Early in Colombia's history, the region was inhabited by various Mesoamerican people as far back as 10,000 BC. The indigenous people of Colombia included the Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona people. The Muiscas, who settled in the highlands of Colombia, were one of the most extensive confederations in South America.
The first Europeans to arrive in Colombia were the Spanish in 1499. After several unsuccessful attempts at establishing settlements, the Spanish settled at Santa Marta in 1525 and Cartagena in 1533. The settlement appealed to the Spanish for its access to gold and other resources, and the Spanish presence in Colombia continued to increase and expand inland. New Granada was established in 1549, and became a viceroyalty in 1717, then reestablished in 1739. The colony expanded to include modern-day neighbors Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama as a major part of the Spanish empire in the New World.
Internal conflicts began to arise at the end of the 18th century, in which the provinces began to fight against one another. With Spain preoccupied in its homeland by war with France, its colonies in South America declared independence, beginning in 1810, and continued by various provinces over the next few years. These new governments struggled to stabilize their new roles. The Bogota province became Cundinamarca in 1811, but civil war known as La Patria Boba broke out over the next several years, until Spanish rule was restored. However, the people fought again for independence, forming the Republic of Gran Colombia, uniting Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela in 1819. Venezuela and Ecuador seceded from the union in 1830, and Colombia was called Republic of New Granada, which was changed to the United States of Colombia in 1863, and finally, the Republic of Colombia in 1886. Internal conflicts continued, including the Thousand Days' War beginning in 1899 and La Violencia in the 1940s, which ended with the National Front, alternating rule of conservatives and liberals. Though this was meant to create equality between the opposing groups, conflict ensued until a new constitution was created, and Colombia has continued to move toward peace.
Neighboring Countries :
Colombia shares borders with Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru.
Major Cities :
- Bogota (capital)
Colombia is located in northern South America, with coastline along the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. Colombia's territory also includes Caribbean islands including the Archipelago de San Bernando and Islas del Rosario.
In addition to its coastal regions, Colombia's terrain includes parts of the Andes Mountains, plains, and part of the Amazon Rainforest. The mountains of Colombia have three main ranges by their geographic location: Cordillera Occidental, Cordillera Central, and Cordillera Oriental. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range is home to Colombia's highest peak, Pico Cristobal Colon, which stands 5,700 meters (18,700 feet) above sea level.
Colombia's major rivers include Magdalena, Cauca, Guaviare, and Caqueta. Along Colombia's border with Venezuela is the Orinoco River, while the Amazon lies along the Peruvian border.
Points of Interest :
From its beautiful beaches to its majestic mountains, and the jungles of the Amazon, Colombia is home to many scenic destinations. To experience Colombia's Amazon regions, Amacayacu National Park is an undisturbed natural site, home to endemic monkeys and pink dolphins. Another national park is Los Nevados, located in the mountains and offering great hiking opportunities and outdoor adventures. Tayrona National Park is a beautifully preserved region of Colombia's coastline. Other natural sites in Colombia include the Corales del Rosrio archipelago, Isla Gorgona, and Providencia, a UNESCO reserve.
While the natural sites in Colombia are incredible sites, the cities of Colombia have plenty more to offer. The capital, Bogota, features historical architecture from throughout Colombia's formation, especially in La Candelaria district. Similarly, Cartagena's historic old town is a walled city centered around Plaza Trinidad, and home to the fortress Castillo de San Felipe.
The main airports in Colombia include El Dorado International in Bogota, Jose Maria Cordova International outside of Medellin, and Rafael Nunez International in Cartagena, which offer direct service to destinations across the Americas and to select cities in Europe.
Entering Colombia via car is possible from Venezuela and Ecuador, but good roads are not available to Panama, Brazil, and Peru. There are also long-distance buses from Venezuela and Ecuador to some of Colombia's major cities. However, boats are available from Panama as well as Venezuela and Ecuador to Colombia's main ports. Though train is not a great transportation option in Colombia with its limited service, the city of Medellin offers metro service, and buses are a good way to get around the country inexpensively. Driving within Colombia is typically fine, with a good network and paved roads in and between major cities. Taxis are cheap, and cable cars are even an option in the mountains of Medellin and Manizales.
Last Updated on: February 20, 2019