colombia

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...

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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, 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, and then the United States of Colombia, 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 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.

some cities

experiences (1)

have you spent time in colombia? share your experiences

2

medellin, colombia - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 30s

posted by anonymous on 11/26/13.

How much time have you spent in Colombia?

3 months.

How old were you when you came to Colombia? Where were you before?

34 - it was this past year. I was in a small mountain village in Ecuador before, again for 3 months - I was trying out what people are starting to call "slow travel" - living for around 3 months at a time in various places.

What brought you to Colombia? What made you choose Colombia over any other place you could've gone?

When I was living in China I new a lot of people who were either South American or had visited SA. When they found out that I was going to be traveling there, almost all of them suggested Colombia, which honestly surprised me because I still had that mentality that it was a very dangerous place. I do not regret it at all.

Describe the city you lived in in Colombia and your impressions of it.

I lived in Medellin, formerly dubbed "the most dangerous city in the world" - They've largely gotten over that, but they are definitely still burdened by it in terms of international travel, but I think, judging from the number of articles published this year on how it's a great place to go, they're working on that.

How does the city you...

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demographics

population

45,239,079 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%

languages

Spanish (official)

religions

Roman Catholic 90%, other 10%

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 26.2% (male 6,069,920/ female 5,793,672)

15-64: 15-64 years: 67.5% (male 15,080,432/ female 15,440,517)

65+: 65 years and over: 6.3% (male 1,198,524/ female 1,656,014) (2012 est.)

urbanization

75% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

74.79 years

obesity rate

13.7% (2007)

literacy rate

90.4%

average years of education

14 years

economics

cost of living

3/10 (low)

economic overview

Colombia's consistently sound economic policies and aggressive promotion of free trade agreements in recent years have bolstered its ability to face external shocks. Real...

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Colombia's consistently sound economic policies and aggressive promotion of free trade agreements in recent years have bolstered its ability to face external shocks. Real GDP grew 5.7% in 2011 and inflation ended 2011 at 3.7%, continuing almost a decade of strong economic performance. All three major ratings agencies have upgraded Colombia's investment grade. Nevertheless, Colombia depends heavily on oil exports, making it vulnerable to a drop in oil prices. Economic development is stymied by inadequate infrastructure, weakened further by recent flooding. Moreover, the unemployment rate of 10.8% in 2011 is still one of Latin America's highest. The SANTOS Administration's foreign policy has focused on bolstering Colombia's commercial ties and boosting investment at home. The US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was ratified by the US Congress in October 2011 and is pending implementation in 2012. Columbia has signed or is negotiating FTAs with a number of other countries, including Canada, Chile, Mexico, Switzerland, the EU, Venezuela, South Korea, Turkey, Japan, and Israel. Foreign direct investment - notably in the oil sector - reached a record $10 billion in 2008 but dropped to $7.2 billion in 2009, before beginning to recover in 2010, and it appears to have reached a record high $13 billion in 2011. Colombia is the third largest Latin American exporter of oil to the US. Inequality, underemployment, and narcotrafficking remain significant challenges, and Colombia's infrastructure requires major improvements to sustain economic expansion. In late 2010, Colombia experienced its most severe flooding in decades with damages estimated to exceed $6 billion. The rains resumed in 2011 causing further damages to crops and infrastructure as well as killing hundreds of Colombians and displacing millions.

major industries

textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds

textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds

gdp per capita

$10,200 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

5.9% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 7% industry: 37.5% services: 55.5% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

10.8% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

37.2% (2010 est.)

gini index

56 (2010) country comparison to the world: 10 53.8 (1996)