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The Republic Of Colombia

The Republic of Colombia is the fourth largest country in South
America. It is located
at the north-western tip of the continent. Its neighbors are Brazil and
Venezuela to the east,
Panama to the north-west, and Ecuador and Peru to the south. Colombia
is the only South
American country that’s coast is on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean
Sea. There are eight
islands under Colombian rule, and they are San Andres, Providencia, San
Bernado, Islas del
Rosario, Isla Fuerte, Gorgona, Gorgonilla, and Malpelo.

Colombia’s terrain is about 45% mountainous. The major mountain chain
is the
Andes, which is the longest and second highest mountain chain in the
world. The are three
mountain ranges in Colombia that form the Andes. These are known as
Cordilleras, which
means range. The Cordillera Occidental is 680 miles long and is about
6,500 ft. high. This
range is on the western area that stretches from the equator to the
Caribbean Sea. The
Cordillera Oriental is the longest range, at 750 miles long, and 8,530
ft. high and it cuts from
northern Colombia to southern Colombia. The Cordillera Central is
located in the center of
the country and is 689 miles long and 10,827 ft. high making it the
highest cordillera. The
highest mountain point in Colombia is the Sierra Nevada at 19,055 ft.

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high. There are lots of
volcanoes in Colombia. The Cumbal is 17,500 ft. high, the Chiles is
16,900 ft. high, the
Purace is 17,060 ft. high, and the Pan de Azucar is 16,840 ft. high.

The eastern region of Colombia is a grassy lowland. 1/6 of Colombia is
uninhabited glacier
land, and 1/5 is high plateau.

Colombia has many rivers. The most important river is the Magdalena
which is 965
miles long and flows north to the Caribbean Sea. Others are the Meta,
the Amazon, the
Guaviare, and the Putamayo. There aren’t many lakes in Colombia. The
largest lake in
Colombia is Lake Cocha and is not very important.
If it wasn’t for the Andes mountain location, Colombia would have an
extremely high
climate since it is near the equator. However, Colombia’s climate is
strictly related to the
altitude of the land and varies greatly from section to section. The
hot region of Colombia has
an average temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and are from sea level
to three thousand
feet. This area is along the Pacific coast and in the eastern jungle
region. Regions from three
to six thousand feet above sea level have an average temperature of 65.5
degrees Fahrenheit.
This area is in the northern section of the Andes and are mostly
agricultural. Regions from six
to nine thousand feet above sea level have an average temperature of
53.6 degrees
Fahrenheit, and are considered cold. Most Colombians live in this
region. Areas that are
above nine thousand feet above sea level are the severely cold regions
and are and have an
average temperature of below 53 degrees Fahrenheit.

The winter months in Colombia are May, June, July, August, September,
and November. This is the rainy part of the year. Summer months are
December, January,
February, March, and April. This is the dry part of the year. Spring
and Fall do not exist.
The rainiest part of Colombia is the Choco area on the Pacific coast.
It rains on afternoons
and evenings every day of the rainy season. It averages 400 inches of
rainfall per year. The
driest spot is the Guijara Peninsula. It is located in the northern tip
of Colombia, on the
Caribbean Sea. It averages 10 inches of rain yearly.
Because of Colombia’s assorted climate it can grow a wide range of
crops. Only five
percent of Colombia’s land is used for farming, although there is much
more room to be used
for farming. Coffee is the chief agricultural product, and Colombia is
the world’s second
largest producer, after Brazil, because coffee beans grow best at an
elevation between 4,300
and 6,600 feet. Sugarcane is grown in the hot temperate areas of the
country. bananas are
also grown in the warm areas. Maize is grown under most climatic
conditions, except at the
highest elevation. This crop is important to the poor people of the
country. Rice is grown in
the hot and humid regions. A major problem that Colombia faces is the
cultivation of illegal
drugs. The marijuana plants are grown in the Guajira Peninsula, because
of the hot climate,
and the soil is perfect from growing it.

Also, the fact that the peninsula is on the Caribbean coast, makes it
easy to export it on ship.
Colombia supplies half of the marijuana purchased in the Unites States.
Most people think
that cocaine is grown in Colombia, because most of the cartels that
distribute it are from
Colombia, but it is not. It is grown in Peru and Bolivia.1
Other major crops are cotton, potatoes, manioc, wheat, barley, tobacco,
cacao, and beans.
Colombia is one of the predominate livestock producing country in South

The amount of cattle in Colombia is almost as many as people there.
Other livestock include
horses, mules, donkey’s, pigs, sheep, and goats.

Colombia’s aquatic wildlife is found mainly in the Amazon and Orinoco
Rivers, and in
the Oceans. The Orinoco River holds many freshwater species such as
guppies, neon tetras,
and arapaima, which is the largest freshwater fish in the world. The
Amazon hold dangerous
piranhas, which travel in schools of 100 to 1,000, that tear flesh off

The Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea hold dolphins and stingray. Among
the reptiles there
are the anaconda, a water snake, and numerous lizards, and crocodiles.
Among the mammal
wildlife there are the gray-brown puma, the spotted ocelot which hunt on
the plains, and the
jaguar which lives near the streams to feed on the water animals. A
strange animal is the stout
tapir, with it’s skinny legs, dainty hooves, and long snout. The
blood-sucking vampire bat are
found in Colombia, more than anywhere in the world. Colombia has over
1,500 species of
birds such as the hummingbird, eagle, the shiny green jacamar,
Colombia’s most beautiful
tropical bird, the parakeet, and the toucan.

Colombia’s history began at about 5,000 B.C. when Indian groups roamed
territory. About one third of them were of the Chibca tribe, who lived
where Bogota is now
located. The town Bogota, which is currently the country’s capital, was
named after Bacata, a
Chibchan chief2. The Chibchans lived in villages and were organized by
class, and the
people’s rank was inherited from their mother. They mined gold, and
farmed maize, beans,
and potatoes. Another tribe was the Quimbaya, who lived on the western
slopes of the
Cordillera Central.Like the Chibcha, these people were very skilled
in making gold objects
such as nose rings, ornaments, and necklaces.

The rumors and stories of these Indian tribes making gold objects, lead
explorers to come to Colombia looking for El Dorado. There was a legend
that there was a
kingdom of gold known as El Dorado who’s where abouts were unknown.
Colombia is named after Christopher Columbus, although he never been on
Colombian mainland. On 1502 he sailed the Colombian shores. Colombia
was actually
discovered by Alonso de Ojeda, who was one of Christopher Columbus’s
men, in 1500. He
was looking for El Dorado, but didn’t find it. Him and his men stole
many gold objects from
the Indian tribes, who were very skilled goldsmiths, and took them back
to Spain.
From the period of 1499 to 1550, Colombian conquest and colonization
Rodrigo de Bastidas founded the first permanent settlement in 1525
called Santa Marta. In
1533 another explorer named Pedro de Heredia founded a settlement called
Cartagena. In
1536 the first expedition into Colombia’s interior was made by Gonzalo
Jimenez de Quesada.

He lead his expedition up the Magdalena River. He eventually founded
the settlement of
Bogota. All these conquerors conquered the land for the possession of

In 1549, King Charles V of Spain created something called an audencia
of Colombia.
An audencia is an administrative body headed by a representative of the
king. It provided
courts, a legislature, and a civil government for Colombia. The
conquest by Spain gave
Colombia the Spanish language, the Roman Catholic Church and the Spanish
love of
literature. In 1717 Colombia was made part of a kingdom which included
Ecuador, and Panama. This kingdom was called “The Kingdom of New
Granada”, and was
owned by Spain, but in more distant way when Colombia was separate.

By 1795 the New Granada people were unsatisfied with the way the
Spaniards ruled.

Taxes were way to high, and it all went to Madrid. Also, they weren’t
getting treated
humanely by Spain. Word had spread out around the area of French
colonies rebelling for
independence. When Napoleon’s forces invaded Spain, the leaders
decided to take
advantage of Spain’s weakness and proposed independence on July 20,
1810. Spain refused
and reestablished it’s self control over New Granada. On August 7,
1819, Simon Bolivar of
Venezuela organized and lead an attack, and defeated the Spanish forces
at the Battle of
Boyaca. A few months later, Venezuela and Colombia were united to form
the Greater
Colombian Confederation. Simon Bolivar was President. In 1830, the
Confederation ended
because Venezuela wanted independence.

Today, Colombia is a parliamentary republic with presidential elections
held every
four years. The congress holds sessions every year between July and
December and consists
of two houses the Chamber of Deputies, which has 131 elected members,
and the Senate
with 63 members. The President appoints cabinet members and cheifs of
Colombia is divided into 23 departments, and the president appoints a
governer to head each
department. The current president is Cesar Gaviria Trujillo.

Colombia’s population today is approximately 34,296,000. 95% of these
people are
Roman Catholic. The capital, Bogota has an estimated 4,921,00 people,
and the second
largest city, Cali, has 1,624,00 people. After Mexico and Brazil,
Colombia is the third most
populolus country in Latin America.3 About one half of the population
today is mestizo, a
mixture of Indian and European descent.4 Europeans are about one fifth
of the population,
and and there are some blacks, and about 400 Indian tribes.Words
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