Thursday, June 24, 2010

COLOMBIA - Country profile

Colombia's history began well over 13,000 years ago,

as evidence of human occupation dates to that era.

Over time, many Andean and Caribbean cultures inhabited the area,

including the Tayrona, Sinú, Muisca, Quimbaya, Tolima, Calima,

Tierradentro, San Agustín, Nariño and Tumaco peoples.

The Spanish arrived along the coastal areas of Colombia in the early 1500s
and the country became Spain's chief source of gold ;

Cartagena and Bogota were founded by mid-century.

Spain eventually increased taxation of the colonists
to fund their home-front war expenses,

and the subsequent anger and uprising

that occurred were the seeds of the revolution to come.

In 1819, Simon Bolivar (a national hero) and his armies defeated the Spanish,

and the independent Republic of Gran was formed ;

it included Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela.

By the early 20th century,

all of the original partners had withdrawn from the association, and in 1905,

Colombia was finally on its own.

Since then it has survived a hurricane of political assassinations,

internal governmental conflicts, guerrilla activities and drug wars.

After all of that it remains one of the most attractive

and mysterious countries on the South American continent.

Political and internal unrest, has for the most part,

limited tourism to the Caribbean coastal resorts and towns,

with special emphasis on Cartagena.

International business travel is commonplace (to and from)

the country's major cities.


The current flag of Colombia was officially adopted on December 17, 1819.

The flag features three horizontal bands of yellow (double-width), blue and red. Colors of the flag are commonly interpreted in two ways :

One version indicates that the yellow symbolizes sovereignty and justice, blue as loyalty and vigilance, and red represents the valor shown and the victory achieved during the battles for independence from Spain.

A very popular children's song claims that yellow represents the gold Colombia once owned until the arrival of the Spanish, blue indicates the country's contact with two oceans and red represents the blood that Colombians spent in their struggle for independence from Spain.

National Anthem of COLOMBIA :

Himno Nacional de la República de Colombia (National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia) is the official name of the national anthem of Colombia.

The official announcement came in the form of Act 33 of October 28 of 1920. The law 198 of 1995, which legislates national symbols, its distribution became mandatory in all radio and television in the country both at 6:00 am as at 18:00 h (the latter half, at various times for private open signal and not applicable to national TV channels by cable), and public intervention in the President of the Republic and other official events.

Lyrics :

Spanish lyrics English translation
¡Oh gloria inmarcesible!

¡Oh júbilo inmortal!
En surcos de dolores
el bien germina ya.

O unfading glory!
O immortal joy!
In furrows of pain
the good now germinates.

Cesó la horrible noche,

la libertad sublime
derrama las auroras
de su invencible luz.
La humanidad entera,
que entre cadenas gime,
comprende las palabras
del que murió en la cruz.

The horrible night has ceased,
the sublime liberty
spills the auroras
of its invincible light.
All humanity,
which moans within chains,
understands the words
of He who died on the Cross.

"¡Independencia!" grita

el mundo americano;
se baña en sangre de héroes
la tierra de Colón.
Pero este gran principio,
"El rey no es soberano"[1]
resuena, y los que sufren
bendicen su pasión.

"Independence!" cries
the American world;
soaked in blood of heroes
the land of Columbus.
Still, one great principle,
"The king is not sovereign",
resounds, and those who suffer
bless their passion.

Del Orinoco el cauce

se colma de despojos,
de sangre y llanto un río
se mira allí correr.
En Bárbula no saben
las almas ni los ojos,
si admiración o espanto
sentir o padecer.

The Orinoco's bed
fills with the remains,
of blood and tears a river
is there seen flowing.
In Bárbula they don't know
the souls nor the eyes,
if admiration or horror
feel or suffer.

A orillas del Caribe,

hambriento un pueblo lucha,
horrores prefiriendo
a pérfida salud.
¡Oh, sí!, de Cartagena
la abnegación es mucha,
y escombros de la muerte
desprecia su virtud.

On the shores of the Caribbean,
famished the people fight,
horrors preferring
to treacherous health.
O, aye! for Cartagena
the abnegation is much,
and the shambles of death
its courage despises .

De Boyacá en los campos,

el genio de la gloria,
con cada espiga un héroe
invicto coronó.
Soldados sin coraza
ganaron la victoria;
su varonil aliento
de escudo les sirvió.

From Boyacá in the fields,
the genius of glory,
for every ear a hero
undefeated crowned.
Soldiers without breastplate
won victory;
their virile breath
as shield served.

Bolívar cruza el Andes

que riegan dos océanos,
espadas cual centellas
fulguran en Junín.
Centauros indomables
descienden a los llanos,
y empieza a presentirse,
de la epopeya el fin.

Bolivar crosses the Andes
that two oceans bathe,
swords as sparks
shine in Junín.
Untameable centaurs
descend to the plains,
and a prescience begins to be felt,
of the epic the end.

La trompa victoriosa

en Ayacucho truena,
que en cada triunfo crece
su formidable son.
En su expansivo empuje
la libertad se estrena,
del cielo americano
formando un pabellón.

The victorious trumpet
in Ayacucho thunders,
that in every triumph grows
its formidable sound.
In its expansive thrust
Liberty is worn for the first time,
from the American sky
a pavilion forming.

La virgen sus cabellos

arranca en agonía
y de su amor viuda
los cuelga del ciprés.
Lamenta su esperanza
que cubre loza fría,
pero glorioso orgullo
circunda su alba tez.

The virgin her hairs
pulls out in agony
and from her beloved widowed
hangs them on a cypress.
Regretting her hope
covered by a cold headstone,
but glorious pride
hallows her fair skin.

La patria así se forma,

termópilas brotando;
constelación de cíclopes
su noche iluminó.
La flor estremecida
mortal el viento hallando,
debajo los laureles
seguridad buscó.

Thus the motherland is formed,
Thermopylaes are breaking forth;
constellation of cyclops
its night brightened.
The trembling flower
finding the wind mortal,
underneath the laurels
safety sought.

Mas no es completa gloria

vencer en la batalla,
que el brazo que combate
lo anima la verdad.
La independencia sola
el gran clamor no acalla;
si el sol alumbra a todos,
justicia es libertad.

But it's not complete glory
to defeat in battle,
that the arm that fights
is encouraged by truth.
Independence alone
The great clamour doesn't silence;
if the sun illuminates everyone,
justice is liberty.

Del hombre los derechos

Nariño predicando,
el alma de la lucha
profético enseñó.
Ricaurte en San Mateo,
en átomos volando,
"Deber antes que vida,"
con llamas escribió.

From men the rights
Nariño's preaching,
the soul of struggle
prophetically taught.
Ricaurte in San Mateo,
in atoms flying,
"Duty before life,"
with flames he wrote.

Location :

Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama.

Maps :

Area :

Total : 1 138 914 sq km
Land : 1 109 104 sq km
Water : 100 210 sq km
Note : includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, and Serrana Bank.

Coastline :

3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)

Elevation extremes :

Lowest point : Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point : Pico Cristobal Colon 5 775 m
Note : nearby Pico Simon Bolivar also has the same elevation

Terrain :

Flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains.

Natural resources :

Petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower.

Climate :

Current weather : tropical along coast and eastern plains, cooler in highlands.

Population :

44 205 293 (Estimation 2010)

Nationality :

Demonym : Colombian

Ethnic groups :

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

Religions :

Roman Catholic 90%, other 10%.

Languages :


Country name :

Conventional long form : Republic of Colombia
Conventional short form : Colombia
Local long form : Republica de Colombia
Local short form : Colombia

ISO country code :


Government type :

Republic. Executive branch dominates government structure.

Capital :

Bogotá (population of the city : 7 332 788 - 2010 census ; colombian largest city)

Other major cities :

Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena.

Administrative divisions :

32 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, Bogota*, Bolivar, Boyaca, Caldas, Caqueta, Casanare, Cauca, Cesar, Choco, Cordoba, Cundinamarca, Guainia, Guaviare, Huila, La Guajira, Magdalena, Meta, Narino, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Quindio, Risaralda, San Andres y Providencia, Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes, Vichada.

Independance :

20 July 1810 (from Spain).

National holiday :

Independence Day, 20 July.

Constitution :

5 July 1991 ; amended many times.

Executive branch :

Chief of state : President Francisco SANTOS Calderon (elected on 20 June 2010) ; Vice President (coming soon).
Note : the president is both the chief of state and head of government.

Head of government : President Francisco SANTOS Calderon.

Cabinet : Ministries of the Government or "Government" are composed of the premier and his deputies, ministers, and selected other individuals ; all are appointed by the president.

Elections : president and vice president elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term) ; election last held on 20 June 2010.

Election results : coming soon.

Legislative branch :

Bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of the Senate or Senado (102 seats ; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (166 seats ; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms).

Judicial branch :

Four roughly coequal, supreme judicial organs; Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (highest court of criminal law ; judges are selected by their peers from the nominees of the Superior Judicial Council for eight-year terms) ; Council of State (highest court of administrative law ; judges are selected from the nominees of the Superior Judicial Council for eight-year terms) ; Constitutional Court (guards integrity and supremacy of the constitution ; rules on constitutionality of laws, amendments to the constitution, and international treaties) ; Superior Judicial Council (administers and disciplines the civilian judiciary; resolves jurisdictional conflicts arising between other courts; members are elected by three sister courts and Congress for eight-year terms).

Currency :

Colombian Peso (COP)

Agriculture products :

Coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables, forest products, shrimp.

Industries :

Textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement, gold, coal, emeralds.

Exports partners :

US 38%, Venezuela 16.2%, Ecuador 4% (2008).

Imports partners :

US 29.2%, China 11.5%, Mexico 7.9%, Brazil 5.9% (2008).

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