Meaning of COLOMBIA in English


officially Republic of Colombia

Country, northwestern South America.

Area: 440,762 sq mi (1,141,568 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 41,008,000. Capital: Bogotá . More than half of the population is mestizo, followed by Europeans (about one-fifth), mulattoes, blacks, and Indians. Language: Spanish (official). Religion: Roman Catholicism. Currency: peso. The topography is dominated by the Andes Mountains . To the southeast lie vast lowlands, drained by the Orinoco and Amazon rivers. Colombia's developing economy is based primarily on services, agriculture, and manufacturing, coffee being the principal cash crop. Coca (for the production of cocaine) and opium poppies (for the production of heroin) are grown and trafficked illicitly on a large scale. Rich in minerals, Colombia is the world's largest producer of emeralds and one of South America's largest producers of gold. It is a multiparty republic with two legislative houses; its head of state and government is the president. Its earliest known inhabitants were Chibchan-speaking Indians. The Spanish arrived 0441; 1500 and by 1538 had conquered the area and made it subject to the Viceroyalty of Peru . After 1740 authority was transferred to the newly created Viceroyalty of New Granada . Parts of Colombia threw off Spanish jurisdiction in 1810, and full independence came after Spain's defeat by revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar in 1819. Civil war in 1840 slowed development. Conflict between the Liberal and Conservative parties led to the War of a Thousand Days (1899–1903). Years of relative peace followed, but hostility erupted again in 1948; the two parties agreed in 1958 to a plan for alternating governments. A new constitution was adopted in 1991, but democratic power remained threatened by civil unrest. In the early 21st century, leftist rebels and right-wing paramilitary groups funded their activities through kidnapping and narcotics trafficking.

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