Colombia State Overview

Colombia State Overview

Country names

The name of Colombia was conceived by the Venezuelan Francisco de Miranda to name the union of the current republics of Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, in homage to the one who discovered America, Christopher Columbus.

According to, the surname of Columbus (Colombo) in turn comes from the Latin columbus, which means dove, male of the dove (in Latin columba), an animal that symbolizes peace. The 15 of February of 1819, during the Congress of Angostura, was proclaimed the State that adopted the name of Republic of Colombia, known today as Gran Colombia to avoid confusions with the current Colombia, with sovereignty over the territories of the hitherto Viceroyalty Nueva Granada, Quito and general captaincy of Venezuela. The name was proposed by Simón Bolívar in the Jamaica Letter. The origin of the name is also mentioned in one of the stanzas of the National Anthem, which reads as follows: «… The land of Columbus is bathed in blood of heroes…»

In 1830, it was erected as a republic with the name of the Republic of New Granada, and shortly after it became a federal state under the title of Confederación Granadina, when the constitution of 1858 was approved. It adopted the name of the United States of Colombia in 1863, which in 1886, were definitively constituted, to this day, in Colombia, an action that was protested at that time by the congresses of Ecuador and Venezuela. considering it a unilateral usurpation of the common historical heritage. To refer to the country, the Colombian state uses Colombia and República de Colombia officially, without having made their use explicit.

American military bases

The agreement signed by the Governments of the United States and Colombia, to allow the use of 7 Colombian military bases by the US armed forces and intelligence, will have negative consequences in the hemisphere from which the United States will not get rid.

And it is that this agreement expands a militaristic strategy that has been a source of regional instability and that has failed in its declared objectives, according to the US institutions themselves.

Extraterritorial military operations, refugees, armed combatants, herbicides, increased production and drug trafficking are affecting neighboring countries, as a consequence of this wrong strategy, generating an expansive wave of problems that will only worsen with the recently signed agreement.

The presidents of Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Fidel Castro have questioned the agreement and assure that it is a risk and threat “against the sovereignty and stability of the region.”

The agreement has been signed with a term of 10 years and possibilities of renewal. The pretext used has been the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism, but the reality is a shameful absorption that turns Colombia into overseas territory and creates a springboard that can be used at any time to attack any government that is not very favorable to the interests of the United States. United States government in the region. The initially planned staff was 800 military personnel and 600 contractors, but today there are more than 2,600 contractors and “civilians.”

The military units contemplated are:

  • The army base in Larandia.
  • The areas of Malambo, Palenquero, Tolemaida, and Apiay.
  • The navals of Cartagena and Malaga.

Political-administrative organization

According to the 1991 Constitution, Colombia is made up of 32 departments and a single Capital District (Bogotá). The departmental governments are divided into three powers: The executive branch, exercised by the departmental governor, elected every four years without the possibility of reelection.

Each department has its own departmental assembly, a public corporation of regional popular election that enjoys administrative autonomy and its own budget.

The departments are formed by the association between municipalities. Currently there are 1,120 municipalities, including the capital district, and the districts of Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Tunja, Cúcuta, Popayán, Buenaventura, Turboand Tumaco.

The indigenous territories in Colombia are created in common agreement between the government and the indigenous communities. In cases where indigenous territories cover more than one department or municipality, local governments administer jointly with indigenous councils, in said territories and as established in articles 329 and 330 of the Constitution of Colombia.

Indigenous territories can become a territorial entity when they meet the requirements of the law. Indigenous territories in Colombia cover an approximate area of 30,845,231 ha, which are mostly found in the departments of Amazonas, Cauca, La Guajira, Guaviare and Vaupés, among others.


The presence of tourists went from half a million in 2003 to 1.3 million in 2007, which earned Colombia several international awards. In 2006, one of the best travel guide publishers in the world, Lonely Planet, chose Colombia as one of its top 10 world destinations of 2006. The country’s security improvements were recognized in November 2008 with a review of travel advice on Colombia issued by the British Foreign Office. In 2013, 3,747,945 tourists entered the country, 229 the majority from America and Europe.230 On the other hand, domestic tourism had an increase of 10.3% in 2012 compared to 2011.

Among the tourist attractions are the historic Candelaria neighborhood in Bogotá, the walled city and the beaches of Cartagena de Indias, the Rosario Islands, the beaches and the historic center of Santa Marta, the Tayrona National Park, the desert and the beaches of La Guajira, the colonial cities of Santa Fe de Antioquia, Popayán, Tunja, Villa de Leyva and Santa Cruz de Mompox (especially during Holy Week), the Las Lajas Cathedral in Nariño and the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. Tourists visiting the country during festivals numerous fairs and carnivals as the Festival of Flowers in Medellín, the National Festival of Folklore of Ibague, the Carnival of Barranquilla, the Cali Fair, the Feria de Manizales, the Blacks and Whites’ Carnival de Pasto, the Vallenata Legend Festival of Valledupar, the January 20 Festival of Sincelejo, the Santa Marta Sea Festival, the Ibero-American Theater Festival of Bogotá, the National Reign of Beauty in Cartagena, among others.

The great variety of Colombia’s geography, flora, and fauna has led to the development of an ecotourism industry that is concentrated in the country’s national parks. Among the most important ecotourism destinations are the Tayrona Park and Cabo de la Vela on the La Guajira peninsula (on the Caribbean coast), the Nevado del Ruiz Volcano, the Chicamocha Canyon and the Tatacoa Desert (in the Andean Region), the Amacayacu National Park in the Amazon River basin, and the Malpelo and Gorgona Islands in the Pacific. Colombia has seven sites declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.


The demography of Colombia is studied by the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE). The country has a population of 42,888,592 residents according to the last national census. What makes it the fourth most populous country in America after the United States, Brazil and Mexico.

Of them, 51.4% are women and 48.6% are men. Most of the population is found in the center (Andean region) and north (Caribbean and Pacific region) of the country, while to the east and south (the eastern plains region and Amazon, respectively) there are quite large areas without populations large and generally unpopulated.

The ten eastern lowland departments (approximately 54% of the total area) have less than 3% of the population and a density of less than one person per square kilometer.

The movement of the rural population to urban areas and emigration outside the country have been significant. The urban population increased from 28% of the total population in 1938, to 76% in 2005; However, in absolute terms, the rural population increased from 6 to 10 million in that period.

Regarding emigration, DANE estimates that around 3,331,107 Colombians live abroad, mainly in the United States, Spain, Venezuela and Canada. Those most likely to emigrate are those from the interior of the country and some urban centers, standing out an important contingent of talented intellectuals who are part of the phenomenon called ” brain drain.”

The main causes of this situation are economic difficulties and public order problems, which have made Colombia one of the Latin American countries with the largest flow of emigrants, as well as the second largest internal forced displacement of the population worldwide with 3 million, according to a NUR report.

According to the human development index, Colombia ranked 75th in the world in 2007 with an HDI of 0.791. However, not all regions of Colombia present the same level of development.

The main area of high development corresponds to the Andean region in cities such as Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, which constitute the so-called Golden Triangle.

Colombia became the country with the most homicides per capita in the world, reaching 61 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2000. In 2005, this rate dropped to 38 homicides for every 100,000 residents.

Colombia State Overview