- Country name : Colombia
- Official name : Republic of Colombia.
- System of government : Republic.
- National anthem :
- Area : 1 138 910 km²
- Capital : Bogota
- Border countries : Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador.
- Population : 41,6 millions (2003)
- Language(s) : Spanish
- Religions : Roman Catholic (95%), other (5%).
>Colombia's economy is mainly based on agriculture, in spite of a rapid industrial growth in recent decades.
>Agriculture has traditionally been the chief economic activity in Colombia. Coffee is the principal crop and is mainly exported. Other commercial crops are bananas, cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, vegetables and fruits.
>Colombia is endowed with substantial oil reserves and is a major producer of gold, silver, emeralds, platinum and coal. About three quarters of its electricity is produced by hydroelectric installations.
>The manufacturing sector has expanded greatly in recent decades. The chief industries are the manufacture of foodstuffs, tobacco products, iron and steel, and transport equipment.
>The problems related to the drug trade and the politic violence threaten the country's economic stability, deterring investors and tourists.
>Before the arrival of the Spanish, Colombia was inhabited by various Indian tribes (Chibchan, Carribean, Arawak).
>16th century : Spain begins conquest of the area. Santa Fe de Bogota, the current capital, is founded in 1538 by Jimenez de Quesada. New Granada is the area's name.
>18th cent. : the movement for independence is inspired by the American and French revolutions.
>1819 : Simon Bolivar defeats Spanish and creates the Republic of Gran Colombia with what is now Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador as well as Colombia.
>1829-1830 : Venezuela and Ecuador become separate nations. The remaining territory emerges as the republic of New Granada.
>1886 : A new constitution is proclaimed and the present name of the country, the Republic of Colombia, is chosen.
>In 1899 a brutal civil war broke out, the War of a Thousand Days, that lasted until 1902. The history of 19th century is largely a record of the struggle, frequently violent, of liberal and conservative elements to determine government policy.
>1903 : supported by the United States, the republic of Panama declares and achieves its independence from Colombia.
>For the next four decades, political life remained fairly peaceful, although there was economic and social unrest in the 1920s and the 1930s.
>In 1948 the assassination of the leftist Liberal leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitan plunged the country into a decade of civil strife, martial law and violent rule that cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
>1958 : Conservatives and Liberals agree to form National Front and share all government offices equally for 16 years, in a bid to end the political violence.
>In the 1970s and the 1980s, marxist guerrilla groups, drug cartles and right-wing paramilitary groups plunged the country into violence and instability.
>1984 : Campaign against drug traffickers stepped up following assassination of justice minister.
>1998 : Andres Pastrana is elected president and begins peace talks with guerillas.