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Colombia is a sovereign state largely situated in the northwest of South America, with territories in Central America. Colombia shares a border to the northwest with Panama, to the east with Venezuela and Brazil and to the south with Ecuador and Peru. It shares its maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Colombia is a unitary, constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments, with the capital in Bogotá.
Colombia has been inhabited by various indigenous peoples since 12,000 BCE, including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and the Tairona, along with the Inca Empire that expanded to the southwest of the country. The Spanish arrived in 1499 and by the mid-16th century annexed part of the region, establishing the New Kingdom of Granada, with Santafé de Bogotá as its capital. Independence from Spain was achieved in 1819, but by 1830 the “Gran Colombia” Federation was dissolved, with what is now Colombia and Panama emerging as the Republic of New Granada. The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation(1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. Panama seceded in 1903, leading to Colombia’s present borders. Beginning in the 1960s, the country suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict and political violence, both of which escalated in the 1990s. Since 2005, there has been significant improvement in security, stability, and rule of law.
Colombia is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world, with its rich cultural heritage reflecting influences by indigenous peoples, European settlement, forced African migration, and immigration from Europe and the Middle East. Urban centres are mostly located in the highlands of the Andes mountains and the Caribbean coast.
Colombia is among the world’s 17 megadiverse countries, and the most densely biodiverse per square kilometer; its territory encompasses Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and coastlines along both the Caribbean and Pacific.
Colombia is a middle power and regional actor in Latin America. It is part of the CIVETS group of six leading emerging markets and a member of the UN, the WTO, the OAS, the Pacific Alliance, and other international organizations. Colombia’s diversified economy is the fourth largest in Latin America, with macroeconomic stability and favorable long-term growth prospects.