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Colombia

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Colombia

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Population: 46,366,364 (est.)

Language(s): Spanish

Capital: Bogotá

Interesting Facts:

  • The Colombian Peso is the official currency of Columbia.
  • Christianity is by far the dominant religion in Columbia with around 95% of the population.
  • The vast majority of which (between 81% and 90%) are Roman Catholic.
  • Colombia does not have seasons; because it is near the equator, it has sunlight throughout the year.
  • Columbian temperatures range from very hot at sea level to relatively cold at higher elevations but vary little with the season.
  • Coffee, flowers, emeralds, coal, and oil are the primary sectors of the Columbian economy.
  • The name Colombia is derived from the name Christopher Columbus.
  • In 1975, Colombian women were given the right to vote.
  • Colombia follows a Presidential Republic system.
  • In terms of population, Colombia is the 29th largest country in the world and the second largest country in South America, next only to Brazil
  • In terms of ecology, Colombia is regarded as one of the 18 mega diverse countries in the world.
  • Some estimates say Columbia has the second highest (b
  • Nearly 12% of world’s coffee is produced in Colombia.
  • Colombia is the 26th largest country by area and the fourth largest in South America after Brazil, Argentina and Peru.
  • Colombia is one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, and is considered the most megadiverse per square kilometer.
  • Columbia has big issues with the illegal drug trade and is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, producer of cocaine in the world.

Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the northwest by Panama; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Colombia is the 26th largest country by area and the fourth largest in South America after Brazil, Argentina and Peru. With over 46 million people, Colombia is the 27th largest country in the world by population and has the second largest population of any Spanish-speaking country in the world, after Mexico. Colombia is a middle power, and is now the fourth largest economy in Latin America, and the third largest in South America. Colombia produces coffee, flowers, emeralds, coal, and oil. These products comprise the primary sector of the economy. The world’s third biggest bank HSBC has created a perspective on the economic outlook in 2050 where Colombia is seen playing a decisive role in the global economy, especially in the Americas as the number 25 in the world economies measured by GDP.

The territory of what is now Colombia was originally inhabited by indigenous peoples including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona. The Spanish arrived in 1499 and initiated a period of conquest and colonization ultimately creating the Viceroyalty of New Granada (comprising modern-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, north-western Brazil and Panama), with its capital at Bogotá. Independence from Spain was won in 1819, but by 1830 “Gran Colombia” had collapsed with the secession of Venezuela and Ecuador. What is now Colombia and Panama emerged as the Republic 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. Colombia was the first constitutional government in South America, and an important promoter of the Pan American organizations, initially through the Congress of Panama and later as founder of the Organization of American States. The Liberal and Conservative parties, founded in 1848 and 1849, are two of the oldest surviving political parties in the Americas.

Colombia is ethnically diverse. The interaction between descendants of the original native inhabitants, Spanish colonists, African people originally brought to the country as slaves and 20th-century immigrants from Europe and the Middle East, have produced a varied cultural heritage. This has also been influenced by Colombia’s varied geography. The majority of the urban centres are located in the highlands of the Andes mountains, but Colombian territory also encompasses Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines. Ecologically, Colombia is one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, and is considered the most megadiverse per square kilometer.

Tensions between political parties have frequently erupted into violence, most notably in the Thousand Days War (1899–1902) and La Violencia, beginning in 1948. Since the 1960s, government forces, left-wing insurgents and right-wing paramilitaries have been engaged in the continent’s longest-running armed conflict. Fueled by the cocaine trade, this escalated dramatically in the 1980s. Since 2010 the violence has decreased, with some paramilitary groups demobilising as part of a controversial peace process and the guerrillas losing control of much of the territory they once dominated. Meanwhile Colombia’s homicide rate almost halved between 2002 and 2006. Due to eradication policies, as of June 2012, Colombia, for many years the world’s largest producer of cocaine, is now widely considered to rank second or third, though some sources still consider it first. The United States of America are still the largest consumer of this drug, with a 150 to 160 tons per year.

Visas

Citizens of most western countries, including most European countries, all South American nations, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Bhutan, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore don’t need a visa, unless they are staying for more than 90 days. Irish citizens no longer need to apply for a visa at a Colombian embassy, and should have the same treatment at immigration as any other visa-free travelers.
Colombian authorities will stamp passports from the above countries giving permission to stay for a maximum of 30 to 90 days. Immigration officials at any of the international airports of the country will usually ask you the intended length of your trip, giving you a determinate number of days that will cover it, which you can extend to 90 by going to any immigration services office.

Source: Wikipedia

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