General Facts About Colombia

Colombia is in South America bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the north, Venezuela to the east and northeast, Brazil to the southeast, Ecuador and Peru to the south and southwest, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and Panama to the northwest. Colombia has three islands. One is Malpelo on the Pacific Ocean and two that are on the Caribbean in front of Nicaragua: Providencia and San Andrés. Here is a map:

Cr. maps.lib.utexas.edu (University of Texas Libraries)

Colombia, officially Republic of Colombia, is named after Christopher Columbus’ (Italian: Cristoforo Colombo) last name. When Venezuela, Ecuador, and Cundinamarca came to exist as independent states, the former Department of Cundinamarca adopted the name “Republic of New Granada”. New Granada officially changed its name in 1858 to the Granadine Confederation. In 1863 the name was again changed, this time to United States of Colombia, before finally adopting its present name – the Republic of Colombia – in 1886. (1)

Something interesting about Colombia is that even though Spanish is the official language, it also has 68 official languages within its territory including English. English is also the official language in the Island of San Andrés.

Land

Colombia is one of the world’s seventeen megadiverse countries; it has the third-highest level of biodiversity in the world.  Its territory encompasses the Amazon rainforest, highlands, grasslands and deserts. It is the only country in South America with coastlines and islands along both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. (1)

The geography of Colombia is characterized by its six main natural regions that present their own unique characteristics, from the Andes mountain range region shared with Ecuador and Venezuela; the Pacific Coastal region shared with Panama and Ecuador; the Caribbean coastal region shared with Venezuela and Panama; the Llanos (plains) shared with Venezuela; the Amazon rainforest region shared with Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador; to the insular area, comprising islands in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It shares its maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. (1)

The highest mountain in Colombia is located in the Santa Marta Mountains (Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.). It’s called Pico Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus Peak) and it is 18,947 ft (5,775 m) above sea level. (2)

Cr. peakbagger.com

Five cities in Colombia have over one million inhabitants. In order from most to least they are: Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla and Cartagena. Bogotá is the capital and it is the highest city of its size in the world. Here are some photos of the cities:

Bogota. Cr. unsplash. com
Medellin. Cr. Casacol
Medellin. Cr. Conde Nast Traveler
Cr. Wanderlust. com

People

Approximately three-fifths of the population is of mixed European and Indigenous ancestry. People of African and of mixed African and European ancestry account for nearly one-fifth of the population and are mainly concentrated in the coastal departments and in traditional sugar-growing areas such as the Cauca River valley. The European population, which is mainly of Spanish origin, has declined to about one-fifth of the total. Indigenous people constitute only 1 percent of the population, a much lower share than in other Andean countries. Unlike most other South American republics, immigration has never been much encouraged in Colombia, although small numbers from the Middle East, non-Iberian Europe, and East Asia have been absorbed into the population. (2)

Cr. Encyclopedia Britannica
Cr. Lifegate. com
Cr. afrolatinidad
Cr. afusa.com

Flag

The national flag of Colombia symbolizes Colombian independence from Spain, gained on 20 July 1810.  It is a horizontal tricolor of yellow, blue and red. The yellow stripe takes up a half of the flag and the blue and red take up a quarter of the space each.

This flag’s design was originally created by Francisco de Miranda (from Venezuela) for the Gran Colombia, a nation that once briefly united Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. He was inspired partly by a conversation he once had with the philosopher Goethe who said to him: “Your destiny is to create in your land a place where primary colors are not distorted.”

Cr. Wikipedia

The color yellow represents the riches of the country, the wealth of the Colombian soil, the gold, sovereignty, harmony, justice and agriculture, as well as the sun, the source of light. (1)

The color blue represents the sky above, the seas on Colombia’s shores, and the rivers that run through. (1)

The color red represents the blood spilled for Colombia’s independence and also the effort of Colombian people, their determination and perseverance. It represents that although Colombia’s people once struggled, they have since thrived. (1)

Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of Colombia contains a shield with numerous symbols. Perched on top of the shield is an Andean condor holding an olive crown and the condor symbolizing freedom. The national motto, Libertad y Orden (Spanish for Liberty and Order), is on a scroll in between the bird and the shield in black font over golden background. The condor is depicted as displayed (with his wings extended) and looking to the right. (1)

Cr. Wikipedia

This coat of arms was designed by Francisco de Paula Santander, and was adopted via Act 3 of 9 May 1834, with later non-essential modifications according to Ordinance 861 of 1924. (1)

The national flag is draped on each side of the shield. The shield is broken into three portions. In the lowermost portion is a depiction of ships, pointing to the maritime history of Colombia, mainly to the Isthmus of Panama, which was part of Colombia until 1903. Nowadays represents the two oceans that border the country (Atlantic and Pacific). The sails mean the Colombian commerce with the rest of the world and the rising economy. In the middle section, over a field of silver (argent), the Phrygian cap is presented; this being a traditional symbol of liberty and freedom. The topmost section contains a pomegranate over a blue (azure) field, as a symbol of the Vice royalty of New Granada (early colonial name of Colombia back in the 18th century), in the middle flanked by two cornucopias or horns of plenty: the one at the right with golden and silver coins and the one at the left with tropical fruits. This portion represents the agricultural and mineral wealth of Colombian soil. (1)

Do you remember what a Phrygian cap is? It is a symbol of liberty… you can read more about it HERE. Do you remember what other coat of arms of countries we’ve visited had this cap? I’ll tell you the answer in my next post!

Thank you so much for coming along!

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