Brief History of Colombia:
Colombia was originally inhabited by various tribes, hunter-gatherers, and farmers. The two main civilizations that formed were the Tairona and the Muisca peoples. They were both part of the Chibcha language peoples. These civilizations were organized in tribes, each ruled by a chief or cacique. They were fairly developed societies, just behind the nearby Incan civilization of Peru.
The first Europeans to arrive were the Spanish, who founded the first settlement of Santa Marta in 1525. A few years later, in 1538, Bogota was founded and grew into a large city which would later, in 1717, become the capital of the local Spanish interests including what is today Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela.
In 1813 Colombia declared independence from Spain. In 1819 they formed the Republic of Greater Colombia. Military hero Simon Bolivar was the first president. The country has experienced two major civil wars. The first lasted from 1899 to 1903 and was called The War of a Thousand Days. The second civil war took place from 1946 to 1957 and was called La Violencia, which means The Violence.
The Geography of Colombia
Total Size: 1,138,910 square km
Size Comparison: slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Geographical Coordinates: 4 00 N, 72 00 W
World Region or Continent: South America
General Terrain: flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains
Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Geographical High Point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m
Climate: tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands
Major cities: BOGOTA (capital) 8.262 million; Medellin 3.497 million; Cali 2.352 million; Barranquilla 1.836 million; Bucaramanga 1.065 million (2009)
The People of Colombia
Type of Government: republic; executive branch dominates government structure
Languages Spoken: Spanish
Independence: 20 July 1810 (from Spain)
National Holiday: Independence Day, 20 July (1810)
Religions: Roman Catholic 90%, other 10%
National Symbol: Andean condor
National Anthem or Song: Himno Nacional de la Republica de Colombia (National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia)
Economy of Colombia
Major Industries: textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds
Agricultural Products: coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables; forest products; shrimp
Natural Resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower
Major Exports: petroleum, coffee, coal, apparel, bananas, cut flowers
Major Imports: industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity
Currency: Colombian peso (COP)
National GDP: $471,900,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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