- For other uses see Columbia.
The Republic of Colombia is a country in north-western South America. It is bound to the north and north-west by the Caribbean Sea, to the east by Venezuela and Brazil, to the south by Ecuador and Peru, and to the west by Panama and the Pacific Ocean.
| National motto: Libertad y Orden|
(English; Liberty and Order)
|President||Álvaro Uribe Vélez|
- % water
| Ranked 25th |
|Population|| Ranked 28th
|Currency|| Colombian peso
1 USD = 2333.70 Colombian Pesos
|Time zone||UTC -5|
|National anthem||Oh Gloria Inmarcesible!|
Main article: History of Colombia
Around 1450 BC there was cultural activity in "El Abra", near Bogotá. In 1000 BC Colombians developed the political system of "cacicazgos" (The Cacique) with a pyramidal structure of power, especially the Muisca o Chibcha people. They would be the biggest political system of South America after the Incas. Spanish explorers made the first exploration of the Caribbean littoral in 1500 (Rodrigo de Bastidas). In 1502 Christopher Columbus navigated near the costs of Choco. In 1508 Vasco Nuñez de Balboa started the conquer of the territory by Urabá. In 1513 Vasco Nuñez de Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean that he called "The Sea of the South" and which fact would bring the Spaniards to Peru and Chile. In 1525 is founded the first European city in the American Continent, Santa María la Antigua del Darién in what is today the Chocó Department. The main people in the Colombian territory were hundred of tribes of the Chibchan and "Karib" or Caribbean peoples whom they assimilated or killed through warfare, disease, exploitation, or conquest. They soon established settlements that eventually grew into the provinces which were part of the Captaincy General of New Granada. As it became a Viceroyalty in 1717, some other provinces of northwestern South America came under its jurisdiction. In the Century 16th Europeans brought slaves from Africa.
Though there were independent movements of rebellion since the very beginning of the Conquer and Colony, the main one sprang up around 1810, led by Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander, that finally succeeded in 1819 when the territory of the Viceroyalty of New Granada became the Republic of Gran Colombia as a Confederation with Ecuador and Venezuela, Panama was a Colombian Department until 1903.
Internal political and territorial divisions led to the secession of Venezuela and Quito (today's Ecuador) in 1830. The so called "Department of Cundinamarca" received then the name "Nueva Granada" until 1856 when it was the "Confederación Granadina" (Granadine Confederation). In 1863 it was created the "United States of Colombia", until 1886 when it finally became the Republic of Colombia. Internal divisions remained, occasionally igniting very bloody civil wars and contributing to the US-sponsored secession of Panama in 1903. The most bloody of these wars occured in the late 1940s and early 1950s, known as La Violencia (the violence). It claimed the lives of at least 180,000 Colombians. Its cause was mainly tensions between partisan groups, and a revolt toward the governance of the Roman Catholic Church and the social and economic elite.
In recent decades the country has been plagued by the effects of the influential drug trade and by guerrilla insurgents such as FARC and illegal counter-insurgency paramilitary groups such as AUC, which along with other minor factions have been engaged in a bloody internal conflict. The different irregular groups often resort to kidnapping and drug smuggling to fund their causes, tend to operate in large areas of the remote rural countryside and can sometimes disrupt communications and travel between different regions.
Main article: Politics of Colombia
Colombia is a republic where the executive branch dominates government structure. The president, elected together with the vice-president by popular vote for a single four-year term, functions as both head of state and head of government.
Colombia's bicameral parliament is the Congress or Congreso, which consists of the 102-seat Senate and the 166-seat Chamber of Representatives. Members of both houses are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms.
Colombia is a member of the South American Community of Nations.
The Colombian judicial system underwent significant reforms in the 1990s, and is undergoing a process of migration from a inquisitorial system to an adversary system. Bogotá and parts of the coffee growing region of Colombia have already adopted the adversary system, with the rest of the country following suit starting on January 1, 2006.
Located in the North of South America (4 00 N, 72 00 W). The only South American country with coast in both oceans (Atlantic or Caribbean Sea with 1,760 km and Pacific Ocean with 1,448 km)). Borders: North with the Caribbean Sea (sea boaders with Jamaica, Haiti and Dominican Republic). West with Panama (225 km) and sea boarders with Costa Rica both in the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean and Guatemala. South with Ecuador (590 km), Peru (1,496 km) and Brazil (1,643 km). East with Brazil and Venezuela (2,050 km).
Colombia has a total area of 1,138,910 sq km being the fourth biggest country in South America after Brazil, Argentina and Peru and the seventh one in the American Continent. From this area, the land has 1,038,700 sq km and the water area has 100,210 sq km. It has also an archipelago in the Caribbean sea (San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina) that forms the territory of the (San Andrés).
The Colombian climate, though it is in the Tropical area (Ecuador), is made different by the influence of the Andes range. It is tropical in its coastlands and lowlands and cool in the mountains.
The Andes range is located in Colombia from Southwest (Ecuador boarder) toward Northeast (Venezuela boarder) and is divided in the Colombian Massif (Macizo Colombiano) in three ranges (East Range, Centre Range and West Range) that form two long valleys, Magdalena and Cauca follow by the rivers of the same name. The highest mountain in Colombia is not in the Andes but in the Caribbean plain: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with its highest points named Pico Cristobal Colon (5,5775 m) and Pico Simon Bolivar (same elevation)
Main article: Departments of Colombia
Colombia is divided into 32 departments (departamentos):
Additionally, there is one capital district (distrito capital), Bogotá D.C..
Main article: Economy of Colombia
Colombia's economy suffers from weak domestic and foreign demand, austere government budgets, and serious internal armed conflict, but seems poised for recovery. Other economic problems facing President Alvaro Uribe range from reforming the pension system to reducing high unemployment. Two of Colombia's leading exports, petroleum and coffee, face an uncertain future; new exploration is needed to offset declining oil production, while coffee harvests and prices are depressed. On the positive side, several international financial institutions have praised the economic reforms introduced by Uribe, which include measures designed to reduce the public-sector deficit below 2.5% of GDP in 2004. The government's economic policy and its controversial democratic security strategy have engendered a growing sense of confidence in the economy, particularly within the business sector, and GDP growth in 2003 was among the highest in Latin America.
Main article: Demographics of Colombia
Colombia has a diverse population that reflects its colourful history and the peoples that have populated her from ancient, to colonial and modern times. The historic amalgam of three main groups; Amerindians, Spanish colonists, and imported African slaves, are the basis of Colombia's current demographics.
Race mixing between these three was widespread and has produced distinct groups that now constitute much of the population. The country's largest ethnic group are known as mestizos (58%) and are the result of intermingling between Spaniards and Amerindians. Whites are mainly descendants of the Spanish colonists, and constitute the largest minority (20%) followed closely by Mulattos (14%) which are descended from the unions of Spaniards and African slaves. The remainder of the population comprises unmixed descendants of African slaves (4%) and zambos who descend from the mixture of African slaves and Amerindians (3%). Today, only about 1% of the people can be identified as fully Amerindian on the basis of language and customs. The predominant religion in Colombia is Roman Catholicism.
Main article: Culture of Colombia
- List of universities in Colombia
- List of Colombians
- Cinema of Colombia
- Music of Colombia
- List of people on stamps of Colombia
- Communications in Colombia
- Transportation in Colombia
- Military of Colombia
- Foreign relations of Colombia
- List of cities in Colombia
- Street children
- LANIC Colombia page of the Latin American Network Information Center
- PEC – Official governmental portal (in Spanish)
- Palacio de Nariño – Official presidential site (in Spanish)
- Coinvertir - Corporación Invertir en Colombia.
- Proexport - Entidad encargada de la promoción comercial de las exportaciones.
- Banco de la República.
- Cámara de Comercio de Bogotá.
-  Wiki travel guide in formation
- Ejército Nacional de Colombia - Official Army site (in Spanish and English)
- Armada Nacional de Colombia - Official Navy site (in Spanish and English)
- Fuérza Aérea Colombiana - Official Air Force site (in Spanish)
- Vive Colombia, Viaja Por Ella! - Personal webpage intended to improve Colombia's reputation abroad (in English & Spanish)
- Human Rights Concerns - Amnesty International USA
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