Colombia is a South American country. Located in the northwest of the continent, it covers an area of 1,138,910 km2. Colombia is bathed in the west by the Pacific Ocean and in the north by the Caribbean Sea. It borders Panama in the northwest, Venezuela in the east, Brazil in the southeast, and Peru and Ecuador in the south. The main Colombian rivers are: Orinoco, Amazonas, Madalena and Atrato.
The majestic snowy peaks of the interior of the country dominate the landscape that is composed of equatorial forests and savannas where groups of Indians survive who continue to follow the ways of life of their ancestors. Forests cover half of Colombia’s territory.
Colombia’s main cities are Bogotá, the capital, with 6 981 500 residents (2004), Cali (2 333 000 residents) (2004), Medellín (1 983 300 inhab) (2004) and Barranquilla (1 358 800 residents ) (2004).
The climate is tropical in the coastal areas, moderated by the altitude in the highest areas.
Colombia has an economy based on agriculture and industry. Coffee, together with bananas, sugar cane and flowers are the main products. Marijuana and cocaine have been growing illicitly on a large scale in Colombia, fueling the black economy and their smuggling is estimated to represent twice as much coffee exports. The main mineral resources are natural gas, oil, iron, coal and silver. Its production of gold and emeralds is one of the largest in South America and is controlled by the government. The industry is diverse, from food to textiles, to chemistry. Colombia’s main trading partners are the United States of America, Venezuela, Japan and Germany.
The population is 43 593 035 residents (2006), which corresponds to a population density of 37.72 residents/km2. The birth and death rates are respectively 20.48% and 5.58%. Average life expectancy is 71.99 years. It is estimated that, in 2025, the population will be 55 065 000 residents.
The population is composed of mestizos, whites, mulattos and Amerindians, who have more than 180 languages and dialects. Catholics represent 95% of the population. The official language is Castilian.
Art and Culture
Colombian art has been greatly influenced by European culture, namely that which comes from Spain. The best known figure in Colombian culture is Gabriel García Márquez, author of the workOne Hundred Years of Solitude , considered one of the best novels in Latin America.
Before being conquered by Spain, in 1525, with the founding of the city of Santa Marta, Colombia was inhabited by the Chibcha Indians. In 1538, it was part of the colony of New Granada that included Panama and Venezuela. In 1819, the territory of which Ecuador was also a part, became independent under the name of Grande Colombia, a state formed by Simón Bolívar. Colombia achieved full autonomy in 1886.
In 1948, Colombian politician and lawyer Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, a popular liberal party candidate for the Presidency of the Republic, was assassinated. This event, which became known as “bogotazo”, was the motto for a decade-long civil war that killed 250,000 people. The leftist guerrillas continued to give no respite and in 1957 the conservative and liberal parties formed a national front in which they practiced an alternating government. In 1978 the Liberals won by majority the congress and the presidency but maintained the agreement with the National Front. In 1982, political prisoners of the left-wing guerrillas were amnestied. Colombia’s justice minister was assassinated in 1984 for having started an anti-drug campaign, yet the incumbent president, Belisário Betancur gave a great impulse to this campaign that led to the disappearance of its minister. In 1986 it was the end of the National Front. The Liberal Party won the elections and President Virgílio Vargas declared a new fight against cocaine traffickers after the death of the presidential candidate, Luís Carlos Galan in 1990. For Colombia democracy and rights, please check localbusinessexplorer.
A bombing campaign was carried out by drug lords in retaliation for confiscating property and extraditing cartels to the United States. US President George Bush was one of the anti-drug allies in Colombia in the year 1990. Several heads linked to drug trafficking surrendered to the authorities and were arrested. This wave of arrests included Medellín’s cocaine leader Pablo Escobar, who managed to escape from prison in July 1992 but was killed while on the run in 1993. A state of emergency was declared a year later.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Colombia, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Colombia. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Colombia
Browse a collection of country and city maps of Colombia, a northern South American country. Check out the Bogota and Medellin city maps.
Colombia – Infoplease Map
Detailed, color political map of this northern South American country. Find key cities and study bordering nations.
Colombia – University of Texas Library
Offers several maps of the South American country, including a shaded-relief and city maps.
Colombia – US Geological Survey
Learn where the major volcanoes are in this country, which is famous for its coffee.
Columbia – National Geographic Map Machine
Browse the terrain and zoom in on specific areas using this dynamic map service from National Geographic.
MSN Encarta Maps – Colombia
View a dynamic map of Colombia detailing physical features and key towns and cities. Click on an area of the map to obtain local information.