisca Confederation before the Spanish conquest. The people spoke Muysccubun, a language of the Chibchan languag ...
,
Quimbaya The Quimbaya civilization (/kɪmbaɪa/) was a Pre-Columbian culture of Colombia, noted for their gold work characterized by technical accuracy and detailed designs. The majority of the gold work is made in ''tumbaga'' alloy, with 30% copper, whic ...
, and the
Tairona Tairona (or Tayrona) was a Pre-Columbian culture of Colombia, which consisted in a group of chiefdoms in the region of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in present-day Cesar, Magdalena and La Guajira Departments of Colombia, South America, which goes ...
. The Spanish landed first in La Guajira in 1499 and by the mid-16th century colonized parts of the region, establishing the
New Kingdom of Granada The New Kingdom of Granada ( es, Nuevo Reino de Granada), or Kingdom of the New Granada, was the name given to a group of 16th-century Spanish colonial provinces in northern South America governed by the president of the Audiencia of Santa Fe, an ...
, with
Santafé de Bogotá Santa Fe (Spanish; 'holy faith') or Santa Fé (Portuguese; 'holy faith') may refer to: Places Argentina *Santa Fe, Argentina **Santa Fe Province Bolivia *Santa Fe de Yapacaní *Santa Fe (Oruro) Brazil *Bonito de Santa Fé *Santa Fé de Goiás *S ...

Santafé de Bogotá
as its capital.
Independence upright=1.0, Pedro surrounded by a crowd in Brazil's independence on September 7, 1822">Independence of Brazil">Brazil's independence on September 7, 1822. Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or state in which its residen ...
from the
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, Imperio Español; la, Imperium Hispanicum), historically known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, Monarquía Hispánica) and as the Catholic Monarchy ( es, Monarquía Católica), was a colonial empire governed by Spain that exi ...
was achieved in 1810, with what is now Colombia emerging as the
United Provinces of New Granada The United Provinces of New Granada was a country in South America from 1811 to 1816, a period known in Colombian history as ''la Patria Boba'' ("the Foolish Fatherland"). It was formed from areas of the New Kingdom of Granada, roughly correspon ...
. The new nation experimented with federalism as the
Granadine Confederation) , religion = Roman Catholic , currency = Peso , today= The Granadine Confederation ( es, Confederación Granadina) was a short-lived federal republic established in 1858 as a result of a constitutional change replacing the Republic ...
(1858), and then the
United States of Colombia The United States of Colombia () was the name adopted in 1863http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsAmericas/SouthColombia.htm Retrieved 29 December 2010. by the Rionegro Constitution for the Granadine Confederation, after years of civil war. C ...
(1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. Panama seceded in 1903, leading to Colombia's present borders. Beginning in the 1960s, the country suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity
armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between states, governments, societies, or paramilitary groups such as mercenaries, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using ...
and political violence, both of which escalated in the 1990s. Since 2005, there has been significant improvement in security, stability, and rule of law, as well as unprecedented economic growth and development. Colombia is one of the world's 17
megadiverse countries The term megadiverse country refers to any one of a group of nations that harbor the majority of Earth's species and high numbers of endemic species. Conservation International identified 17 megadiverse countries in 1998. Many of them are located ...

megadiverse countries
and has the second-highest level of
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and variability of life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near the equator, which is the result of th ...
in the world. Its territory encompasses
Amazon rainforest The Amazon rainforest, alternatively, the Amazon jungle or ; es, Selva amazónica, , or usually ; french: Forêt amazonienne; nl, Amazoneregenwoud. In English, the names are sometimes capitalized further, as Amazon Rainforest, Amazon Forest, o ...
,
highlands Highlands or uplands are any mountainous region or elevated mountainous plateau. Generally speaking, upland (or uplands) refers to ranges of hills, typically up to . Highland (or highlands) is usually reserved for ranges of low mountains. Highland ...
,
grasslands Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses (Poaceae). However, sedge (Cyperaceae) and rush (Juncaceae) can also be found along with variable proportions of legumes, like clover, and other herbs. Grasslands occur naturally ...
, and
deserts upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates A desert is a barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and, consequently, living conditions are hostile for ...
, and it is the only country in South America with coastlines and islands along both the
Atlantic#REDIRECT Atlantic Ocean#REDIRECT Atlantic Ocean#REDIRECT Atlantic Ocean {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ... {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from ot ...
and
Pacific The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents of Asia ...
. Colombia is considered a regional actor in international affairs, being a member of major global and regional organisations including the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of ...
, the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations. It officially commenced operations on 1 January 1995, pursuant to the 1994 Marrakesh Agreement, thus rep ...
, the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 37 member countries, founded in 1961 to sti ...
(OECD), the
Organization of American States The Organization of American States ( es, Organización de los Estados Americanos, pt, Organização dos Estados Americanos, french: Organisation des États américains, nl, Organisatie van Amerikaanse Staten), or the OAS or OEA, is an internationa ...
, the
Pacific Alliance The Pacific Alliance ( es, link=no, Alianza del Pacífico) is a Latin American trade bloc, formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, which all border the Pacific Ocean. These countries have come together to form an area of integration with the p ...

Pacific Alliance
, the
Andean Community The Andean Community ( es, Comunidad Andina, CAN) is a free trade area with the objective of creating a customs union comprising the South American countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. The trade bloc was called the Andean Pact unti ...

Andean Community
, and a
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries. The ...
Global Partner. Colombia's diversified economy is the third largest in South America, with macroeconomic stability and favorable long-term growth prospects.


Etymology

The name "Colombia" is derived from the last name of the Italian navigator
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or Cristòfol) Colom * la, Christophorus Columbus (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an I ...

Christopher Columbus
( it, Cristoforo Colombo, es, link=no, Cristóbal Colón). It was conceived as a reference to all of the New World. The name was later adopted by the
Republic of Colombia Colombia ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia (), is a country in South America with territories in North America. Colombia is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, the northwest by Panama, the south by Ecuador and Peru, the east ...
of 1819, formed from the territories of the old
Viceroyalty of New Granada The Viceroyalty of New Granada ( es, Virreinato de Nueva Granada, links=no ) was the name given on 27 May 1717, to the jurisdiction of the Spanish Empire in northern South America, corresponding to modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela. Cre ...
(modern-day Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, and northwest Brazil). When Venezuela, Ecuador, and Cundinamarca came to exist as independent states, the former Department of Cundinamarca adopted the name "
Republic of New Granada ) , religion = Roman Catholic , currency = Peso , footnotes = 1 Abolition of slavery, and suffrage to all males over 21. , demonym = New Granadian , area_km2 = , area_rank ...
". New Granada officially changed its name in 1858 to the
Granadine Confederation) , religion = Roman Catholic , currency = Peso , today= The Granadine Confederation ( es, Confederación Granadina) was a short-lived federal republic established in 1858 as a result of a constitutional change replacing the Republic ...
. In 1863 the name was again changed, this time to
United States of Colombia The United States of Colombia () was the name adopted in 1863http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsAmericas/SouthColombia.htm Retrieved 29 December 2010. by the Rionegro Constitution for the Granadine Confederation, after years of civil war. C ...
, before finally adopting its present name – the Republic of Colombia – in 1886. To refer to this country, the Colombian government uses the terms and .


History


Pre-Columbian era

Owing to its location, the present territory of Colombia was a corridor of early human civilization from
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America. It extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica. Within this region pre-Columbian societies f ...
and the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some of w ...
to the
Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America. The range is long, wide (widest between ...
and
Amazon basin The Amazon Basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries. The Amazon drainage basin covers an area of about , or about 35.5 percent of the South American continent. It is located in the countries of Boliv ...
. The oldest archaeological finds are from the Pubenza and El Totumo sites in the Magdalena Valley southwest of Bogotá. These sites date from the
Paleoindian Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleo-Americans, were the first peoples who entered, and subsequently inhabited, the Americas during the final glacial episodes of the late Pleistocene period. The prefix "paleo-" comes from the Greek adjective ''pa ...
period (18,000–8000 BCE). At Puerto Hormiga and other sites, traces from the Archaic Period (~8000–2000 BCE) have been found. Vestiges indicate that there was also early occupation in the regions of
El Abra El Abra is the name given to an extensive archeological site, located in the valley of the same name. El Abra is situated in the east of the municipality Zipaquirá extending to the westernmost part of Tocancipá in the department of Cundinamarca, C ...
and
Tequendama Tequendama is a preceramic and ceramic archaeological site located southeast of Soacha, Cundinamarca, Colombia, a couple of kilometers east of Tequendama Falls. It consists of multiple evidences of late Pleistocene to middle Holocene population o ...
in Cundinamarca. The oldest pottery discovered in the Americas, found at San Jacinto, dates to 5000–4000 BCE. Indigenous people inhabited the territory that is now Colombia by 12,500 BCE. Nomadic
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals). Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on dome ...
tribes at the
El Abra El Abra is the name given to an extensive archeological site, located in the valley of the same name. El Abra is situated in the east of the municipality Zipaquirá extending to the westernmost part of Tocancipá in the department of Cundinamarca, C ...
,
Tibitó Tibitó is the second-oldest dated archaeological site on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Colombia.Tequendama Tequendama is a preceramic and ceramic archaeological site located southeast of Soacha, Cundinamarca, Colombia, a couple of kilometers east of Tequendama Falls. It consists of multiple evidences of late Pleistocene to middle Holocene population o ...
sites near present-day
Bogotá Bogotá (, also , , ), officially Bogotá, Distrito Capital, abbreviated Bogotá, D.C., and formerly known as Santa Fe de Bogotá during the Spanish period and between 1991 and 2000, is the capital and largest city of Colombia, administered as ...

Bogotá
traded with one another and with other cultures from the
Magdalena River The Magdalena River ( es, Río Magdalena, ; less commonly ) is the principal river of Colombia, flowing northward about through the western half of the country. It takes its name from the biblical figure Mary Magdalene. It is navigable through much ...
Valley. A site including eight miles of
pictographs A pictogram, also called a pictogramme, pictograph, or simply picto, and in computer usage an icon, is a graphic symbol that conveys its meaning through its pictorial resemblance to a physical object. Pictographs are often used in writing and gra ...
that is under study at Serranía de la Lindosa was revealed in November 2020. Their age is suggested as being 12,500 years old (c. 10,480 B.C.) by the anthropologists working on the site because of extinct fauna depicted. That would have been during the earliest known human occupation of the area now known as Colombia. Between 5000 and 1000 BCE, hunter-gatherer tribes transitioned to agrarian societies; fixed settlements were established, and pottery appeared. Beginning in the 1st millennium BCE, groups of
Amerindians The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples. Although some indigenous peoples ...
including the
Muisca The Muisca (also called Chibcha) are an indigenous people and culture of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Colombia, that formed the Muisca Confederation before the Spanish conquest. The people spoke Muysccubun, a language of the Chibchan languag ...
,
Zenú The ''Zenú'' or ''Sinú'' is a pre-Columbian culture in Colombia, whose ancestral territory comprises the valleys of the Sinú and San Jorge rivers as well as the coast of the Caribbean around the Gulf of Morrosquillo. These lands lie within the d ...
,
Quimbaya The Quimbaya civilization (/kɪmbaɪa/) was a Pre-Columbian culture of Colombia, noted for their gold work characterized by technical accuracy and detailed designs. The majority of the gold work is made in ''tumbaga'' alloy, with 30% copper, whic ...
, and
Tairona Tairona (or Tayrona) was a Pre-Columbian culture of Colombia, which consisted in a group of chiefdoms in the region of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in present-day Cesar, Magdalena and La Guajira Departments of Colombia, South America, which goes ...
developed the political system of ''
cacicazgo ''Cacicazgo'' is a phonetic Spanish transliteration (or a derivative) of the Taíno word for the lands ruled by a ''cacique''. The Spanish colonial system recognized indigenous elites as nobles in Mexico and Peru, and other areas. Nobles could ent ...
s'' with a pyramidal structure of power headed by ''caciques''. The Muisca inhabited mainly the area of what is now the
Departments Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and administrative division within a country, for e ...
of Boyacá and Cundinamarca high plateau (''
Altiplano Cundiboyacense The Altiplano Cundiboyacense is a high plateau located in the Eastern Cordillera of the Colombian Andes covering parts of the departments of Cundinamarca and Boyacá. The altiplano corresponds to the ancient territory of the Muisca. The Altiplano ...

Altiplano Cundiboyacense
'') where they formed the
Muisca Confederation The Muisca Confederation was a loose confederation of different Muisca rulers (''zaques'', ''zipas'', ''iraca'' and ''tundama'') in the central Andean highlands of present-day Colombia before the Spanish conquest of northern South America. The are ...
. They farmed maize, potato, quinoa, and cotton, and traded gold,
emeralds Emerald is a gemstone and a variety of the mineral beryl (Be3Al2(SiO3)6) colored green by trace amounts of chromium and/or sometimes vanadium.Hurlbut, Cornelius S. Jr. and Kammerling, Robert C. (1991) ''Gemology'', John Wiley & Sons, New York, ...
, blankets, ceramic handicrafts, coca and especially
rock salt Halite ( or ), commonly known as rock salt, is a type of salt, the mineral (natural) form of sodium chloride (Na Cl). Halite forms isometric crystals. The mineral is typically colorless or white, but may also be light blue, dark blue, purple, p ...
with neighboring nations. The Tairona inhabited northern Colombia in the isolated mountain range of
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an isolated mountain range in northern Colombia, separate from the Andes range that runs through the centre of the country. Reaching an altitude of just from the Caribbean coast, the Sierra Nevada is the hig ...
. The Quimbaya inhabited regions of the
Cauca River The Cauca River () is a river in Colombia that lies between the Occidental and Central cordilleras. From its headwaters in southwestern Colombia near the city of Popayán, it joins the Magdalena River near Magangué in Bolívar Department, and the ...
Valley between the
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
and
Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa continent, also known as ...
Ranges of the Colombian Andes. Most of the Amerindians practiced agriculture and the social structure of each indigenous community was different. Some groups of indigenous people such as the Caribs lived in a state of permanent war, but others had less bellicose attitudes.


European annexation

Alonso de Ojeda Alonso de Ojeda (; c. 1466 – c. 1515) was a Spanish explorer, governor and conquistador. He travelled through Guyana, Venezuela, Trinidad, Tobago, Curaçao, Aruba and Colombia. He navigated with Amerigo Vespucci who is famous for having named ...

Alonso de Ojeda
(who had sailed with Columbus) reached the
Guajira Peninsula 250px, The Guajira Peninsula (top center) to the west of the Gulf of Venezuela, south of the Caribbean Sea The Guajira Peninsula ( es, Peninsula de La Guajira, links=no, also spelled ''Goajira'', mainly in colonial period texts) is a peninsula in no ...
in 1499. Spanish explorers, led by
Rodrigo de Bastidas Rodrigo de Bastidas (; Triana, Seville, Andalusia, c. 1465 – Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, 28 July 1527) was a Spanish conquistador and explorer who mapped the northern coast of South America, discovered Panama, and founded the city of Santa Marta. Pe ...

Rodrigo de Bastidas
, made the first exploration of the Caribbean coast in 1500.
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or Cristòfol) Colom * la, Christophorus Columbus (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an I ...

Christopher Columbus
navigated near the Caribbean in 1502. In 1508,
Vasco Núñez de Balboa Vasco Núñez de Balboa (; c. 1475around January 12–21, 1519) was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an ex ...
accompanied an expedition to the territory through the region of
Gulf of Urabá The Gulf of Urabá is a gulf on the northern coast of Colombia. It is part of the Caribbean Sea. It is a long, wide inlet located on the coast of Colombia, close to the connection of the continent to the Isthmus of Panama. The town of Turbo, Col ...
and they founded the town of
Santa María la Antigua del Darién Santa María la Antigua del Darién, formerly also known as Dariena, was a Spanish colonial town founded in 1510 by Vasco Núñez de Balboa, located in present-day Colombia approximately south of Acandí, within the municipality of Unguía in the ...
in 1510, the first stable settlement on the continent.
Santa Marta Santa Marta (), officially Distrito Turístico, Cultural e Histórico de Santa Marta ("Touristic, Cultural and Historic District of Santa Marta"), is a city of half a million people, in the nation of Colombia. It is the capital of Magdalena Depar ...
was founded in 1525, and Cartagena in 1533. Spanish
conquistador is one of the most famous Portuguese conquerors, having expanded the Portuguese Empire's rule across India, the Persian Gulf, the East Indies, China, and Oceania. Conquistadors (also spelled conquistadores; , also ; ; ; from Spanish language, Sp ...
Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada Gonzalo may refer to: * Gonzalo (name) * Gonzalo, Dominican Republic, a small town * Isla Gonzalo, a subantarctic island operated by the Chilean Navy * Hurricane Gonzalo, 2014 See also * Gonzalez (disambiguation) * Gonzales (disambiguation) * ...
led an expedition to the interior in April 1536, and christened the districts through which he passed "
New Kingdom of Granada The New Kingdom of Granada ( es, Nuevo Reino de Granada), or Kingdom of the New Granada, was the name given to a group of 16th-century Spanish colonial provinces in northern South America governed by the president of the Audiencia of Santa Fe, an ...
". In August 1538, he founded provisionally its capital near the Muisca
cacicazgo ''Cacicazgo'' is a phonetic Spanish transliteration (or a derivative) of the Taíno word for the lands ruled by a ''cacique''. The Spanish colonial system recognized indigenous elites as nobles in Mexico and Peru, and other areas. Nobles could ent ...
of
Bacatá Bacatá is the name given to the main settlement of the Muisca Confederation on the Bogotá savanna. It mostly refers to an area, rather than an individual village, although the name is also found in texts referring to the modern settlement of Funz ...
, and named it "Santa Fe". The name soon acquired a suffix and was called Santa Fe de Bogotá. Two other notable journeys by early conquistadors to the interior took place in the same period.
Sebastián de Belalcázar Sebastián de Belalcázar (; 1479/1480 – 1551) was a Spanish conquistador. De Belalcázar, also written as de Benalcázar, is known as the founder of important early colonial cities in the northwestern part of South America; Quito in 1534 and Cal ...
, conqueror of
Quito Quito (; ; qu, Kitu; formally Saint Francis of Quito) is the capital of Ecuador and at an elevation of above sea level, it is the second highest official capital city in the world, and the closest to the equator.Cali Santiago de Cali (), or Cali, is the capital of the Valle del Cauca department, and the most populous city in southwest Colombia, with 2,227,642 residents according to the 2018 census. The city spans with of urban area, making Cali the second-l ...
, in 1536, and
Popayán Popayán () is the capital of the Colombian department of Cauca. It is located in southwestern Colombia between the Western Mountain Range and Central Mountain Range. It has a population of 318,059 people, an area of 483 km2, is located 176 ...
, in 1537; from 1536 to 1539, German conquistador
Nikolaus Federmann Nikolaus Federmann ( es, link=no, Nicolás de Federmán, ) (c. 1505, Ulm – February 1542, Valladolid) was a German adventurer and conquistador in the what is modern-day Venezuela and Colombia. He is a significant figure in the history of Klein-Ven ...
crossed the Llanos Orientales and went over the Cordillera Oriental in a search for
El Dorado El Dorado (, ; Spanish for "the golden one"), originally ''El Hombre Dorado'' ("The Golden Man") or ''El Rey Dorado'' ("The Golden King"), was the term used by the Spanish in the 16th century to describe a mythical tribal chief (''zipa'') of the ...
, the "city of gold". The legend and the gold would play a pivotal role in luring the Spanish and other Europeans to New Granada during the 16th and 17th centuries. The
conquistadors is one of the most famous Portuguese conquerors, having expanded the Portuguese Empire's rule across India, the Persian Gulf, the East Indies, China, and Oceania. Conquistadors (also spelled conquistadores; , also ; ; ; from Spanish language, Sp ...
made frequent alliances with the enemies of different indigenous communities. Indigenous allies were crucial to conquest, as well as to creating and maintaining empire. Indigenous peoples in New Granada experienced a decline in population due to conquest as well as Eurasian diseases, such as
smallpox Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by one of two virus variants, ''Variola major'' and ''Variola minor''. The agent of variola virus (VARV) belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October ...

smallpox
, to which they had no immunity. Regarding the land as deserted, the Spanish Crown sold properties to all persons interested in colonised territories, creating large farms and possession of mines. In the 16th century, the nautical science in Spain reached a great development thanks to numerous scientific figures of the
Casa de Contratación 300px, Although the Casa de Contratación was not located in a specific building, its documents can now be seen in the ''Archive of the Indies'' in Seville. The ''Casa de Contratación'' (, "House of Trade") or ''Casa de la Contratación de las Ind ...
and nautical science was an essential pillar of the Iberian expansion.


Colonial exchange

In 1542, the region of New Granada, along with all other Spanish possessions in South America, became part of the
Viceroyalty of Peru The Viceroyalty of Peru ( es, Virreinato del Perú, links=no) was a Spanish imperial provincial administrative district, created in 1542, that originally contained modern-day Peru and most of the Spanish Empire in South America, governed from the ...
, with its capital in
Lima Lima ( ; ) is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín Rivers, in the central coastal part of the country, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it fo ...
. In 1547, New Granada became the Captaincy-General of New Granada within the viceroyalty. In 1549, the Real Audiencia, Royal Audiencia was created by a royal decree, and New Granada was ruled by the Royal Audience of Santa Fe de Bogotá, which at that time comprised the provinces of Santa Marta, Rio de San Juan, Popayán, Guayana and Cartagena. But important decisions were taken from the colony to Spain by the Council of the Indies. In the 16th century, European slave traders had begun to bring Atlantic slave trade, enslaved Africans to the Americas. Spain was the only European power that did not establish Factory (trading post), factories in Africa to purchase slaves; the Spanish Empire instead relied on the asiento system, awarding merchants from other European nations the license to trade enslaved peoples to their overseas territories. This system brought Africans to Colombia, although many spoke out against the institution. The indigenous peoples could not be enslaved because they were legally Commoners, subjects of the Spanish Crown. To protect the indigenous peoples, several forms of land ownership and regulation were established by the Spanish colonial authorities: ''resguardos'', ''encomiendas'' and ''haciendas''. The
Viceroyalty of New Granada The Viceroyalty of New Granada ( es, Virreinato de Nueva Granada, links=no ) was the name given on 27 May 1717, to the jurisdiction of the Spanish Empire in northern South America, corresponding to modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela. Cre ...
was established in 1717, then temporarily removed, and then re-established in 1739. Its capital was Santa Fé de Bogotá. This Viceroyalty included some other provinces of northwestern South America that had previously been under the jurisdiction of the New Spain, Viceroyalties of New Spain or Viceroyalty of Peru, Peru and correspond mainly to today's Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama. So, Bogotá became one of the principal administrative centers of the Spanish possessions in the New World, along with
Lima Lima ( ; ) is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín Rivers, in the central coastal part of the country, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it fo ...
and Mexico City, though it remained somewhat backward compared to those two cities in several economic and logistical ways. Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain declared war War of Jenkins Ear, on Spain in 1739, and the city of Cartagena quckly became a top target for the British. A massive British expeditionary force was dispatched to capture the city, but after initial inroads devastating outbreaks of disease crippled their numbers and the British were forced to withdraw. The battle became one of Spain's most decisive victories in the conflict, and secured Spanish dominance in the Caribbean until the Seven Years' War. The 18th-century priest, botanist and mathematician José Celestino Mutis was delegated by Viceroy Antonio Caballero y Góngora to conduct an inventory of the nature of New Granada. Started in 1783, this became known as the Royal Botanical Expedition to New Granada. It classified plants and wildlife, and founded the first astronomical observatory in the city of Santa Fe de Bogotá. In July 1801 the Prussian scientist Alexander von Humboldt reached Santa Fe de Bogotá where he met with Mutis. In addition, historical figures in the process of independence in New Granada emerged from the expedition as the astronomer Francisco José de Caldas, the scientist Francisco Antonio Zea, the zoologist Jorge Tadeo Lozano and the painter Salvador Rizo.


Independence

Since the beginning of the periods of conquest and colonization, there were several rebel movements against Spanish rule, but most were either crushed or remained too weak to change the overall situation. The last one that sought outright independence from Spain sprang up around 1810 and culminated in the Colombian Declaration of Independence, issued on 20 July 1810, the day that is now celebrated as the nation's Independence Day. This movement followed the independence of St. Domingue (present-day Haiti) in 1804, which provided some support to an eventual leader of this rebellion: Simón Bolívar. Francisco de Paula Santander also would play a decisive role. A movement was initiated by Antonio Nariño, who opposed Spanish centralism and led the opposition against the Viceroyalty. Cartagena became independent in November 1811. In 1811 the
United Provinces of New Granada The United Provinces of New Granada was a country in South America from 1811 to 1816, a period known in Colombian history as ''la Patria Boba'' ("the Foolish Fatherland"). It was formed from areas of the New Kingdom of Granada, roughly correspon ...
were proclaimed, headed by Camilo Torres Tenorio. The emergence of two distinct ideological currents among the patriots (federalism and Unitary state, centralism) gave rise to a period of Patria Boba, instability. Shortly after the Napoleonic Wars ended, Ferdinand VII, recently restored to the throne in Spain, unexpectedly decided Spanish reconquest of New Granada, to send military forces to retake most of northern South America. The viceroyalty was restored under the command of Juan Sámano, whose regime punished those who participated in the patriotic movements, ignoring the political nuances of the Junta (Spanish American Independence), juntas. The retribution stoked renewed rebellion, which, combined with a weakened Spain, made possible a successful rebellion led by the Venezuelan-born Military career of Simón Bolívar, Simón Bolívar, who finally proclaimed Spanish American wars of independence, independence in 1819. The Royalist (Spanish American Independence), pro-Spanish resistance was defeated in 1822 in the present territory of Colombia and in 1823 in Venezuela. The territory of the Viceroyalty of New Granada became the
Republic of Colombia Colombia ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia (), is a country in South America with territories in North America. Colombia is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, the northwest by Panama, the south by Ecuador and Peru, the east ...
, organized as a subdivisions of Gran Colombia, union of the current territories of Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela, parts of Guyana and Brazil and north of Marañón River. The Congress of Cúcuta in 1821 adopted a Colombian Constitution of 1821, constitution for the new Republic. Simón Bolívar became the first President of Colombia, and Francisco de Paula Santander was made Vice President of Colombia, Vice President. However, the new republic was unstable and three countries emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (New Granada, Ecuador and Venezuela). Colombia was the first constitutional government in South America, and the Colombian Liberal Party, Liberal and Colombian Conservative Party, Conservative parties, founded in 1848 and 1849, respectively, are two of the oldest surviving political parties in the Americas. Slavery was abolished in the country in 1851. Internal political and territorial divisions led to the dissolution of Gran Colombia in 1830. The so-called "Cundinamarca Province, Department of Cundinamarca" adopted the name "Republic of the New Granada, New Granada", which it kept until 1858 when it became the "Confederación Granadina" (
Granadine Confederation) , religion = Roman Catholic , currency = Peso , today= The Granadine Confederation ( es, Confederación Granadina) was a short-lived federal republic established in 1858 as a result of a constitutional change replacing the Republic ...
). After a Colombian Civil War (1860–1862), two-year civil war in 1863, the "
United States of Colombia The United States of Colombia () was the name adopted in 1863http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsAmericas/SouthColombia.htm Retrieved 29 December 2010. by the Rionegro Constitution for the Granadine Confederation, after years of civil war. C ...
" was created, lasting until 1886, when the country finally became known as the Republic of Colombia. Internal divisions remained between the bipartisan political forces, occasionally igniting very bloody civil wars, the most significant being the Thousand Days' War (1899–1902).


20th century

The United States of America's intentions to influence the area (especially the Panama Canal construction and control) led to the Separation of Panama from Colombia, separation of the Department of Panama in 1903 and the establishment of it as a nation. The United States paid Colombia $25,000,000 in 1921, seven years after completion of the canal, for redress of President Theodore Roosevelt, Roosevelt's role in the creation of Panama, and Colombia recognized Panama under the terms of the Thomson–Urrutia Treaty. Colombia and Peru went to Leticia Incident, war because of territory disputes far in the
Amazon basin The Amazon Basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries. The Amazon drainage basin covers an area of about , or about 35.5 percent of the South American continent. It is located in the countries of Boliv ...
. The war ended with a peace deal brokered by the League of Nations. The League finally awarded the disputed area to Colombia in June 1934. Soon after, Colombia achieved some degree of political stability, which was interrupted by a bloody conflict that took place between the late 1940s and the early 1950s, a period known as ''La Violencia'' ("The Violence"). Its cause was mainly mounting tensions between the two leading political parties, which subsequently ignited after the assassination of the Liberal presidential candidate Jorge Eliécer Gaitán on 9 April 1948. The ensuing riots in Bogotá, known as El Bogotazo, spread throughout the country and claimed the lives of at least 180,000 Colombians. ''On 9 April 1948, Gaitán was assassinated outside his law offices in downtown Bogotá. The assassination marked the start of a decade of bloodshed, called ''La Violencia'' (The Violence), which took the lives of an estimated 180,000 Colombians before it subsided in 1958.'' Colombia entered the Korean War when Laureano Gómez was elected president. It was the only Latin American country to join the war in a direct military role as an ally of the United States. Particularly important was the resistance of the Colombian troops at Battle of Old Baldy, Old Baldy. The violence between the two political parties decreased first when Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, Gustavo Rojas deposed the Laureano Gómez, President of Colombia in a coup d'état and negotiated with the guerrillas, and then under the Colombian Military Junta, military junta of General Gabriel París. After Rojas' deposition, the Colombian Conservative Party and Colombian Liberal Party agreed to create the National Front (Colombia), National Front, a coalition that would jointly govern the country. Under the deal, the presidency would alternate between conservatives and liberals every 4 years for 16 years; the two parties would have parity in all other elective offices. The National Front ended "La Violencia", and National Front administrations attempted to institute far-reaching social and economic reforms in cooperation with the Alliance for Progress. Despite the progress in certain sectors, many social and political problems continued, and guerrilla groups were formally created such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, the National Liberation Army (Colombia), ELN and the 19th of April Movement, M-19 to fight the government and political apparatus. Since the 1960s, the country has suffered from an Asymmetric warfare, asymmetric Low intensity conflict, low-intensity
armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between states, governments, societies, or paramilitary groups such as mercenaries, insurgents, and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using ...
between Military Forces of Colombia, government forces, Guerrilla movements in Colombia, leftist guerrilla groups and Paramilitarism in Colombia, right wing paramilitaries. The conflict escalated in the 1990s, mainly in remote rural areas. Since the beginning of the armed conflict, human rights defenders have fought for the respect for human rights, despite staggering opposition. Several guerrillas' organizations decided to demobilize after peace negotiations in 1989–1994. The United States has been heavily involved in the conflict since its beginnings, when in the early 1960s the U.S. government encouraged the Colombian military to attack leftist militias in rural Colombia. This was part of the U.S. fight against communism. Mercenaries and multinational corporations such as Chiquita Brands International are some of the international actors that have contributed to the violence of the conflict. Beginning in the mid-1970s Colombian drug cartels became major producers, processors and exporters of Illegal drug trade in Colombia, illegal drugs, primarily Cannabis (drug), marijuana and cocaine. On 4 July 1991, a new Colombian Constitution of 1991, Constitution was promulgated. The changes generated by the new constitution are viewed as positive by Colombian society.


21st century

The administration of President Álvaro Uribe (2002–10), adopted the democratic security policy which included an integrated counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency campaign. The Government economic plan also promoted confidence in investors. As part of a controversial peace process the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, AUC (right-wing paramilitaries) as a formal organization had ceased to function. In February 2008, millions of Colombians demonstrated against FARC and other outlawed groups. After peace negotiations in Cuba, the Government of Colombia, Colombian government of President Juan Manuel Santos and guerrilla of FARC-EP announced a final agreement to end the conflict. However, a Colombian peace agreement referendum, 2016, referendum to ratify the deal was unsuccessful. Afterward, the Colombian government and the FARC signed a revised Colombian peace process, peace deal in November 2016, which the Colombian congress approved. In 2016, President Santos was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, Nobel Peace Prize. The Government began a process of attention and comprehensive reparation for victims of conflict. Colombia shows modest progress in the struggle to defend human rights, as expressed by Human Rights Watch, HRW. A Special Jurisdiction of Peace has been created to investigate, clarify, prosecute and punish serious human rights violations and grave breaches of international humanitarian law which occurred during the armed conflict and to satisfy victims' right to justice. During his visit to Colombia, Pope Francis paid tribute to the victims of the conflict. 2010 Colombia–Venezuela diplomatic crisis, Colombia's relations with Venezuela have fluctuated due to ideological differences between both governments. Colombia has offered Humanitarian aid, humanitarian support with food and medicines to mitigate the shortage of supplies in Venezuela. Colombia's Foreign Ministry said that all efforts to resolve Crisis in Venezuela (2012–present), Venezuela's crisis should be peaceful. Colombia proposed the idea of the Sustainable Development Goals and a final document was adopted by the United Nations.


Geography

The geography of Colombia is characterized by its six main Natural regions of Colombia, natural regions that present their own unique characteristics, from the
Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America. The range is long, wide (widest between ...
mountain range region shared with Ecuador and Venezuela; the Pacific Coastal region shared with Panama and Ecuador; the Caribbean coastal region shared with Venezuela and Panama; the ''Llanos'' (plains) shared with Venezuela; the Amazon Rainforest region shared with Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador; to the Insular Region (Colombia), insular area, comprising islands in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It shares its maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Colombia is bordered to the northwest by
Panama Panama ( , ; es, link=no, Panamá ), officially the Republic of Panama ( es, República de Panamá), is a transcontinental country in Central America and South America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribb ...
, to the east by
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the Ca ...
and Brazil, and to the south by
Ecuador Ecuador ( ; ; Quechua: ''Ikwayur''; Shuar: ''Ecuador'' or ''Ekuatur''), officially the Republic of Ecuador ( es, República del Ecuador, which literally translates as "Republic of the Equator"; Quechua: ''Ikwadur Ripuwlika''; Shuar: ''Ekuatur ...

Ecuador
and
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = National seal , national_motto ...
; it established its maritime boundaries with neighboring countries through seven agreements on the Caribbean Sea and three on the Pacific Ocean. It lies between latitudes 12th parallel north, 12°N and 4th parallel south, 4°S and between longitudes 67th meridian west, 67° and 79th meridian west, 79°W. Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Ring of Fire, a region of the world subject to earthquakes and volcano, volcanic eruptions, in the interior of Colombia the Andes are the prevailing geographical feature. Most of Colombia's population centers are located in these interior highlands. Beyond the Colombian Massif (in the southwestern departments of Cauca Department, Cauca and Nariño Department, Nariño), these are divided into three branches known as ''cordilleras'' (mountain ranges): the Cordillera Occidental (Colombia), Cordillera Occidental, running adjacent to the Pacific coast and including the city of Santiago de Cali, Cali; the Cordillera Central (Colombia), Cordillera Central, running between the Cauca River, Cauca and
Magdalena River The Magdalena River ( es, Río Magdalena, ; less commonly ) is the principal river of Colombia, flowing northward about through the western half of the country. It takes its name from the biblical figure Mary Magdalene. It is navigable through much ...
valleys (to the west and east, respectively) and including the cities of Medellín, Manizales, Pereira, Colombia, Pereira, and Armenia, Quindío, Armenia; and the Cordillera Oriental, extending northeast to the
Guajira Peninsula 250px, The Guajira Peninsula (top center) to the west of the Gulf of Venezuela, south of the Caribbean Sea The Guajira Peninsula ( es, Peninsula de La Guajira, links=no, also spelled ''Goajira'', mainly in colonial period texts) is a peninsula in no ...
and including Bogotá, Bucaramanga, and Cúcuta. Peaks in the Cordillera Occidental exceed , and in the Cordillera Central and Cordillera Oriental they reach . At , Bogotá is the highest city of its size in the world. East of the Andes lies the savanna of the ''Llanos'', part of the Orinoco River basin, and in the far southeast, the jungle of the Amazon rainforest. Together these lowlands comprise over half Colombia's territory, but they contain less than 6% of the population. To the north the Caribbean Region of Colombia, Caribbean coast, home to 21.9% of the population and the location of the major port cities of Barranquilla and Cartagena, generally consists of low-lying plains, but it also contains the
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an isolated mountain range in northern Colombia, separate from the Andes range that runs through the centre of the country. Reaching an altitude of just from the Caribbean coast, the Sierra Nevada is the hig ...
mountain range, which includes the country's tallest peaks (Pico Cristóbal Colón and Pico Simón Bolívar), and the La Guajira Desert. By contrast the narrow and discontinuous Pacific Region of Colombia, Pacific coastal lowlands, backed by the Baudó Mountains, Serranía de Baudó mountains, are sparsely populated and covered in dense vegetation. The principal Pacific port is Buenaventura, Colombia, Buenaventura. The main rivers of Colombia are Magdalena River, Magdalena, Cauca River, Cauca, Guaviare River, Guaviare, Atrato River, Atrato, Meta River, Meta, Putumayo River, Putumayo and Caquetá River, Caquetá. Colombia has four main drainage systems: the Pacific drain, the Caribbean drain, the Orinoco Basin and the Amazon Basin. The Orinoco and Amazon River, Amazon Rivers mark limits with Colombia to Venezuela and Peru respectively. Protected areas and the "National Park System" cover an area of about and account for 12.77% of the Colombian territory. Compared to neighboring countries, rates of deforestation in Colombia are still relatively low. Colombia had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 8.26/10, ranking it 25th globally out of 172 countries. Colombia is the sixth country in the world by magnitude of total renewable freshwater supply, and still has large reserves of freshwater.


Climate

The climate of Colombia is characterized for being tropical presenting variations within Natural regions of Colombia, six natural regions and depending on the altitude, temperature, humidity, winds and rainfall. The diversity of climate zones in Colombia is characterized for having tropical rainforests, savannas, steppes, deserts and mountain climate. Mountain climate is one of the unique features of the Andes and other high altitude reliefs where climate is determined by elevation. Below in elevation is the tierra caliente, warm altitudinal zone, where temperatures are above . About 82.5% of the country's total area lies in the warm altitudinal zone. The tierra templada, temperate climate altitudinal zone located between is characterized for presenting an average temperature ranging between . The tierra fría, cold climate is present between and the temperatures vary between . Beyond lies the alpine conditions of the forested zone and then the treeless grasslands of the páramos. Above , where temperatures are below freezing, the climate is tierra helada, glacial, a zone of permanent snow and ice.


Biodiversity

Colombia is one of the
megadiverse countries The term megadiverse country refers to any one of a group of nations that harbor the majority of Earth's species and high numbers of endemic species. Conservation International identified 17 megadiverse countries in 1998. Many of them are located ...

megadiverse countries
in biodiversity, ranking first in List of birds of Colombia, bird species. As for plants, the country has between 40,000 and 45,000 plant species, equivalent to 10 or 20% of total global species, which is even more remarkable given that Colombia is considered a country of intermediate size. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, lagging only after Brazil which is approximately 7 times bigger. Colombia is the country with the planet's highest biodiversity, having the highest rate of species by area as well as the largest number of endemisms (species that are not found naturally anywhere else) of any country. About 10% of the species of the Earth live in Colombia, including over 1,900 species of bird, more than in Europe and North America combined. Colombia has 10% of the world's List of mammals of Colombia, mammals species, 14% of the amphibian species and 18% of the Endemic birds of Colombia, bird species of the world. Colombia has about 2,000 species of marine fish and is the second most diverse country in freshwater fish. It is also the country with the most endemic species of List of butterflies of Colombia, butterflies, is first in orchid species, and has approximately 7,000 species of beetles. Colombia is second in the number of amphibian species and is the third most diverse country in List of reptiles of Colombia, reptiles and Arecaceae, palms. There are about 1,900 species of mollusks and according to estimates there are about 300,000 species of invertebrates in the country. In Colombia there are 32 terrestrial biomes and 314 types of ecosystems.


Government and politics

The government of Colombia takes place within the framework of a presidential system, presidential Participatory democracy, participatory democratic republic as established in the Constitution of 1991. In accordance with the principle of separation of powers, government is divided into three branches: the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch. As the head of the executive branch, the President of Colombia serves as both head of state and head of government, followed by the Vice President of Colombia, Vice President and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Colombia, Council of Ministers. The president is elected by popular vote to serve a single four-year term (In 2015, Colombia's Congress approved the repeal of a 2004 constitutional amendment that changed the one-term limit for presidents to a two-term limit). At the provincial level executive power is vested in List of Colombian Department Governors, department governors, municipalities of Colombia, municipal mayors and local administrators for smaller administrative subdivisions, such as ''Corregimientos of Colombia, corregimientos'' or ''comunas''. All regional elections are held one year and five months after the presidential election. The legislative branch of government is represented nationally by the Congress of Colombia, Congress, a bicameral institution comprising a 166-seat Chamber of Representatives of Colombia, Chamber of Representatives and a 102-seat Senate of Colombia, Senate. The Senate is elected nationally and the Chamber of Representatives is elected in electoral districts. Members of both houses are elected to serve four-year terms two months before the president, also by popular vote. The judicial branch is headed by Judiciary of Colombia, four high courts, consisting of the Supreme Court of Justice of Colombia, Supreme Court which deals with penal and civil matters, the Council of State of Colombia, Council of State, which has special responsibility for administrative law and also provides legal advice to the executive, the Constitutional Court of Colombia, Constitutional Court, responsible for assuring the integrity of the Colombian constitution, and the Superior Council of Judicature, responsible for auditing the judicial branch. Colombia operates a system of civil law (legal system), civil law, which since 2005 has been applied through an adversarial system. Despite a number of controversies, the democratic security policy has ensured that former President Álvaro Uribe, Uribe remained popular among Colombian people, with his approval rating peaking at 76%, according to a poll in 2009. However, having served two terms, he was constitutionally barred from seeking re-election in 2010. In the run-off elections on 20 June 2010 the former Minister of defense Juan Manuel Santos won with 69% of the vote against the second most popular candidate, Antanas Mockus. A second round was required since no candidate received over the 50% winning threshold of votes. Santos won nearly 51% of the vote in second-round elections on 15 June 2014, beating right-wing rival Óscar Iván Zuluaga, who won 45%. Iván Duque won in the second round with 54% of the vote, against 42% for his left-wing rival, Gustavo Petro. His term as Colombia's president runs for four years beginning 7 August 2018.


Foreign affairs

The foreign affairs of Colombia are headed by the President, as head of state, and managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Colombia), Minister of Foreign Affairs. Colombia has diplomatic missions in all continents. Colombia was one of the 4 founding members of the
Pacific Alliance The Pacific Alliance ( es, link=no, Alianza del Pacífico) is a Latin American trade bloc, formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, which all border the Pacific Ocean. These countries have come together to form an area of integration with the p ...

Pacific Alliance
, which is a political, economic and co-operative integration mechanism that promotes the free circulation of goods, services, capital and persons between the members, as well as a common stock exchange and joint embassies in several countries. Colombia is also a member of the United Nations, the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations. It officially commenced operations on 1 January 1995, pursuant to the 1994 Marrakesh Agreement, thus rep ...
, the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 37 member countries, founded in 1961 to sti ...
, the
Organization of American States The Organization of American States ( es, Organización de los Estados Americanos, pt, Organização dos Estados Americanos, french: Organisation des États américains, nl, Organisatie van Amerikaanse Staten), or the OAS or OEA, is an internationa ...
, the Organization of Ibero-American States, and the Andean Community of Nations. Colombia is a global partner of
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries. The ...
.


Military

The executive branch of government is responsible for managing the defense of Colombia, with the President commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The Ministry of National Defence (Colombia), Ministry of Defence exercises day-to-day control of the Military of Colombia, military and the Colombian National Police. Colombia has 455,461 active military personnel. And in 2016 3.4% of the country's GDP went towards military expenditure, placing it 24th in the world. Colombia's armed forces are the largest in Latin America, and it is the second largest spender on its military after Brazil. In 2018, Colombia signed the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Colombian military is divided into three branches: the National Army of Colombia; the Colombian Air Force; and the Colombian Navy. The National Police functions as a gendarmerie, operating independently from the military as the law enforcement agency for the entire country. Each of these operates with their own intelligence apparatus separate from the National Intelligence Directorate (Colombia), National Intelligence Directorate (DNI, in Spanish). The National Army is formed by divisions, brigades, special brigades, and special units, the Colombian Navy by the Colombian Naval Infantry, Naval Infantry, the Naval Force of the Caribbean, the Naval Force of the Pacific, the Naval Force of the South, the Naval Force of the East, Colombia Coast Guards, Naval Aviation, and the Specific Command of San Andres y Providencia and the Air Force by 15 air units. The National Police has a presence in all municipalities.


Administrative divisions

Colombia is divided into 32
departments Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and administrative division within a country, for e ...
and one Bogotá, capital district, which is treated as a department (Bogotá also serves as the capital of the Cundinamarca Department, department of Cundinamarca). Departments are subdivided into Municipalities of Colombia, municipalities, each of which is assigned a municipal seat, and municipalities are in turn subdivided into ''Corregimientos of Colombia, corregimientos'' in rural areas and into ''Comunas of Colombia, comunas'' in urban areas. Each department has a local government with a governor and assembly directly elected to four-year terms, and each municipality is headed by a mayor and council. There is a popularly elected local administrative board in each of the ''corregimientos'' or ''comunas''.Colombian Constitution of 1991 (Title XI – Concerning the territorial organization) In addition to the capital four other cities have been designated Districts of Colombia, districts (in effect special municipalities), on the basis of special distinguishing features. These are Barranquilla, Cartagena,
Santa Marta Santa Marta (), officially Distrito Turístico, Cultural e Histórico de Santa Marta ("Touristic, Cultural and Historic District of Santa Marta"), is a city of half a million people, in the nation of Colombia. It is the capital of Magdalena Depar ...
and Buenaventura, Colombia, Buenaventura. Some departments have local administrative subdivisions, where towns have a large concentration of population and municipalities are near each other (for example, in Antioquia and Cundinamarca). Where departments have a low population (for example Amazonas, Vaupés and Vichada), special administrative divisions are employed, such as "department ''corregimientos''", which are a hybrid of a municipality and a ''corregimiento''. Click on a department on the map below to go to its article.


Largest cities and towns

Colombia is a highly urbanized country with 77.1% of the population living in urban areas. The largest cities in the country are
Bogotá Bogotá (, also , , ), officially Bogotá, Distrito Capital, abbreviated Bogotá, D.C., and formerly known as Santa Fe de Bogotá during the Spanish period and between 1991 and 2000, is the capital and largest city of Colombia, administered as ...

Bogotá
, with 7,387,400 inhabitants, Medellín, with 2,382,399 inhabitants,
Cali Santiago de Cali (), or Cali, is the capital of the Valle del Cauca department, and the most populous city in southwest Colombia, with 2,227,642 residents according to the 2018 census. The city spans with of urban area, making Cali the second-l ...
, with 2,172,527 inhabitants, and Barranquilla, with 1,205,284 inhabitants.


Economy

Historically an agrarian economy, Colombia urbanised rapidly in the 20th century, by the end of which just 15.8% of the workforce were employed in agriculture, generating just 6.6% of GDP; 19.6% of the workforce were employed in industry and 64.6% in services, responsible for 33.4% and 59.9% of GDP respectively. The country's economic production is dominated by its strong domestic demand. Consumer spending, Consumption expenditure by households is the largest component of GDP. Colombia's market economy grew steadily in the latter part of the 20th century, with gross domestic product (GDP) increasing at an average rate of over 4% per year between 1970 and 1998. The country suffered a recession in 1999 (the first full year of negative growth since the Great Depression), and the recovery from that recession was long and painful. However, in recent years growth has been impressive, reaching 6.9% in 2007, one of the List of countries by GDP (real) growth rate, highest rates of growth in Latin America. According to International Monetary Fund estimates, in 2012, Colombia's GDP (PPP) was US$500 billion (List of countries by GDP (PPP), 28th in the world and third in South America). Total government expenditures account for 27.9 percent of the domestic economy. External debt equals 39.9 percent of gross domestic product. A strong fiscal climate was reaffirmed by a boost in bond ratings. Annual inflation closed 2017 at 4.09% YoY (vs. 5.75% YoY in 2016). The average national unemployment rate in 2017 was 9.4%, although the informality is the biggest problem facing the labour market (the income of formal workers climbed 24.8% in 5 years while labor incomes of informal workers rose only 9%). Colombia has free-trade zone (FTZ), such as Zona Franca del Pacifico, located in the Valle del Cauca, one of the most striking areas for foreign investment.Zonas Francas
zonafrancadelpacifico.com
The financial sector has grown favorably due to good liquidity in the economy, the growth of credit and the positive performance of the Colombian economy. The Colombian Stock Exchange through the Latin American Integrated Market (Mercado Integrado Latinoamericano, MILA) offers a regional market to trade equities. Colombia is now one of only three economies with a perfect score on the strength of legal rights index, according to the World Bank. The electricity production in Colombia comes mainly from Renewable energy sources. 69.93% is obtained from the Hydroelectricity, hydroelectric generation. Colombia's commitment to renewable energy was recognized in the 2014 ''Global Green Economy Index (GGEI)'', ranking among the top 10 nations in the world in terms of greening efficiency sectors. Colombia is rich in natural resources, and its main exports include mineral fuels, oils, distillation#Industrial distillation, distillation products, fruit and other agricultural products, sugars and sugar confectionery, food products, plastics, precious stones, metals, forest products, Chemical industry, chemical goods, pharmaceuticals, vehicles, electronic products, electrical equipments, perfumery and cosmetics, machinery, manufactured articles, textile and fabrics, clothing and footwear, glass and glassware, furniture, prefabricated buildings, military products, home and office material, construction equipment, software, among others. Principal trading partners are the United States, China, the European Union and some Latin American countries. Non-traditional exports have boosted the growth of Colombian foreign sales as well as the diversification of destinations of export thanks to new free trade agreements. In 2017, the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) reported that 26.9% of the population were living below the poverty line, of which 7.4% in "extreme poverty". The multidimensional poverty rate stands at 17.0 percent of the population. The Government has also been developing a process of financial inclusion within the country's most vulnerable population. Recent economic growth has led to a considerable increase of new millionaires, including the new entrepreneurs, Colombians with a net worth exceeding US$1 billion. The contribution of Tourism in Colombia, Travel & Tourism to GDP was US$5,880.3bn (2.0% of total GDP) in 2016. Tourism generated 556,135 jobs (2.5% of total employment) in 2016. Foreign tourist visits were predicted to have risen from 0.6 million in 2007 to 4 million in 2017.


Science and technology

Colombia has more than 3,950 research groups in science and technology. iNNpulsa, a government body that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation in the country, provides grants to startups, in addition to other services it and institutions like Apps.co provide. Co-working spaces have arisen to serve as communities for startups large and small. Organizations such as the Corporation for Biological Research (CIB) for the support of young people interested in scientific work has been successfully developed in Colombia. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture based in Colombia investigates the increasing challenge of global warming and food security. Important inventions related to medicine have been made in Colombia, such as the first Artificial cardiac pacemaker, external artificial pacemaker with internal electrodes, invented by the electronics engineer Jorge Reynolds Pombo, invention of great importance for those who suffer from heart failure. Also invented in Colombia were the microkeratome and keratomileusis technique, which form the fundamental basis of what now is known as LASIK (one of the most important techniques for the correction of refractive errors of vision) and the Salomón Hakim#The Invention of the valve, Hakim valve for the treatment of Hydrocephalus, among others. Colombia has begun to innovate in military technology for its army and other armies of the world; especially in the design and creation of personal ballistic protection products, military hardware, military robots, bombs, simulators and radar. Some leading Colombian scientists are Joseph M. Tohme, researcher recognized for his work on the genetic diversity of food, Manuel Elkin Patarroyo who is known for his groundbreaking work on synthetic vaccines for malaria, Francisco Lopera who discovered the "Paisa Mutation" or a type of Early-onset Alzheimer's disease, early-onset Alzheimer's, Rodolfo Llinás known for his study of the intrinsic neurons properties and the theory of a syndrome that had changed the way of understanding the functioning of the brain, Jairo Quiroga Puello recognized for his studies on the characterization of synthetic substances which can be used to fight fungus, tumors, tuberculosis and even some viruses and Ángela Restrepo who established accurate Medical diagnosis, diagnoses and treatments to combat the effects of a disease caused by the ''Paracoccidioides brasiliensis'', among other scientists.


Transportation

Transportation in Colombia is regulated within the functions of the Ministry of Transport (Colombia), Ministry of Transport and entities such as the National Roads Institute (INVÍAS) responsible for the Highways in Colombia, the Aerocivil, responsible for civil aviation and List of airports in Colombia, airports, the National Infrastructure Agency (Colombia), National Infrastructure Agency, in charge of concession (contract), concessions through public–private partnerships, for the design, construction, maintenance, operation, and administration of the transport infrastructure, the General Maritime Directorate (Dimar) has the responsibility of coordinating maritime traffic control along with the Colombian Navy, among others and under the supervision of the Superintendency of Ports and Transport (Colombia), Superintendency of Ports and Transport. The road network in Colombia has a length of about 215,000 km of which 23,000 are paved.Champin, J., Cortés, R., Kohon, J., & Rodríguez, M. (2016). Desafíos del transporte ferroviario de carga en Colombia Rail transport in Colombia, Rail transportation in Colombia is dedicated almost entirely to Rail freight transport, freight shipments and the railway network has a length of 1,700 km of potentially active rails. Colombia has 3,960 kilometers of gas pipelines, 4,900 kilometers of oil pipelines, and 2,990 kilometers of refined-products pipelines. The target of Colombia's government is to build 7,000 km of roads for the 2016–2020 period and reduce travel times by 30 per cent and transport costs by 20 per cent. A toll road concession programme will comprise 40 projects, and is part of a larger strategic goal to invest nearly $50bn in transport infrastructure, including: railway systems; making the Magdalena river navigable again; improving port facilities; as well as an expansion of El Dorado International Airport, Bogotá's airport.


Demographics

With an estimated 50 million people in 2020, Colombia is the List of countries by population, third-most populous country in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. At the beginning of the 20th century, Colombia's population was approximately 4 million. Since the early 1970s Colombia has experienced steady declines in its fertility, mortality, and population growth rates. The population growth rate for 2016 is estimated to be 0.9%. About 26.8% of the population were 15 years old or younger, 65.7% were between 15 and 64 years old, and 7.4% were over 65 years old. The proportion of older persons in the total population has begun to increase substantially. Colombia is projected to have a population of 55.3 million by 2050. The population is concentrated in the Andean Region of Colombia, Andean highlands and along the Caribbean Region of Colombia, Caribbean coast, also the population densities are generally higher in the Andean region. The nine eastern lowland departments, comprising about 54% of Colombia's area, have less than 6% of the population. Traditionally a rural society, Urbanization, movement to urban areas was very heavy in the mid-20th century, and Colombia is now one of the most urbanized countries in Latin America. The urban population increased from 31% of the total in 1938 to nearly 60% in 1973, and by 2014 the figure stood at 76%. The population of
Bogotá Bogotá (, also , , ), officially Bogotá, Distrito Capital, abbreviated Bogotá, D.C., and formerly known as Santa Fe de Bogotá during the Spanish period and between 1991 and 2000, is the capital and largest city of Colombia, administered as ...

Bogotá
alone has increased from just over 300,000 in 1938 to approximately 8 million today. In total seventy-two cities now have populations of 100,000 or more (2015). Colombia has the world's largest populations of internally displaced persons (IDPs), estimated to be up to 4.9 million people. The life expectancy is 74.8 years in 2015 and infant mortality is 13.1 per thousand in 2016. In 2015, 94.58% of adults and 98.66% of youth are literate and the government spends about 4.49% of its GDP in education.


Languages

More than 99.2% of Colombians speak Spanish, also called Castilian; 65 Amerindian languages, two Creole languages, the Romani language and Colombian Sign Language are also used in the country. English language, English has official status in the archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina. Including Spanish, a total of 101 languages are listed for Colombia in the Ethnologue database. The specific number of spoken languages varies slightly since some authors consider as different languages what others consider to be varieties or dialects of the same language. Best estimates recorded 71 languages that are spoken in-country today – most of which belong to the Chibchan languages, Chibchan, Tucanoan languages, Tucanoan, Bora–Witoto languages, Bora–Witoto, Guajiboan languages, Guajiboan, Arawakan languages, Arawakan, Cariban languages, Cariban, Barbacoan languages, Barbacoan, and Piaroa–Saliban languages, Saliban language families. There are currently about 850,000 speakers of native languages.


Ethnic groups

Colombia is ethnically diverse, its people descending from the original Indigenous peoples in Colombia, native inhabitants, Spanish colonists, African Colombian, Africans originally brought to the country as slaves, and 20th-century European diaspora, immigrants from Europe and the Arab Colombians, Middle East, all contributing to a diverse cultural heritage. The demographic distribution reflects a pattern that is influenced by colonial history. Whites live all throughout the country, mainly in urban centers and the burgeoning highland and coastal cities. The populations of the major cities also include mestizos. Mestizo Colombian, Mestizo ''campesinos'' (people living in rural areas) also live in the Andean highlands where some Spanish conquerors mixed with the women of Amerindian chiefdoms. Mestizos include artisans and small tradesmen that have played a major part in the urban expansion of recent decades. The 2018 Colombian Census, 2018 census reported that the "non-ethnic population", consisting of White Colombian, whites and Mestizo Colombian, mestizos (those of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry), constituted 87.58% of the national population. 6.68% is of Afro-Colombian, African ancestry. Indigenous peoples in Colombia, Indigenous Amerindians comprise 4.31% of the population. Raizal people comprise 0.06% of the population. Palenquero people comprise 0.02% of the population. 0.01% of the population are Romani people, Roma. An extraofficial estimate considers that the 49% of the Colombian population is Mestizo Colombian, Mestizo or of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry, and that approximately 37% is White Colombian, White, mainly of Spanish immigration to Colombia, Spanish lineage, but there is also a large population of Arab Colombians, Middle East descent; in some sectors of society there is a considerable input of German Colombian, German and Italian Colombian, Italian ancestry. Many of the Indigenous peoples in Colombia, Indigenous peoples experienced a reduction in population during the Spanish rule and many others were absorbed into the mestizo population, but the remainder currently represents over eighty distinct cultures. Reserves (''resguardos'') established for indigenous peoples occupy (27% of the country's total) and are inhabited by more than 800,000 people. Some of the largest indigenous groups are the Wayuu, the Paez people, Paez, the Pastos, the Emberá people, Emberá and the
Zenú The ''Zenú'' or ''Sinú'' is a pre-Columbian culture in Colombia, whose ancestral territory comprises the valleys of the Sinú and San Jorge rivers as well as the coast of the Caribbean around the Gulf of Morrosquillo. These lands lie within the d ...
. The departments of Department of La Guajira, La Guajira, Cauca Department, Cauca, Nariño Department, Nariño, Córdoba Department, Córdoba and Sucre Department, Sucre have the largest indigenous populations. The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia (ONIC), founded at the first National Indigenous Congress in 1982, is an organization representing the indigenous peoples of Colombia. In 1991, Colombia signed and ratified the current international law concerning indigenous peoples, Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989. Sub-Saharan Africans were brought as Atlantic slave trade, slaves, mostly to the coastal lowlands, beginning early in the 16th century and continuing into the 19th century. Large Afro-Colombian communities are found today on the Pacific Coast. Numerous Jamaican people, Jamaicans migrated mainly to the islands of San Andres and Providencia. A number of other Europeans and North Americans migrated to the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including people from the former Soviet Union, USSR during and after the World War II, Second World War. Many immigrant communities have settled on the Caribbean coast, in particular recent immigrants from the Ethnic groups in West Asia, Middle East and Europe. Barranquilla (the largest city of the Colombian Caribbean) and other Caribbean cities have the largest populations of Lebanese Colombian, Lebanese, Palestinian people, Palestinian, and other Arab Colombians, Levantines.Vargas Arana, Pilar, and Luz Marina Suaza Vargas. "Los árabes en Colombia: Del rechazo a la integración." (2007). There are also important communities of Chinese, Japanese Colombian, Japanese, Romani people, Romanis and History of the Jews in Colombia, Jews. There is a major migration trend of Venezuelan people, Venezuelans, due to the political and economic situation in Venezuela. In August 2019, Colombia offered citizenship to more than 24,000 children of Venezuelan refugees who were born in Colombia.


Religion

The National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) does not collect religious statistics, and accurate reports are difficult to obtain. However, based on various studies and a survey, about 90% of the population adheres to Christianity, the majority of which (70.9%–79%) are Roman Catholic, while a significant minority (16.7%) adhere to Protestantism (primarily Evangelicalism). Some 4.7% of the population is atheist or agnostic, while 3.5% claim to believe in God but do not follow a specific religion. 1.8% of Colombians adhere to Jehovah's Witnesses and Adventism and less than 1% adhere to other religions, such as the Baháʼí Faith, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Mormonism, Hinduism, animism, Indigenous religions, Hare Krishna movement, Rastafari movement, Orthodox Catholic Church, and spiritual studies. The remaining people either did not respond or replied that they did not know. In addition to the above statistics, 35.9% of Colombians reported that they did not practice their faith actively. While Colombia remains a mostly Roman Catholic country by baptism numbers, the 1991 Colombian constitution guarantees freedom of religion and all religious faiths and churches are equally free before the law.


Culture

Colombia lies at the crossroads of Latin American culture, Latin America and the broader American continent, and as such has been hit by a wide range of cultural influences. Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native American, Culture of Spain, Spanish and other Culture of Europe, European, Culture of Africa, African, Culture of the United States, American, Culture of the Caribbean, Caribbean, and Arab culture, Middle Eastern influences, as well as other Latin American cultural influences, are all present in Colombia's modern culture. Urban migration, industrialization, globalization, and other political, social and economic changes have also left an impression. Many National symbols of Colombia, national symbols, both objects and themes, have arisen from Colombia's diverse cultural traditions and aim to represent what Colombia, and the Colombian people, have in common. Cultural expressions in Colombia are promoted by the government through the Ministry of Culture (Colombia), Ministry of Culture.


Literature

Colombian literature dates back to pre-Columbian era; a notable example of the period is the epic poem known as the ''Legend of Yurupary''. In Spanish colonial times, notable writers include Juan de Castellanos (''Elegías de varones ilustres de Indias''), Hernando Domínguez Camargo and his epic poem to San Ignacio de Loyola, Pedro Simón, Juan Rodríguez Freyle (''El Carnero''), Lucas Fernández de Piedrahita, and the nun Francisca Josefa de la Concepción, Francisca Josefa de Castillo, representative of mysticism. Post-independence literature linked to Romanticism highlighted Antonio Nariño, José Fernández Madrid, Camilo Torres Tenorio and Francisco Antonio Zea. In the second half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century the literary genre known as ''costumbrismo'' became popular; great writers of this period were Tomás Carrasquilla, Jorge Isaacs and Rafael Pombo (the latter of whom wrote notable works of children's literature). Within that period, authors such as José Asunción Silva, José Eustasio Rivera, León de Greiff, Porfirio Barba-Jacob and José María Vargas Vila developed the Modernismo, modernist movement. In 1872, Colombia established the Colombian Academy of Language, the first Spanish language academy in the Americas. Candelario Obeso wrote the groundbreaking ''Cantos Populares de mi Tierra'' (1877), the first book of poetry by an Afro-Colombian author. Between 1939 and 1940 seven books of poetry were published under the name ''Stone and Sky (movement), Stone and Sky'' in the city of Bogotá that significantly impacted the country; they were edited by the poet Jorge Rojas. In the following decade, Gonzalo Arango founded the movement of "Nadaism, nothingness" in response to the violence of the time; he was influenced by nihilism, existentialism, and the thought of another great Colombian writer: Fernando González (writer), Fernando González Ochoa. During the Latin American Boom, boom in Latin American literature, successful writers emerged, led by Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez and his magnum opus, ''One Hundred Years of Solitude'', Eduardo Caballero Calderón, Manuel Mejía Vallejo, and Álvaro Mutis, a writer who was awarded the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, Cervantes Prize and the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters. Other leading contemporary authors are Fernando Vallejo, William Ospina (Rómulo Gallegos Prize) and Germán Castro Caycedo.


Visual arts

Colombian art has over 3,000 years of history. Colombian artists have captured the country's changing political and cultural backdrop using a range of styles and mediums. There is archeological evidence of ceramics being produced earlier in Colombia than anywhere else in the Americas, dating as early as 3,000 BCE. The earliest examples of gold craftsmanship have been attributed to the Tumaco people of the Pacific coast and date to around 325 BCE. Roughly between 200 BCE and 800 CE, the San Agustín, Huila, San Agustín culture, masters of Stonemasonry, stonecutting, entered its "classical period". They erected raised Ceremony, ceremonial centres, sarcophagi, and large stone monoliths depicting anthropomorphic and Zoomorphism, zoomorphic forms out of Rock (geology), stone. Colombian art has followed the trends of the time, so during the 16th to 18th centuries, Roman Catholicism in Spain, Spanish Catholicism had a huge influence on Colombian art, and the popular baroque style was replaced with rococo when the Bourbons ascended to the Monarchy of Spain, Spanish crown. More recently, Colombian artists Pedro Nel Gómez and Santiago Martínez Delgado started the Colombian Murial Movement in the 1940s, featuring the Neoclassicism, neoclassical features of Art Deco. Since the 1950s, the Colombian art started to have a distinctive point of view, reinventing traditional elements under the concepts of the 20th century. Examples of this are the Greiff portraits by Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo, showing what the Colombian art could do with the new techniques applied to typical Colombian themes. Carlos Correa, with his paradigmatic "Naturaleza muerta en silencio" (silent dead nature), combines geometrical Abstraction (art), abstraction and cubism. Alejandro Obregón is often considered as the father of modern Colombian painting, and one of the most influential artist in this period, due to his originality, the painting of Colombian landscapes with Symbolism (arts), symbolic and Expressionism, expressionist use of animals, (specially the Andean condor). Fernando Botero, Omar Rayo, Enrique Grau, Édgar Negret, David Manzur, Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt, Oscar Murillo (artist), Oscar Murillo, Doris Salcedo and Oscar Muñoz (artist), Oscar Muñoz are some of the Colombian artists featured at the international level. The Colombian sculpture from the sixteenth to 18th centuries was mostly devoted to Religious art, religious depictions of ecclesiastic art, strongly influenced by the Spanish schools of sacred sculpture. During the early period of the Colombian republic, the national artists were focused in the production of sculptural portraits of politicians and public figures, in a plain neoclassicist trend. During the 20th century, the Colombian sculpture began to develop a bold and innovative work with the aim of reaching a better understanding of national sensitivity. Colombian photography was marked by the arrival of the daguerreotype. Jean-Baptiste Louis Gros was who brought the daguerreotype process to Colombia in 1841. The Piloto public library has Latin America's largest archive of negatives, containing 1.7 million antique photographs covering Colombia 1848 until 2005. The Colombian press has promoted the work of the cartoonists. In recent decades, fanzines, internet and independent publishers have been fundamental to the growth of the comic in Colombia.


Architecture

Throughout the times, there have been a variety of List of architectural styles, architectural styles, from those of indigenous peoples to contemporary ones, passing through colonial (military and religious), Republican, transition and modern styles. Ancient habitation areas, longhouses, Terrace (agriculture), crop terraces, roads as the Inca road system, cemeteries, hypogeums and necropolises are all part of the Indigenous architecture, architectural heritage of indigenous peoples. Some prominent indigenous structures are the Andean preceramic, preceramic and ceramic archaeological site of
Tequendama Tequendama is a preceramic and ceramic archaeological site located southeast of Soacha, Cundinamarca, Colombia, a couple of kilometers east of Tequendama Falls. It consists of multiple evidences of late Pleistocene to middle Holocene population o ...
, Tierradentro (a park that contains the largest concentration of List of pre-Columbian cultures, pre-Columbian monumental shaft tombs with side chambers), the largest collection of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America, located in San Agustín Archaeological Park, San Agustín, Huila, Ciudad Perdida, Lost city (an archaeological site with a series of terraces carved into the mountainside, a net of tiled roads, and several circular plazas), and the large villages mainly built with stone, wood, cane, and mud. Architecture during the period of conquest and colonization is mainly derived of adapting European architecture, European styles to local conditions, and Spanish architecture, Spanish influence, especially Andalusian and Extremaduran, can be easily seen. When Europeans founded cities two things were making simultaneously: the dimensioning of geometrical space (town square, street), and the location of a tangible point of Map orientation, orientation. The construction of forts was common throughout the Caribbean and in some cities of the interior, because of the dangers posed to Spanish colonial settlements from English, French and Dutch Piracy in the Caribbean, pirates and hostile indigenous groups. Churches, chapels, schools, and hospitals belonging to Catholic religious order, religious orders cause a great urban impact. Baroque architecture is used in military buildings and public spaces. Marcelino Arroyo, Francisco José de Caldas and Domingo de Petrés were great representatives of neo-classical architecture. The Capitolio Nacional, National Capitol is a great representative of romanticism. Wood was extensively used in doors, windows, railings, and ceilings during the colonization of Antioquia Department, Antioquia. The Caribbean region of Colombia, Caribbean architecture acquires a strong Arabic architecture, Arabic influence. The Teatro de Cristóbal Colón, Teatro Colón in Bogotá is a lavish example of architecture from the 19th century. The quintas houses with innovations in the volumetric conception are some of the best examples of the Republican architecture; the Republican action in the city focused on the design of three types of Spatial analysis, spaces: parks with forests, small urban parks and Avenue (landscape), avenues and the Gothic architecture, Gothic style was most commonly used for the design of churches. Deco style, Rationalism (architecture), modern neoclassicism, Eclecticism in architecture, eclecticism folklorist and art deco Ornament (art), ornamental resources significantly influenced the architecture of Colombia, especially during the transition period. International Style (architecture), Modernism contributed with new construction technologies and new Building material, materials (steel, reinforced concrete, glass and synthetic materials) and the topology architecture and Concrete slab, lightened slabs system also have a great influence. The most influential architects of the modern movement were Rogelio Salmona and Fernando Martínez Sanabria. The contemporary architecture of Colombia is designed to give greater importance to the Building material, materials, this architecture takes into account the specific Geographical feature, natural and artificial geographies and is also an architecture that appeals to the senses. The Architectural conservation, conservation of the architectural and urban heritage of Colombia has been promoted in recent years.


Music

Colombia has a vibrant collage of talent that touches a full spectrum of rhythms. Musicians, composers, music producers and singers from Colombia are recognized internationally such as Shakira, Juanes, Carlos Vives and others. Colombian music blends European-influenced guitar and song structure with large gaita flutes and percussion instruments from the indigenous population, while its percussion structure and dance forms come from Africa. Colombia has a diverse and dynamic musical environment. Guillermo Uribe Holguín, an important cultural figure in the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, Luis Antonio Calvo and Blas Emilio Atehortúa are some of the greatest exponents of the art music. The Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the most active orchestras in Colombia. Caribbean music has many vibrant rhythms, such as Cumbia (Colombia), cumbia (it is played by the maracas, the drums, the gaitas and guacharaca), porro (it is a monotonous but joyful rhythm), mapalé (with its fast rhythm and constant clapping) and the "vallenato", which originated in the northern part of the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole, Kawayib; nl, Caraïben; Papiamento: ) is a region of the Americas that comprises the Caribbean Sea, its surrounding coasts, and its islands (some of w ...
coast (the rhythm is mainly played by the caja, the guacharaca, and accordion). The music from the Pacific coast, such as the Currulao (music genre), currulao, is characterized by its strong use of drums (instruments such as the native marimba, the conunos, the bass drum, the side drum, and the cuatro guasas or tubular rattle). An important rhythm of the south region of the Pacific coast is the contradanza (it is used in dance shows due to the striking colours of the costumes). Marimba music, traditional chants and dances from the Colombia South Pacific region are on UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists, UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Important musical rhythms of the Andean Region (Colombia), Andean Region are the danza (dance of Andean folklore arising from the transformation of the European contredance), the bambuco (it is played with guitar, Colombian tiple, tiple and mandolin, the rhythm is danced by couples), the pasillo (a rhythm inspired by the Austrian waltz and the Colombian "danza", the lyrics have been composed by well-known poets), the guabina (the tiple, the bandola and the requinto are the basic instruments), the sanjuanero (it originated in Tolima Department, Tolima and Huila Department, Huila Departments, the rhythm is joyful and fast). Apart from these traditional rhythms, salsa music has spread throughout the country, and the city of
Cali Santiago de Cali (), or Cali, is the capital of the Valle del Cauca department, and the most populous city in southwest Colombia, with 2,227,642 residents according to the 2018 census. The city spans with of urban area, making Cali the second-l ...
is considered by many salsa singers to be 'The New Salsa Capital of the World'. The instruments that distinguish the music of the Orinoquía natural region, Eastern Plains are the harp, the Cuatro (instrument), cuatro (a type of four-stringed guitar) and maracas. Important rhythms of this region are the joropo (a fast rhythm and there is also tapping as a result of its flamenco ancestry) and the galeron (it is heard a lot while cowboys are working). The music of the Amazon region is strongly influenced by the indigenous religious practices. Some of the musical instruments used are the manguaré (a musical instrument of ceremonial type, consisting of a pair of large cylindrical drums), the quena (melodic instrument), the rondador, the congas, bells, and different types of flutes. The music of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina is usually accompanied by a mandolin, a Washtub bass, tub-bass, a Jawbone (instrument), jawbone, a guitar and maracas. Some popular archipelago rhythms are the Schottische, the Calypso music, Calypso, the Polka and the Mento.


Popular culture

Theater was introduced in Colombia during the Spanish colonization of the Americas, Spanish colonization in 1550 through zarzuela companies. Colombian theater is supported by the Ministry of Culture and a number of private and state owned organizations. The Theater of Colombia, Ibero-American Theater Festival of Bogotá is the cultural event of the highest importance in Colombia and one of the biggest theater festivals in the world. Other important theater events are: The Festival of Puppet The Fanfare (Medellín), The Manizales Theater Festival, The Caribbean Theatre Festival (Santa Marta) and The Art Festival of Popular Culture "Cultural Invasion" (Bogotá). Although the Cinema of Colombia, Colombian cinema is young as an industry, more recently the film industry was growing with support from the Film Act passed in 2003. Many film festivals take place in Colombia, but the two most important are the Cartagena Film Festival, which is the oldest film festival in Latin America, and the Bogotá Film Festival. Some important national circulation newspapers are ''El Tiempo (Colombia), El Tiempo'' and ''El Espectador''. Television in Colombia has two privately owned TV networks and three state-owned TV networks with national coverage, as well as six regional TV networks and dozens of local TV stations. Private channels, RCN TV, RCN and Caracol Televisión, Caracol are the highest-rated. The regional channels and regional newspapers cover a department or more and its content is made in these particular areas. Colombia has three major national Radio in Colombia, radio networks: Radiodifusora Nacional de Colombia, a state-run national radio; Caracol Radio and RCN Radio, privately owned networks with hundreds of affiliates. There are other national networks, including Cadena Super, Todelar, and Colmundo. Many hundreds of radio stations are registered with the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (Colombia), Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications.


Cuisine

Colombia's varied cuisine is influenced by its diverse fauna and flora as well as the cultural traditions of the ethnic groups. Colombian dishes and ingredients vary widely by region. Some of the most common ingredients are: cereals such as rice and maize; tubers such as potato and cassava; assorted legumes; meats, including beef, chicken, pork and goat; fish; and seafood. Colombia cuisine also features a variety of tropical fruits such as Physalis peruviana, cape gooseberry, Acca sellowiana, feijoa, Eugenia stipitata, arazá, Pitaya, dragon fruit, Purple mangosteen, mangostino, Passiflora ligularis, granadilla, papaya, guava, mora (blackberry), Solanum quitoense, lulo, Annona muricata, soursop and passionfruit. Colombia is one of the world's largest consumers of fruit juices. Among the most representative appetizers and soups are Tostones, patacones (fried green plantains), sancocho de gallina (chicken soup with root vegetables) and ajiaco (potato and corn soup). Representative snacks and breads are pandebono, arepas (corn cakes), aborrajados (fried sweet plantains with cheese), torta de choclo, empanadas and almojábanas. Representative main courses are bandeja paisa, lechona tolimense, Ternera a la llanera, mamona, tamales and fish dishes (such as arroz de lisa), especially in coastal regions where kibbeh, suero, costeño cheese and carimañolas are also eaten. Representative side dishes are papas chorreadas (potatoes with cheese), remolachas rellenas con huevo duro (beets stuffed with hard-boiled egg) and coconut rice, arroz con coco (coconut rice). Organic food is a current trend in big cities, although in general across the country the fruits and veggies are very natural and fresh. Representative desserts are buñuelos, natillas, Maria Luisa cake, bocadillo made of guayaba (guava jelly), cocadas (coconut balls), casquitos de guayaba (candied guava peels), torta de natas, obleas, Crème caramel, flan de mango, roscón, milhoja, manjar blanco, dulce de feijoa, dulce de Mountain papaya, papayuela, torta de mojicón, and esponjado de curuba. Typical sauces (salsas) are hogao (tomato and onion sauce) and Colombian-style Ají (sauce), ají. Some representative beverages are Coffee production in Colombia, coffee (Tinto), champús, cholado, lulada, avena (beverage), avena colombiana, sugarcane juice, aguapanela, aguardiente, hot chocolate and fresh fruit juices (often made with water or milk).


Sports

Tejo (sport), Tejo is Colombia's national sport and is a team sport that involves launching projectiles to hit a target. But of all sports in Colombia, association football, football is the most popular. Colombia national football team, Colombia was the champion of the 2001 Copa América, in which they set a new record of being undefeated, conceding no goals and winning each match. Colombia has been awarded "FIFA World Rankings#Best Mover of the Year, mover of the year" twice. Colombia is a hub for inline speed skating, roller skaters. The national team is a perennial powerhouse at the World Roller Speed Skating Championships. Colombia has traditionally been very good in Cycle sport, cycling and a large number of Colombian cyclists have triumphed in major competitions of cycling. Baseball is popular in cities like Cartagena and Barranquilla. Of those cities have come good players like: Orlando Cabrera, Édgar Rentería, who was champion of the World Series in 1997 World Series, 1997 and 2010 World Series, 2010 and others who have played in Major League Baseball. Colombia was Baseball World Cup, world amateur champion in 1947 and 1965. Boxing is one of the sports that has produced more world champions for Colombia. Motorsports also occupies an important place in the sporting preferences of Colombians; Juan Pablo Montoya is a race car driver known for winning 7 Formula One events. Colombia also has excelled in sports such as UCI BMX World Championships, BMX, judo, shooting sport, taekwondo, wrestling, high diving and sport of athletics, athletics, also has a long tradition in Olympic weightlifting, weightlifting and bowling.


Health

The overall life expectancy in Colombia at birth is 74.8 years (71.2 years for males and 78.4 years for females). Healthcare reforms have led to massive improvements in the healthcare systems of the country, with health standards in Colombia improving very much since the 1980s. Although this new system has widened population coverage by the social and health security system from 21% (pre-1993) to 96% in 2012, Health equity, health disparities persist. Through Medical tourism, health tourism, many people from over the world travel from their places of residence to other countries in search of medical treatment and the attractions in the countries visited. Colombia is projected as one of Latin America's main destinations in terms of health tourism due to the quality of its health care professionals, a good number of institutions devoted to health, and an immense inventory of natural and architectural sites. Cities such as Bogotá, Cali, Medellín and Bucaramanga are the most visited in cardiology procedures, neurology, dental treatments, stem cell therapy, Otorhinolaryngology, ENT, ophthalmology and joint replacements because of the quality of medical treatment. A study conducted by ''América Economía'' magazine ranked 21 Colombian Health facility, health care institutions among the top 44 in Latin America, amounting to 48 percent of the total. A cancer research and treatment centre was declared as a Project of National Strategic Interest.


Education

The educational experience of many Colombian children begins with attendance at a preschool academy until age five (''Educación preescolar''). Basic education (''Educación básica'') is compulsory by law. It has two stages: Primary basic education (''Educación básica primaria'') which goes from first to fifth grade – children from six to ten years old, and Secondary basic education (''Educación básica secundaria''), which goes from sixth to ninth grade. Basic education is followed by Middle vocational education (''Educación media vocacional'') that comprises the tenth and eleventh grades. It may have different vocational training modalities or specialties (academic, technical, business, and so on.) according to the curriculum adopted by each school. After the successful completion of all the basic and middle education years, a high-school diploma is awarded. The high-school graduate is known as a ''bachiller'', because secondary basic school and middle education are traditionally considered together as a unit called ''bachillerato'' (sixth to eleventh grade). Students in their final year of middle education take the ICFES Examination, ICFES test (now renamed Saber 11) to gain access to higher education (''Educación superior''). This higher education includes undergraduate professional studies, technical, technological and intermediate professional education, and post-graduate studies. Technical professional institutions of Higher Education are also opened to students holder of a qualification in Arts and Business. This qualification is usually awarded by the National Service of Learning (Colombia), SENA after a two years curriculum. ''Bachilleres'' (high-school graduates) may enter into a professional undergraduate career program offered by a university; these programs last up to five years (or less for technical, technological and intermediate professional education, and post-graduate studies), even as much to six to seven years for some careers, such as medicine. In Colombia, there is not an institution such as college; students go directly into a career program at a university or any other educational institution to obtain a professional, technical or technological title. Once graduated from the university, people are granted a (professional, technical or technological) diploma and licensed (if required) to practice the career they have chosen. For some professional career programs, students are required to take the Saber-Pro test, in their final year of undergraduate academic education. Public spending on education as a proportion of gross domestic product in 2015 was 4.49%. This represented 15.05% of total government expenditure. The Gross enrolment ratio, primary and secondary gross enrolment ratios stood at 113.56% and 98.09% respectively. School-life expectancy was 14.42 years. A total of 94.58% of the population aged 15 and older were recorded as literate, including 98.66% of those aged 15–24.


See also

* Index of Colombia-related articles * Outline of Colombia


Notes


References


External links


General information


Colombia
at Encyclopædia Britannica
Colombia
at ''UCB Libraries GovPubs'' *
Colombia
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
Key Development Forecasts for Colombia
from International Futures
Official investment portal

Official Colombia Tourism Website

Study Spanish in Colombia
*
National Administrative Department of Statistics


Government

*
Colombia Online Government website


Culture

*
Ministry of Culture


Geography

*
National parks of Colombia
* {{Authority control Colombia, Andean Community Countries in South America Constitutional republics Former Spanish colonies Member states of the United Nations Republics Spanish-speaking countries and territories States and territories established in 1810 Transcontinental countries