Colombia Destinations Travel Guide
Currency: Peso (COP)
Calling Code: +57
Colombia (Spanish Colombia), the official name is the Republic of
Colombia (Spanish República de Colombia [reˈpuβlika ðe koˈlombja]),
is a state in northwestern South America, with territories in
Central America. The capital is Bogota. It borders with Brazil and
Venezuela in the east, in the south with Ecuador and Peru, in the
west with Panama.
It borders by sea with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It is washed by the Caribbean Sea in the north and the Pacific Ocean in the west. In terms of population, the country ranks 2nd in South America after Brazil, 28th in the world and 3rd in terms of the number of Hispanic population.
The territory of present-day Colombia was once inhabited by indigenous peoples, the most developed of which are Chibcha, Quimbaya and Tayrona, the country is one of the richest in the world in terms of the number of peoples living and the languages they use. The modern Colombian people appeared during the mixing of Europeans, Africans and the indigenous population, a significant number of people from the Middle East live in the Colombian Caribbean. Colombia is home to the Amazon rainforest and the Llanos Orinoco. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world. 54,871 species have been recorded here. However, it is among the eight countries with the greatest environmental damage.
For the first time, Spanish colonialists entered Colombian soil in 1499, and the first half of the 16th century saw a period of active conquests, which resulted in the creation of the Viceroyalty of New Granada with its capital in Bogotá. In 1819, independence from Spain was recognized, but already in 1831 the federation of Great Colombia collapsed. On the territory of modern Colombia and Panama, the Republic of New Granada was formed (1832), which was then transformed into the Granada Confederation (1858), and even later - into the United States of Colombia (1863). The final name of the Republic of Colombia was received in 1886, in 1903 Panama withdrew from the country.
The Colombian economy ranks 4th in Latin America, is part of the CIVETS and a member of the UN, WTO, OAS, the Pacific Alliance and other international organizations.
Amacayacu National Park is a nature reserve situated in the Amazonas Department in the Southern Colombia. It covers a total area of 2,935 sq km.
Cueva de los Guácharos is an underground system situated in Huila and Caqueta Provinces. It is protected by Cueva de los Guácharos National Park.
Los Estoraques Unique Natural Area is a protected area with natural geologic formations in the Cordillera Oriental mountain range.
Los Nevados National Park is a nature reserve situated in the Cordillera Central of the Colombian Andes in the Quindío and Tolima departments.
Serranía de la Macarena or Macarena mountains are covered by virgin forest is protected by La Macarena National Park.
Sumapaz Paramo or Páramo de Sumapaz is an unique biosphere located in a Altiplano Cundiboyacense mountain range in the Cundinamarca Department.
The name of the country comes from the name of the
famous traveler-navigator Christopher Columbus, who discovered America
for Europeans. It was used by the Venezuelan revolutionary, fighter for
the independence of South America, Francisco de Miranda, in relation to
the entire New World, but especially to the lands under the rule of
Spain and Portugal. After the name was proposed by Simon Bolivar in
"Letter from Jamaica" (Spanish: Carta de Jamaica). It was adopted at the
formation of the Federal Republic of Colombia in 1819, which included
the territories of the Viceroyalty of New Granada (the territories of
present-day Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, and northwestern
Brazil). However, later, after the separation of Ecuador and Venezuela,
the country became known as New Granada. Since 1858, the country became
known as the Granada Confederation, since 1863 - the United States of
Colombia. Since 1886, the current name has been established - the
Republic of Colombia. It was disputed by the governments of Ecuador and
Venezuela, as it infringed on the common heritage of these countries,
but for the moment these disputes are suspended.
The origin of the country's name is reflected in the anthem of the republic:
Washed with the blood of heroes, the land of Columbus
(Spanish: Se baña en sangre de héroes la tierra de Colón)
Due to its location, today's Colombia was a corridor for early migrants from Mesoamerica and the Caribbean closer to the Andes and the Amazon.
The first traces of human presence on the territory of present-day Colombia date back to the 17th-15th centuries BC. What is now Bogota was inhabited by Paleo-Indian tribes of hunter-gatherers who lived mainly in the Magdalena river valley. The settlement of Puerto Hormiga (Spanish Puerto Hormiga) discovered by archaeologists belongs to the American archaic period (8 - 2 thousand years BC). There is also evidence that the territories of El Arba and Tequendama, located in the Cundinamarca region, were also inhabited. An example of the most ancient pottery in Colombia was found in the settlement of San Jacinto (Spanish: San Jacinto) and dates back to 5-4 thousand BC.
The indigenous population lives on the territory of modern Colombia from about 12.5 thousand BC Nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes from the settlements of El Abra, Tibito and Tekendama, located near modern Bogota, traded with each other and other tribes settled in the Magdalena River valley. Between 5 and 1 thousand BC. e. an agrarian society began to emerge, nomadic tribes began to create permanent settlements, ceramics appeared. From the beginning of our era, Indians (Caribs, Arawaks, Chibcha) lived on the territory of present-day Colombia, and Chibcha prevailed among them. At the same time, two cultural traditions differed in the Chibcha tribe - Tayrona and Muisca.
At the beginning of the 1st millennium BC groups of Indians, including representatives of the Muisca, Quimbaya and Tayrona peoples, switched to the political system of casicasgos (Spanish: cacicazgos), which was a pyramidal power structure led by casiques. Representatives of the Muisca people inhabited mainly the modern territory of the department of Boyaca and the high plateau of Cundinamarca, where they formed the Muisca Confederation. They cultivated corn, potatoes, quinoa, and cotton, and traded gold, emeralds, hand-made pottery, and rock salt with neighboring peoples. The Muisca had a highly developed society for those times, they were one of the most developed civilizations in South America (after the Maya and the Incas). They created jewelry from gold and an alloy of gold and copper; gold plates acted as a monetary equivalent. The Muisca worshiped the Sun God as a source of fertility and brought animals to him as sacrifices.
Representatives of the Tayrona people lived in northern Colombia in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, and the Quimbaya inhabited areas near the Cauca River. Most of the peoples were farmers, but the social structure of the communities varied greatly, for example, the Carib people lived in a state of constant war, while others lived more peacefully. Also, the southwestern part of the country was captured by the Inca Empire.
The Spanish conquistador Alonso de Ojeda, who had previously sailed with Columbus, reached the Guajira Peninsula in 1499. From the beginning of the 16th century, the Spaniards began to colonize South America, including the territory of present-day Colombia. The first Spanish colonies were established on the Caribbean coast, which Spanish explorers, led by Rodrigo de Bastidas, first explored in 1500. In 1502, Christopher Columbus traveled to the Caribbean. In 1508, Vasco Nunez de Balboa explored the territory of the Gulf of Uraba and in 1510 founded the first city on the continent, Santa Maria la Antigua del Darién. Soon other cities were founded - Santa Marta - in 1525 and Cartagena - in 1533.
In 1536, Gonzalo Ximénez de Quesada led an expedition of 500 men into the interior of the continent. He baptized the lands through which his path passed and which he later called the kingdom of New Granada. In August 1538 he founded a capital near the Muisca settlement of Bacata and named it Santa Fe. Subsequently, the city became known as Santa Fe de Bogotá. At the same time, two other famous conquistadors also made landmark journeys deep into South America. Sebastian de Belalcazar, famous for conquering the city of Quito, important for the Inca Empire, traveled to the north of the continent and founded the cities of Cali in 1536 and Popayan in 1537. the "golden city" of Eldorado. The legend of the golden city played a key role in the desire of the Spanish and other Europeans to explore the territories of New Granada in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The conquistadors often entered into alliances with
tribes hostile to each other, subsequently allies among the indigenous
population would play a decisive role in the conquest, as well as
maintaining Spanish power in the occupied territory. Indigenous
populations plummeted not only because of wars of conquest, but also
because of Eurasian diseases from which they had no immunity, such as
smallpox. Faced with the risk that the new lands would be empty, the
Spanish crown distributed property rights to all those interested in
colonization: the creation of large farms and the ownership of mines. In
the 16th century, navigation and other nautical sciences reached their
peak in Spain, in particular, thanks to the activities of the Casa de
Contratación, this gave Spain a great advantage for expansion in South
and Central America.
In 1549, New Granada received the status of an audience. In 1542, the territories of New Granada, along with other Spanish possessions in South America, became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru with its capital in Lima. In 1547, New Granada became a captaincy general with the rights of viceroy. In 1549, New Granada received the status of a royal audience, located in Santa Fe de Bagota, and the territory at that time included the provinces of Santa Marta, Rio de San Juan, Popayan, Guayana and Cartagena. However, important decisions were still being made in the Council of the Indies in Spain.
In the 16th century, Europeans began to bring slaves from Africa. But Spain was unable to organize trading posts in Africa for the export of slaves. Therefore, the Spanish Empire used the asiento system, issuing merchants from other countries (mainly from Portugal, France, England and Holland) a license to trade in slaves in the colonies. There were also people who defended the human rights and freedoms of oppressed peoples. In particular, indigenous peoples could not be enslaved because they were legal entities of the Spanish crown and several forms of land ownership were created to protect them, such as resguardos (in Russian literature they are sometimes called reservations). A significant part of the Indian population of the highlands was settled in resguardo - on lands received by the Indians from the colonial authorities. Resguardo was considered the collective property of the Indian community (which was also called resguardo), and within the resguardo the Indian had a piece of land, which he disposed of as a user. At the head of the resguardo community were the leader and the officials appointed by him.
In 1717, the Viceroyalty of New Granada was created, which, however, then temporarily ceased to exist and was restored only in 1739. The capital was Bogotá. The viceroyalty included some northwestern provinces that had previously been part of the viceroyalty of New Spain or Peru, mainly the territories of modern Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama. Bogota became one of the main Spanish administrative centers in the New World, along with Lima and Mexico City, although it lagged behind these cities in some economic indicators.
After England declared war on Spain in 1739, Cartagena became the main target of the British military forces, but plans collapsed after the victory of Spain in the war for Jenkins' ear, the confrontation with England for dominance in the Caribbean, following the war, the Spaniards controlled this area until the Seven Years' War .
José Celestino Mutis, a priest, botanist and mathematician, was sent by Viceroy Antonio Caballero y Gongora to New Granada to explore nature. In 1783, the Royal Botanical Expedition to New Granada began, during which plants and animals were classified and the first observatory was established in Bogotá.
Fight for independence
Since the beginning of the colonization period, several rebel movements have been raised against the Spanish conquerors, but most of them were either suppressed or so weakened that they could not change the situation in the country. The last independence movement arose around 1810, after the independence of Saint Domingo in 1804, which supported the leader of the uprising, Simon Bolivar, as well as Francisco de Paula Santander, who also played a decisive role in the struggle for independence.
The movement was initiated by Antonio Nariño, who protested against Spanish centralization and led the rebellion against the vicegerency. Cartagena became independent in November 1811. In 1811, the United States of New Granada was proclaimed, headed by Camilo Torres Tenorio. The confrontation between two different ideological currents among the patriots, federalism and centrism, led to an unstable state of affairs in the country. Shortly after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Ferdinand VII decided to send a military force to rearm northern South America. Viceroyalty status was restored under the command of Juan Samano, whose regime punished those who participated in patriotic uprisings. These repressions sparked new waves of rebellion led by the Venezuelan Simón Bolivar, which, together with the weakening within Spain, played a decisive role in the declaration of final independence in 1819. Pro-Spanish resistance was crushed in 1822 in Colombia and in 1823 in Venezuela.
First century of independence
The territory of the former New Granada became the Republic of Colombia (1819-1831), which included the territories of present-day Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela, parts of Guyana and Brazil, and the north of the Marañon River. The congress at Cucuta in 1821 adopted a constitution for the newly formed republic. Simon Bolivar became the first president of Colombia, and Santander became the first vice president. However, the position of the new republic was unstable due to internal political and territorial disagreements, and in 1830 three countries withdrew from its composition - New Granada, Ecuador and Venezuela. In 1860, a two-year civil war broke out, which led to the creation of the United States of Colombia in 1863, which lasted until 1886, when the state of the Republic of Colombia finally took shape. The country continued to have internal divisions between the parties, which often led to bloody civil wars, the most significant of which is the Thousand Days War (1899-1902), during which Panama seceded from Colombia.
Colombia was the first constitutional government in South America, and the liberal and conservative parties, created in 1848 and 1849 respectively, are the oldest surviving parties in the Americas. In 1851 slavery was abolished in the country.
In the 20th century, Colombia entered a state of civil war, as a result of which, as well as the bankruptcy of the country and the economic interests of the United States, Panama withdrew from the republic in 1903. After the end of the war, Rafael Reyes (1904-1909) was elected president, who dissolved the Congress, replacing it with a Constituent Assembly, which was granted dictatorial powers. During the reign of Reyes, order was restored in the country, the economy stabilized, industrialization and modernization of the state began. In 1921, seven years after the completion of the canal, the United States paid Colombia $25 million in compensation and recognized Theodore Roosevelt's interest in secession of Panama, in response, Colombia recognized Panama as independent.
In 1930, the dominance of the Conservative Party ends, and for the first time in 45 years since 1886, the Liberals won. With the coming to power of Enrique Olaya Herrera (1930-1934), a period called by historians the liberal republic began, because the liberals ruled the country continuously from 1930 to 1946. This period of stability was soon interrupted by a bloody conflict that lasted from the late 1940s and continued until 1958 - La Violencia. The reason for it was the disagreement between the leading political parties, and the impetus for armed action was the assassination of the presidential candidate from the liberal party Jorge Elécer Gaitán on April 9, 1948. The killing was followed by riots known as Bogotaso, which spread throughout the country and claimed the lives of about 300,000 Colombians.
In 1950, after the election of Laureano Gómez as president, Colombia entered the Korean War and became the only Latin American country to participate in it as an ally of the United States. The resistance of the Colombian troops was especially noticeable at the Battle of Old Baldi. From 1964 to 2016, there was a civil war in Colombia between the government and communist rebels (with the support of the USSR). The main forces that opposed the right were the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - the People's Army (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN).
Far-right armed formations (“paramilitares”) also participate in the war. The largest of these was the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), created with state support and wealthy livestock farmers (ganaderos) in April 1997 to fight against Marxist guerrillas. Sometimes they fought alongside the official armed forces of Colombia. In early 2006, they were recognized as a terrorist organization and ceased to exist.
In 2016, a ceasefire agreement was signed between the FARC and the government, but armed clashes continued.
Republic. The head of state and government is the
president, elected by the population for a 4-year term, a second
consecutive term is possible.
On June 20, 2010, the second round of the regular presidential elections took place, in which the candidate from the ruling Social Party of National Unity and the former Minister of Defense of the country, Juan Manuel Santos, won, gaining 69.06% of the vote, ahead of his main rival, the leader of the Green Party and the mayor Bogota Antanas Mokkus, who won 27.52% of the vote. On August 7, Juan Manuel Santos took office as President of Colombia.
The government was created by a coalition of three parties (the Social Party of National Unity, the Conservative Party and the Radical Change Party) that supported Uribe's re-election.
Bicameral parliament (Congress) - the Senate (102 seats), elected by the population for a 4-year term, and the House of Representatives (166 seats), also elected by the population for a 4-year term.
The main parties (according to the results of the elections in March 2010):
Social Party of National Unity - centrist, 27 senators, 48 deputies
Conservative Party - centre-right, 23 senators, 38 deputies
Liberal Party - centre-left, 18 senators, 39 deputies
National Integration Party - centrist, 8 senators, 12 deputies
Radical change - centrist, 8 senators, 14 deputies
Alternative democratic pole - left, 8 senators, 4 deputies
Green Party - centre-left, 5 senators, 3 deputies
Independent movement of absolute renewal - 1 senator, 2 deputies
In addition, 4 more parties (1-2 deputies each) are represented in the House of Representatives.
Colombia is one of three states in South America that
have access to both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans (the other states
are Panama and Chile).
Colombia is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the northwest by the Caribbean Sea. In the west of the country, the Andes stretch from north to south, dissected by the Magdalena, Cauca and other smaller rivers. In the east there is a plateau, crossed by the tributaries of the Amazon. Lowlands stretch along the coasts.
In the north of Colombia lies the Caribbean lowland with a subequatorial arid climate. Here are the main ports of the country and the main resorts that attract foreign tourists. There is also a separate mountain range Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with a snow-capped peak Cristobal Colon (5775 m), which is the highest mountain in Colombia.
The west coast is occupied by a narrow Pacific lowland with abundant rainfall throughout the year and high tides, which makes the beaches of this region less popular with tourists. The lagoons along the Pacific coast are occupied by powerful mangroves.
In the south of the country, the Andes branch into three parallel ranges called the Western, Central and Eastern Cordillera, which stretch north for more than 3 thousand kilometers. The intermountain valleys contain the country's main agricultural land and are home to most of the Colombian population. But many extinct and active volcanoes, as well as the high seismicity of the territory, cause damage to the population and economy.
The Colombian part of the Llanos region, located in the southern part of the Orinoc lowland, is the most favorable for life, but historically the least populated region of Colombia. The subequatorial hot climate with wet summers and dry winters determines the distribution of moist grass and palm savannahs, gallery forests along rivers and reed marshes in the region.
The southeast of the country is occupied by the Amazonian selva, located in the area of the constantly humid equatorial climate. Lush impenetrable vegetation (five tiers of trees up to 70 m high) and rich wildlife are very diverse. But due to severe natural conditions, only 1% of the country's population lives in this region.
Colombia is dominated by equatorial and subequatorial climate types. The average monthly temperatures in the lowlands are about +35 °C, in the mountains at altitudes of 2000-3000 m - from +13 to +16 °C. Precipitation falls from 150 mm per year in the northeast to 10,000 mm.
Approximately 10% of the world's endemic plant species grow in Colombia.
The Caribbean coast is dominated by mangrove forests, the northern lowlands and the Pacific Lowlands are dominated by moist evergreen vegetation, and savannahs (called "llanos") in the northeast and north. In the Andes, the vegetation varies depending on the height (altitude zonation): the lower slopes covered with forests gradually turn into light forests, shrubs, forbs and high mountain meadows. The Cattleya trianae orchid is considered the national flower, and the Ceroxylon quindiuense palm (Quindiy wax palm) is the national tree of Colombia.
The fauna of the country is also rich and varied - butterflies, piranhas, monkeys, bears, jaguars, condors, snakes and hummingbirds.
The administrative division of Colombia was
established by the 1991 Constitution, its amendments and law 136 of June
2, 1994. There are three levels of administrative-territorial division.
At the first level of administrative division are the departments and
the metropolitan area of Bogotá, at the second - municipalities.
In some departments, there is an intermediate level of administrative division, which in different departments has different names - provinces, subregions.
Effective January 1, 2020, the Colombian minimum wage
is 877,802 pesos ($267.76), plus a mandatory transport subsidy of
102,854 pesos ($31.71). That is only about 980,656 pesos ($299.14) per
Advantages: almost autonomous in energy supply due to oil and coal reserves, as well as hydroelectric power plants. A healthy, diversified economy is export-oriented, primarily coffee and coal.
Weaknesses: Drug trafficking, corruption and political instability deter investors. The industry is not competitive. High unemployment (11.3% in 2008). Fluctuations in world coffee market prices. Foreign policy problems due to the export of cocaine.
GDP per capita in 2009 - 5.1 thousand dollars (110th place in the world). Below the poverty level - 47% of the population (in 2008). Unemployment - 12% (in 2009).
According to the World Bank, Colombia's GDP per capita in 2012 amounted to 7.751 thousand dollars (75th in the world). At the same time, the total GDP amounted to 502.8 billion US dollars, which allowed Colombia to take 25th place in the world.
Exports ($44.24 billion (in 2017)): petroleum products, coffee, coal, nickel, emeralds, clothing, bananas, floriculture products.
The main buyers are the USA (28.5%), Panama (8.6%), China (5.1%).
Imports ($47.13 billion (in 2017)): industrial equipment, vehicles, consumer goods, chemicals, fuels.
The main suppliers are the USA (26.3%), China (19.3%), Mexico (7.5%), Brazil (5%), Germany (4.1%).
18% of employees are employed in agriculture. 5% of the land is used for crops, 38% for grazing. The most fertile soils are found on plateaus and in some lowland regions. Colombia is the world's second largest coffee producer. For mountainous areas, cotton and tobacco are cash crops. In the lowlands there are plantations of export crops - bananas, sugar cane, as well as ornamental flowering plants. Rice, corn, potatoes and sorghum are grown for the domestic market. Livestock breeding is dominated by cattle breeding, pig breeding and sheep breeding. Coca cultivation is widespread in the southern departments, controlled by Colombian drug cartels.
Colombia has large reserves of minerals, concentrated mainly in the mountainous regions of the Andes. The country produces gold, silver, platinum, emeralds (90% of world production), coal (33+ million tons/year), oil (19 million tons/year), natural gas. Deposits of copper, mercury, lead and manganese have been developed. Known, but not developed (at least officially) deposits of uranium.
Over the past 20 years, the machine-building, processing, footwear, chemical and textile industries have been developing at a rapid pace. The main industrial centers are Bogota, Medellin and Cali. Food industry enterprises are mainly engaged in the processing of sugar cane, rice, vegetables and fruits.
The country's total energy reserves are estimated at 7.254 billion toe (in coal equivalent). In accordance with the UNSD and EES EAEC data, at the end of 2019, the Colombian energy sector is characterized by the following main indicators. Fossil fuel production - 209673 thousand toe. The total supply is 89957 thousand toe. 8071 thousand toe or 9.0% of the total supply was spent on conversion at power plants and heating installations. Installed capacity - net power plants - 19009 MW, including: thermal power plants burning fossil fuel (TPP) - 36.2%, renewable energy sources (RES) - 63.8%. Gross electricity production - 80590 million kWh, including: TPP - 32.0%, RES - 68.0%. Final electricity consumption - 67171 million kWh, of which: industry - 33.2%, transport - 0.2%, household consumers - 36.9%, commercial sector and public enterprises - 24.3%, forestry and fisheries - 1.2%, other consumers - 4.1%. Energy efficiency indicators: in 2019 per capita consumption of gross domestic product at purchasing power parity (in nominal prices) - 15633 dollars, per capita (gross) electricity consumption - 1360 kWh, per capita electricity consumption by the population - 502 kWh. The number of hours of using the installed net capacity of power plants is 4229 hours.
Vast distances, swamps, forests, mountains and a small
population hinder the development of land transport, contributing to the
increasing use of air transport.
In total, there are 4,160 km of railways and more than 100,000 km of roads, including an international highway crossing Colombia, connecting Venezuela with Ecuador.
The first international commercial airline was launched in 1919. Now there are about 670 airfields in the country. The main airports are in Barranquilla, Medellin, Cali and Bogota.
Cartagena de Indias, Buenaventura and Barranquilla are the largest ports. The river navigation network has a length of more than 14,000 km.
The population is 50,459,942 people.
The annual population growth is 1.2%.
Average life expectancy is 71 years for men and 77.8 years for women.
Urban population - 74% (in 2008).
Literacy - 90.4% (according to the 2005 census).
The position of the Indian population
The law of October 11, 1821, proclaimed the Indian a free citizen, equal to the white, and prescribed (Art. 3) the division of the lands of the resguardo (reservations) among the community members "in their full possession and property, when conditions permit and not later than five years." In the 19th century, some Indians were able to achieve fairly high military ranks and administrative posts. An 1890 law provided that the Esguardos would not be governed by the general laws of the Republic, but by special orders, and would be "brought into civilized life" through missions. By 1960, 81 resguardos remained in the country with a total area of 400 thousand hectares (almost all in the southwest). In the 20th century, the struggle of the aborigines for rights led to the recognition by the state of resguardo and to the creation of 158 reservations (reserva) on the outlying lands between 1965 and 1986 with a total area of 12,400 thousand hectares for 128 thousand people. The 1991 constitution recognized local status for aboriginal languages, bilingual education in ethnic communities, and reserved two seats in parliament for the Indians. The Constitution also recognized the right of Aboriginal territories to self-government and to dispose of natural resources. As a result, in 2005, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs of the Ministry of the Interior registered 567 resguardos (the old word also refers to newly formed reservations) with an area of \u200b\u200bmore than 36,500 thousand hectares, on which a little more than 800 thousand people lived in 76,503 families. Decree 1396 of 1996 established the National Aboriginal Human Rights Commission.
The vast majority of Colombians are Christians
(95.7%). Christianity (in the form of Catholicism) entered the territory
of modern Colombia along with the Spanish colonizers and quickly spread
among the local population. Protestants appeared in Colombia in the 19th
century, and Orthodox in the 20th century. Since the middle of the 20th
century, there has been a massive outflow of believers from the Catholic
Church and a transition to various Protestant communities; by the
beginning of the 21st century, the proportion of Catholics in the total
population of the country had decreased to 79%. The number of
Protestants is estimated at 10% to 17%; first of all, these are
Pentecostals (2.9 million). Orthodox (Mr. migrants from the Middle East)
- 12 thousand people.
In Colombia, traditional Indian religions have also been preserved, the supporters of which are 305 thousand people. Another 490 thousand Colombians adhere to various spiritualist cults, which are a mixture of Indian religions, African religious practices and Catholicism.
Arab immigrants profess Islam (14 thousand). Among the Chinese community there are adherents of the Chinese folk religion (2.4 thousand); part of the Chinese and Japanese profess Buddhism (2 thousand). Hinduism in Colombia (9 thousand) is represented mainly by neo-Hindu movements. Colombia is also home to 70,000 Bahá'ís, 4,600 Jews and adherents of new religious movements.
Approximately 1.1 million Colombians (2.4% of the population) are non-religious.
On the territory of Colombia, there was a merger of
two cultures: European, brought by the Spanish conquistadors in the 15th
century, and local, formed by mixing Indian civilizations and peoples
who left a rich memory of their thousand-year past. The population of
the country is a mixture of descendants of Europeans, Indians and black
slaves brought from Africa. Despite the fact that the country has a
single language - Spanish, and a single religion - Catholic, Colombia is
distinguished by great ethnic and cultural diversity. To the ancient
pre-Columbian civilization, to the unique skill of the Indians in the
manufacture of perhaps the most perfect products from gold and other
materials on the entire American continent, was added the culture and
art of Spain, music, plastic and the traditions of blacks and mulattoes,
the imagination of mestizos.
It was here that mystical realism was born, the greatest representative of which is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is this flavor that is present in the works of Colombian artists such as Fernando Botero, Alejandro Obregon, Guillermo Wiedemann. It is here that tropical dances and music - salsa, cumbia, porro, vallenato - are rooted. It is on this historical basis that the audacious innovation of Colombian culture was born.
Spanish is the official language of Colombia, which is
spoken by almost all the inhabitants of the country (99.2%) with the
exception of some Indian tribes. In total, there are 65 surviving Indian
languages in Colombia, but their number is declining every year. So
they speak two Creole languages, Romani and Colombian sign language,
English is official in the department of San Andrés y Providencia.
School education in Colombia includes English, but few Colombians are currently able to speak it.
There are many dialects of the Spanish language that differ semantically, morphologically, syntactically and intonation. The general characteristics of Spanish in Latin America remain the same for all regions of the country. In the north of Colombia, there is a group of similar dialects spoken by the Carib people (the so-called "costenos"). In the south, in the Andes, a dialect is common that is similar to the dialect of the Ecuadorian mountains and Peru (the so-called "Andean Spanish").
Spanish, spoken by the Colombian Altiplano Cundiboyacense (Spanish: Altiplano Cundiboyacense), is known for its neutral accent and clear pronunciation. That is why it is recognized as one of the most traditional among all dialects of the Spanish language, which is spoken on both sides of the Atlantic.
The languages and dialects of the ethnic groups of the Indians are also official in their territory. About 850 thousand Colombians speak vernacular languages, the most common groups of languages are Chibcha, Tukano, Bora-Vitoto, Guajibo and others.
The traditional music of Colombia reflects the
uniqueness of the national composition of the country. Colombia is
called "the land of a thousand rhythms". On the Pacific coast and in the
central highlands, Creole music with typical Spanish features prevails;
in the interior and in the eastern part, Indian musical culture is
preserved; the musical folklore of the Caribbean coast was influenced by
The main song and choreographic forms of Creole music are bamboo, pasillo, torbellino, guabina, etc. The instrumentation is dominated by plucked strings - tiple (a kind of guitar), bandola, requinto.
Indian music is characterized by a pentatonic scale, an inseparable unity of song, dance and instrumental accompaniment; the predominance of wind musical instruments (reed flutes, wooden pipes - fotuto) and shock-noise instruments (various drums, a manguare xylophone drum, rattles).
Negro folklore is distinguished by its emphasized bipartite, sharply syncopated rhythms, polyrhythm, and the predominance of percussive-noise musical instruments. The most common song and dance forms are porro, cumbia, vallenato, merengue, and rumba.
The most famous Colombian writer is the Nobel Prize winner (1982), the classic of world literature of the 20th century, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The state television and radio company RTVC Sistema de Medios Públicos was established in 1954 as Radiotelevisora Nacional de Colombia, since 1963 - Inravisión (Instituto Nacional de Radio y Televisión - "National Institute of Radio and Television"), includes Canal Uno TV channels (aka Cadena Uno , Televisora Nacional de Colombia, Canal Nacional, launched in 1954), Canal Institucional (aka Cadena Dos launched in 1972), Señal Colombia (aka Cadena 3, launched in 1972), radio station Radio Nacional de Colombia (launched in 1929), Radiónica (launched in 2005).
Telenovelas take up most of the broadcast time, which allows them to reach an economic level that can support the cultural and journalistic space. They outperform the domestic market and are actively spreading abroad, where international companies set the guidelines for the integration of Latin American audiovisual products. To date, their main production is carried out by the most popular TV channels owned by private companies - Caracol Television and Canal RCN.
The national football team is the winner of the 2001
America's Cup. Colombian clubs (Atletico Nacional and Once Caldas) have
won the Copa Libertadores twice. The Colombian team at the 2014 FIFA
World Cup reached the 1/4 finals. Since 2017, the women's football
championship has been held.
Since the 2000s, the Jimbarr has become a particularly popular street sport in Colombia, although it has been successfully developing before that - since the middle of the 20th century.
Colombians have been participating in the Olympic Games since 1932 and have won 19 awards since then, including 2 golds (weightlifter Maria Urrutia in 2000 became the first Olympic champion in the history of Colombia, and in 2012 the second gold was brought to the country by 20-year-old cyclist Mariana Pajon , the winner in the BMX discipline). In general, the 2012 Games in London were the most successful in history for Colombians - they won 8 medals at once in 5 different sports (judo, wrestling, weightlifting, athletics and cycling).
There are many different museums in Colombia: history, archeology, ethnography, weapons, painting, anthropology, gold (this is the only gold museum in the world - 24 thousand ancient Indian products made of gold and emeralds), colonial art. The house-museum of the leader of the struggle for the independence of the Spanish colonies in America, S. Bolivar, is in Bogotá.
Visa-free entry for up to 90 days to the territory of Colombia for citizens of Russia is valid from May 1, 2009.
Holidays and non-working days in Colombia:
January 1 - New Year;
January 6 - Epiphany;
March 19 - Saint Joseph's Day (Joseph);
April 20 - Maundy Thursday;
April 21 - Good Friday;
May 1 - Workers' Solidarity Day;
May 13 - St. Mary's Day;
June 1 - Ascension;
June 22 - Feast of the body of the Lord;
June 29 - Day of Saints Peter and Paul;
July 20 - Independence Day;
August 7 - Anniversary of the Battle of Boyaca;
August 15 - Assumption of the Virgin;
September 20 - Friendship Day;
December 8 - Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary;
December 25 - Christmas.