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Sovereign state in South America

Top 10 Colombia related articles

Coordinates: 4°N 72°W / 4°N 72°W / 4; -72

Republic of Colombia

República de Colombia (Spanish)
Motto: "Libertad y Orden" (Spanish)
"Freedom and Order"
Anthem: Himno Nacional de la República de Colombia  (Spanish)
("National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia")
Location of Colombia (dark green)

in South America (grey)

and largest city
4°35′N 74°4′W / 4.583°N 74.067°W / 4.583; -74.067
Official languagesSpanish
Recognized regional languages68[a]
Ethnic groups
(2018 Census[1])
88.6% Christianity
—73.7% Roman Catholic
—14.1% Protestant
—0.8% Other Christian
9.6% No religion
1.1% Other religions
0.7% No answer
GovernmentUnitary presidential constitutional republic
• President
Iván Duque Márquez
Marta Lucía Ramírez
Lidio García Turbay
José Luis Barceló
Chamber of Representatives
Independence from Spain
• Declared
20 July 1810
• Recognized
7 August 1819
• Last unitarisation
4 July 1991
• Secession of Panama
• Total
1,141,748 km2 (440,831 sq mi) (25th)
• Water (%)
2.1 (as of 2015)[3]
• 2020 estimate
50,372,424[4] (28th)
• Density
42.23/km2 (109.4/sq mi) (173rd)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
$827.662 billion[5] (31st)
• Per capita
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
$343.177 billion[5] (38th)
• Per capita
Gini (2018)  50.4[6]
HDI (2019)  0.767[7]
high · 83rd
CurrencyColombian peso (COP)
Time zoneUTC−5[b] (COT)
Date formatdd−mm−yyyy (CE)
Driving sideright
Calling code+57
ISO 3166 codeCO
Internet TLD.co
  1. ^ Although the Colombian Constitution specifies Spanish (Castellano) as the official language in all Colombian territory, other languages spoken in the country by ethnic groups – approximately 68 languages – each is also official in its own territory.[8] English is also official in the archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina.[9]
  2. ^ The official Colombian time[10] is controlled and coordinated by the National Institute of Metrology.[11]

Colombia (/kəˈlʌmbiə/ ( listen) kə-LUM-bee-ə, /-ˈlɒm-/ -⁠LOM-;[12] Spanish: [koˈlombja] ( listen)), officially the Republic of Colombia,[a] is a country in South America with territories in North America. It is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, the northwest by Panama, the south by Ecuador and Peru, the east by Venezuela, the southeast by Brazil, and the west by the Pacific Ocean. Colombia is composed of 32 departments and the Capital District of Bogotá, the largest city. It covers an area of 1,418,748 square kilometres (547,782 sq mi), with a population of 50 million. Colombia's culture reflects influences of its diverse Amerindian, European, Middle Eastern, and African populations. Spanish is the nation's official language, besides which over 70 languages are spoken.

Colombia has been inhabited by various indigenous peoples since at least 12,000 BCE, including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and the Tairona. 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, with Santafé de Bogotá as its capital. Independence from the Spanish Empire was achieved in 1810, with what is now Colombia emerging as the United Provinces of New Granada. The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (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 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.[13][14]

Colombia is one of the world's seventeen megadiverse countries, and has the second-highest level of biodiversity in the world.[15] Its territory encompasses Amazon rainforest, highlands, grasslands, and deserts, and it is the only country in South America with coastlines and islands along both Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Colombia is a member of major global and regional organisations including the United Nations, the WTO, the OECD, the OAS, the Pacific Alliance, the Andean Community, and a NATO Global Partner. Its diversified economy is the third-largest in South America, with macroeconomic stability and favorable long-term growth prospects.[16][17]

Colombia Intro articles: 98


The name "Colombia" is derived from the last name of the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus (Italian: Cristoforo Colombo, Spanish: Cristóbal Colón). It was conceived as a reference to all of the New World.[18] The name was later adopted by the Republic of Colombia of 1819, formed from the territories of the old Viceroyalty of New Granada (modern-day Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, and northwest Brazil).[19]

When Venezuela, Ecuador, and Cundinamarca came to exist as independent states, the former Department of Cundinamarca adopted the name "Republic of New Granada". New Granada officially changed its name in 1858 to the Granadine Confederation. In 1863 the name was again changed, this time to United States of Colombia, before finally adopting its present name – the Republic of Colombia – in 1886.[19]

To refer to this country, the Colombian government uses the terms Colombia and República de Colombia.

Colombia Etymology articles: 7


Pre-Columbian era

Location map of the pre-Columbian cultures of Colombia

Owing to its location, the present territory of Colombia was a corridor of early human civilization from Mesoamerica and the Caribbean to the Andes and Amazon basin. The oldest archaeological finds are from the Pubenza and El Totumo sites in the Magdalena Valley 100 kilometres (62 mi) southwest of Bogotá.[20] These sites date from the Paleoindian 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 and Tequendama in Cundinamarca. The oldest pottery discovered in the Americas, found at San Jacinto, dates to 5000–4000 BCE.[21]

Indigenous people inhabited the territory that is now Colombia by 12,500 BCE. Nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes at the El Abra, Tibitó and Tequendama sites near present-day Bogotá traded with one another and with other cultures from the Magdalena River Valley.[22] A site including eight miles of pictographs that is under study at Serranía de la Lindosa was revealed in November 2020.[23] 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 including the Muisca, Zenú, Quimbaya, and Tairona developed the political system of cacicazgos with a pyramidal structure of power headed by caciques. The Muisca inhabited mainly the area of what is now the Departments of Boyacá and Cundinamarca high plateau (Altiplano Cundiboyacense) where they formed the Muisca Confederation. They farmed maize, potato, quinoa, and cotton, and traded gold, emeralds, blankets, ceramic handicrafts, coca and especially rock salt with neighboring nations. The Tairona inhabited northern Colombia in the isolated mountain range of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.[24] The Quimbaya inhabited regions of the Cauca River Valley between the Western and Central Ranges of the Colombian Andes.[25] 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.[26]

European annexation

Alonso de Ojeda (who had sailed with Columbus) reached the Guajira Peninsula in 1499.[27][28] Spanish explorers, led by Rodrigo de Bastidas, made the first exploration of the Caribbean coast in 1500.[29] Christopher Columbus navigated near the Caribbean in 1502.[30] In 1508, Vasco Núñez de Balboa accompanied an expedition to the territory through the region of Gulf of Urabá and they founded the town of Santa María la Antigua del Darién in 1510, the first stable settlement on the continent. [Note 2][31]

Santa Marta was founded in 1525,[32] and Cartagena in 1533.[33] Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada led an expedition to the interior in April 1536, and christened the districts through which he passed "New Kingdom of Granada". In August 1538, he founded provisionally its capital near the Muisca cacicazgo of Bacatá, and named it "Santa Fe". The name soon acquired a suffix and was called Santa Fe de Bogotá.[34][35] Two other notable journeys by early conquistadors to the interior took place in the same period. Sebastián de Belalcázar, conqueror of Quito, traveled north and founded Cali, in 1536, and Popayán, in 1537;[36] from 1536 to 1539, German conquistador Nikolaus Federmann crossed the Llanos Orientales and went over the Cordillera Oriental in a search for El Dorado, the "city of gold".[37][38] 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.[39]

The conquistadors made frequent alliances with the enemies of different indigenous communities. Indigenous allies were crucial to conquest, as well as to creating and maintaining empire.[40] Indigenous peoples in New Granada experienced a decline in population due to conquest as well as Eurasian diseases, such as smallpox, to which they had no immunity.[41][42] Regarding the land as deserted, the Spanish Crown sold properties to all persons interested in colonised territories, creating large farms and possession of mines.[43][44][45]

In the 16th century, the nautical science in Spain reached a great development thanks to numerous scientific figures of the Casa de Contratación and nautical science was an essential pillar of the Iberian expansion.[46]

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, with its capital in Lima.[47] In 1547, New Granada became the Captaincy-General of New Granada within the viceroyalty.

In 1549, the 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.[48] But important decisions were taken from the colony to Spain by the Council of the Indies.[49][50]

An illustration of the Battle of Cartagena de Indias, a major Spanish victory in the War of Jenkins' Ear[51]

In the 16th century, European slave traders had begun to bring enslaved Africans to the Americas. Spain was the only European power that did not establish 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.[52][53] This system brought Africans to Colombia, although many spoke out against the institution.[Note 3][Note 4] The indigenous peoples could not be enslaved because they were legally subjects of the Spanish Crown.[58] To protect the indigenous peoples, several forms of land ownership and regulation were established by the Spanish colonial authorities: resguardos, encomiendas and haciendas.[43][44][45]

Many intellectual leaders of the independence process participated in the Royal Botanical Expedition to New Granada.

The Viceroyalty of New Granada 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 Viceroyalties of New Spain or 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 and Mexico City, though it remained somewhat backward compared to those two cities in several economic and logistical ways.[59][60]

Great Britain declared war 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.[51][61]

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.[62] 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.[63][64]


The Battle of Boyacá was the decisive battle that ensured success of the liberation campaign of New Granada.

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.[65] 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.[66][67][68]

The Socorro Province was the site of the genesis of the independence process.

A movement was initiated by Antonio Nariño, who opposed Spanish centralism and led the opposition against the Viceroyalty.[69] Cartagena became independent in November 1811.[70] In 1811 the United Provinces of New Granada were proclaimed, headed by Camilo Torres Tenorio.[71][72] The emergence of two distinct ideological currents among the patriots (federalism and centralism) gave rise to a period of instability.[73] Shortly after the Napoleonic Wars ended, Ferdinand VII, recently restored to the throne in Spain, unexpectedly decided 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 juntas.[74] The retribution stoked renewed rebellion, which, combined with a weakened Spain, made possible a successful rebellion led by the Venezuelan-born Simón Bolívar, who finally proclaimed independence in 1819.[75][76] The pro-Spanish resistance was defeated in 1822 in the present territory of Colombia and in 1823 in Venezuela.[77][78][79]

The territory of the Viceroyalty of New Granada became the Republic of Colombia, organized as a union of the current territories of Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela, parts of Guyana and Brazil and north of Marañón River.[80] The Congress of Cúcuta in 1821 adopted a constitution for the new Republic.[81][82] Simón Bolívar became the first President of Colombia, and Francisco de Paula Santander was made Vice President.[83] However, the new republic was unstable and three countries emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (New Granada, Ecuador and Venezuela).[84][85]

Formation of the present Colombia since the Viceroyalty of New Granada's independence from the Spanish Empire

Colombia was the first constitutional government in South America,[86] and the Liberal and Conservative parties, founded in 1848 and 1849, respectively, are two of the oldest surviving political parties in the Americas.[87] Slavery was abolished in the country in 1851.[88][89]

Internal political and territorial divisions led to the dissolution of Gran Colombia in 1830.[84][85] The so-called "Department of Cundinamarca" adopted the name "New Granada", which it kept until 1858 when it became the "Confederación Granadina" (Granadine Confederation). After a two-year civil war in 1863, the "United States of Colombia" was created, lasting until 1886, when the country finally became known as the Republic of Colombia.[86][90] Internal divisions remained between the bipartisan political forces, occasionally igniting very bloody civil wars, the most significant being the Thousand Days' War (1899–1902).[91]

20th century

The United States of America's intentions to influence the area (especially the Panama Canal construction and control)[92] led to the separation of the Department of Panama in 1903 and the establishment of it as a nation.[93] The United States paid Colombia $25,000,000 in 1921, seven years after completion of the canal, for redress of President Roosevelt's role in the creation of Panama, and Colombia recognized Panama under the terms of the Thomson–Urrutia Treaty.[94] Colombia and Peru went to war because of territory disputes far in the Amazon basin. 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.[95]

The Bogotazo in 1948

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.[96][97] The ensuing riots in Bogotá, known as El Bogotazo, spread throughout the country and claimed the lives of at least 180,000 Colombians.[98]

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 Old Baldy.[99]

The violence between the two political parties decreased first when Gustavo Rojas deposed the President of Colombia in a coup d'état and negotiated with the guerrillas, and then under the military junta of General Gabriel París.[100][101]

The Axis of Peace and Memory, a memorial to the victims of the Colombian conflict (1964–present)

After Rojas' deposition, the Colombian Conservative Party and Colombian Liberal Party agreed to create the 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.[102] 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.[103][104] Despite the progress in certain sectors, many social and political problems continued, and guerrilla groups were formally created such as the FARC, the ELN and the M-19 to fight the government and political apparatus.[105]

Since the 1960s, the country has suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict between government forces, leftist guerrilla groups and right wing paramilitaries.[106] The conflict escalated in the 1990s,[107] mainly in remote rural areas.[108] Since the beginning of the armed conflict, human rights defenders have fought for the respect for human rights, despite staggering opposition.[Note 5][Note 6] Several guerrillas' organizations decided to demobilize after peace negotiations in 1989–1994.[13]

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.[106][13][112]

Beginning in the mid-1970s Colombian drug cartels became major producers, processors and exporters of illegal drugs, primarily marijuana and cocaine.[113]

On 4 July 1991, a new Constitution was promulgated. The changes generated by the new constitution are viewed as positive by Colombian society.[114][115]

21st century

Former President Juan Manuel Santos signed a peace accord

The administration of President Álvaro Uribe (2002–10), adopted the democratic security policy which included an integrated counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency campaign.[116] The Government economic plan also promoted confidence in investors.[117] As part of a controversial peace process the AUC (right-wing paramilitaries) as a formal organization had ceased to function.[118] In February 2008, millions of Colombians demonstrated against FARC and other outlawed groups.[119]

After peace negotiations in Cuba, the Colombian government of President Juan Manuel Santos and guerrilla of FARC-EP announced a final agreement to end the conflict.[120] However, a referendum to ratify the deal was unsuccessful.[121][122] Afterward, the Colombian government and the FARC signed a revised peace deal in November 2016,[123] which the Colombian congress approved.[124] In 2016, President Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[125] The Government began a process of attention and comprehensive reparation for victims of conflict.[126][127] Colombia shows modest progress in the struggle to defend human rights, as expressed by HRW.[128] 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.[129] During his visit to Colombia, Pope Francis paid tribute to the victims of the conflict.[130]

In June 2018, Ivan Duque, the candidate of the right-wing Democratic Centre party, won the presidential election.[131] On 7 August 2018, he was sworn in as the new President of Colombia.[132]

Colombia's relations with Venezuela have fluctuated due to ideological differences between both governments.[133] Colombia has offered humanitarian support with food and medicines to mitigate the shortage of supplies in Venezuela.[134] Colombia's Foreign Ministry said that all efforts to resolve Venezuela's crisis should be peaceful.[135] Colombia proposed the idea of the Sustainable Development Goals and a final document was adopted by the United Nations.[136] In February 2019, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro cut off diplomatic relations with Colombia after Colombian President Ivan Duque had helped Venezuelan opposition politicians deliver humanitarian aid to their country. Colombia recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate president. In January 2020, Colombia rejected Maduro's proposal that the two countries would restore diplomatic relations.[137]

Colombia History articles: 167