colombia by xiagong0815


Area: 1.14 million sq. km. (440,000 sq. mi.); about the size of California and Texas combined; fourth-largest country
in South America.
Cities: Capital--Bogota (pop. 2005: 6.7 million). Other major cities include Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, and Cartagena.
Terrain: Flat coastal areas, with extensive coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, three rugged parallel
mountain chains, central highlands and flat eastern grasslands.
Climate: Tropical on coast and eastern grasslands, cooler in highlands.

     Geographic coordinates: 4 00 N, 72 00 W

Climate: tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper,
emeralds, hydropower

Natural hazards: highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes;
periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil and water quality damage from
overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Colombian(s).
Population (May 2009): 44.91 million.
Annual population growth: 1.4%.
Religion: Roman Catholic 90%; other 10%.
Language: Spanish.
Education: Years compulsory--9. Attendance--80% of children enter school. Only 5 years of primary school are
offered in many rural areas. Literacy--93% in urban areas, 67% in rural areas.
Health: Infant mortality rate--18.9/1,000. Life expectancy--total population 72.81 yrs., men 68.98 yrs., women 76.76
Ethnic groups: Mestizo (58%), white (20%), Mulatto (14%), black (4%), mixed black-Amerindian (3%), and
Amerindian (1%).

Type: Republic.
Independence: July 20, 1810 (from Spain).
Constitution: July 5, 1991.
Branches: Executive--president (head of state and government). Legislative--bicameral Congress.
Judicial--Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, Council of State, Superior Judicial Council.
Administrative divisions: 32 departments; Bogota, capital district.
Major political parties: Colombian Conservative Party, Colombian Liberal Party, Social National Unity, Radical
Change, Alternative Democratic Pole, Party of National Integration, and numerous smaller political movements.
Suffrage: Universal, age 18 and over.

GDP (2008): $140.8 billion; base year 2000: $93.7 billion.
Annual growth rate (2009 est.): -0.1%.
Per capita GDP (purchasing power parity; IMF 2009): $8,205.
Government expenditures (2009): 27.6% of GDP.
Natural resources: Coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nickel, gold, silver, copper, platinum, emeralds.
Industry (19% of GDP): Types--textiles, garments, footwear, chemicals, metal products, cement, cardboard
containers, plastic resins and manufactures, beverages, wood products, pharmaceuticals, machinery, electrical
Agriculture (8% of GDP): Products--coffee, bananas, cut flowers, cotton, sugarcane, livestock, rice, corn, tobacco,
potatoes, soybeans, sorghum, cocoa beans, oilseed. Cultivated land--8.2% of total area.
Services (64% of GDP): Government, personal and other services--17.5%; financial services--18.1%; commerce--
13.4%; transportation and communications services--7%; construction and public works--5%; electricity, gas, water--
Taxes (9% of GDP): Includes taxes on imports, products, and the value-added tax.
Trade: Exports (2008)--$37 billion: petroleum, coffee, coal, nickel, emeralds, apparel, bananas, cut flowers. Major
markets--U.S., Venezuela, Ecuador, Switzerland, Peru, Chile. Imports (2008)--$39 billion: machinery/equipment,
grains, chemicals, transportation equipment, mineral products, consumer products, metals/metal products,
plastic/rubber, paper products, aircraft, oil and gas industry equipment, supplies, chemicals, electricity. Major
suppliers--U.S., China, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela.

Colombia is the third-most populous country in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. Thirty cities have a population
of 100,000 or more. The nine eastern lowlands departments, constituting about 54% of Colombia's area, have less
than 3% of the population and a density of less than one person per square kilometer (two persons per sq. mi.).
Ethnic diversity in Colombia is a result of the intermingling of indigenous peoples, Europeans, and Africans. Today,
only about 3% of the people identify themselves as indigenous.

During the pre-Columbian period, the area now known as Colombia was inhabited by indigenous societies situated at
different stages of socio-economic development, ranging from hunters and nomadic farmers to the highly structured
Chibchas, who are considered to have been one of the most developed indigenous groups in South America.

Santa Marta was the first permanent Spanish settlement founded in 1525. Santa Fe de Bogota was founded in 1538
and, in 1717, became the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Granada, which included what are now Venezuela,
Ecuador, and Panama. Bogota was one of three principal administrative centers of the Spanish possessions in the
New World.

On July 20, 1810, the citizens of Bogota created the first representative council to defy Spanish authority. Full
independence was proclaimed in 1813, and in 1819 the Republic of Greater Colombia was formed to include all the
territory of the former Viceroyalty (Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama). Simon Bolivar was elected its first
president with Francisco de Paula Santander as vice president. Conflicts between followers of Bolivar and Santander
led to the formation of two political parties that have since dominated Colombian politics. Bolivar's supporters, who
later formed the nucleus of the Conservative Party, sought strong centralized government, alliance with the Roman
Catholic Church and a limited franchise. Santander's followers, forerunners of the Liberals, wanted a decentralized
government, state control over education and other civil matters, and a broader suffrage.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, each party held the presidency for roughly equal periods of time.
Colombia maintained a tradition of civilian government and regular, free elections. Notwithstanding the country's
commitment to democratic institutions, Colombia's history also has been characterized by widespread, violent conflict.
Two civil wars resulted from bitter rivalry between the Conservative and Liberal parties: The War of a Thousand Days
(1899-1903) claimed an estimated 100,000 lives and La Violencia (the Violence) (1946-1957) claimed about 300,000

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