Colombia (GPS: 4 00 N, 72 00 W) located in Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama. The country’s area measurements are total: 1,138,910 sq km; land: 1,038,700 sq km, water: 100,210 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly less than twice the size of Texas. The total irrigated land is 10,900 sq km (2012).
One of Colombia’s essential features: Only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
It’s significant, and simultaneously, the principal city, Bogota’s GPS coordinates, are 4 36 N 74 05 W. Bogota’s local time is the same time as Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC-5.
Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged after the dissolution of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A decades-long conflict between government forces, paramilitaries, and antigovernment insurgent groups heavily funded by the drug trade, principally the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), escalated during the 1990s. More than 31,000 former United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) paramilitaries demobilized by the end of 2006, and the AUC as a formal organization ceased to operate. In the wake of the paramilitary demobilization, illegal armed groups arose, including some former paramilitaries.
After four years of formal peace negotiations, the Colombian Government signed a final peace accord with the FARC in November 2016, subsequently ratified by the Colombian Congress. The agreement calls for FARC members to demobilize, disarm, and reincorporate into society and politics. The accord also committed the Colombian Government to create three new institutions to form a ‘comprehensive system for truth, justice, reparation, and non-repetition, ‘ to include a truth commission, a particular unit to coordinate the search for those who disappeared during the conflict, and a ‘special Jurisdiction for Peace’ to administer justice for conflict-related crimes. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to expand its presence into every one of its administrative departments. Despite decades of internal conflict and drug-related security challenges, Colombia maintains relatively strong democratic institutions characterized by peaceful, transparent elections and the protection of civil liberties.
Colombia’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Colombia, traditional short form: Colombia, local long form: Republica de Colombia, local short state: Colombia, etymology: the country is named after explorer Christopher COLUMBUS. The government is named after explorer Christopher COLUMBUS.
Colombia’s terrain is typically flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains (Llanos). The country’s mean elevation: 593 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m, highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m.
The general climate in the country; tropical along the coast and eastern plains: cooler in highlands.
The total number of border countries is 5, Brazil 1,790 km, Ecuador 708 km, Panama 339 km, Peru 1,494 km, Venezuela 2,341 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Colombia’s coastline is 3,208 km (the Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km). At the same time, its marital claims are territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation. Waterways: 24,725 km (18,300 km navigable; the most important waterway, the River Magdalena, of which 1,488 km is navigable, is dredged regularly to ensure the safe passage of cargo vessels and container barges) (2012). Land use: agricultural land: 37.5%; arable land 1.4%; permanent crops 1.6%; permanent pasture 34.5%; forest: 54.4%; other: 8.1% (2011 estimate).
The population in Colombia 48,168,996 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 76.4% of total population (2015), central metropolitan area’s population: BOGOTA (capital) 9.765 million; Medellin 3.911 million; Cali 2.646 million; Barranquilla 1.991 million; Bucaramanga 1.215 million; Cartagena 1.092 million (2015), while Colombia has the majority of people live in the north and west where agricultural opportunities and natural resources are found; the vast grasslands of the llanos to the south and east, which make up approximately 60% of the country, are sparsely populated. Their spoken languages are Spanish (official language). The main religions in Colombia are Roman Catholic 90%, other 10%. The nation uses civil law system influenced by the Spanish and French civil codes. It is a(n) presidential republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 20 July (1810).
Economic overview for the country: Colombia heavily depends on energy and mining exports, making it vulnerable to fluctuations in commodity prices. Colombia is Latin America’s fourth-largest oil producer and the world’s fourth largest coal producer, third-largest coffee exporter, and second-largest cut flower exporter. Colombia’s economic development is hampered by inadequate infrastructure, poverty, narcotrafficking, and an uncertain security situation, in addition to dependence on primary commodities (goods that have little value-added from processing or labor inputs). Colombia’s economy slowed in 2017 because of falling world market prices for oil and lower domestic oil production due to insurgent attacks on pipeline infrastructure. Although real GDP growth averaged 4.7% during the past decade, it fell to an estimated 1.8% in 2017. Declining oil prices also have contributed to reduced government revenues. In 2016, oil revenue dropped below 4% of the federal budget, and likely remained below 4% in 2017.
A Western credit rating agency in December 2017 downgraded Colombia’s sovereign credit rating to BBB- because of weaker-than-expected growth and increasing external debt. Colombia has struggled to address local referendums against foreign investment, which have slowed its expansion, especially in the oil and mining sectors. Colombia’s FDI declined by 3% to $10.2 billion between January and September 2017. Colombia has signed or is negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with more than a dozen countries; The US-Colombia FTA went into effect in May 2012. Colombia is a founding member of the Pacific Alliance, a regional trade block formed in 2012 by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru to promote local trade and economic integration. The Colombian government took steps in 2017 to address several bilateral trade irritants with the US, including those on truck scrappage, distilled spirits, pharmaceuticals, ethanol imports, and labor rights. Colombia hopes to accede to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Natural resources of Colombia: petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower.
Main export partners for Colombia, South America are US 27.5%, Panama 7.2%, China 5.2%, Spain 4.4%, Ecuador 4% (2015) for petroleum, coal, emeralds, coffee, nickel, cut flowers, bananas, apparel, while the main import partners for the country are: US 28.8%, China 18.6%, Mexico 7.1%, Germany 4.2% (2015) for industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity.
When you visit this country in South America, consider the natural hazards in Colombia: Highlands subject to volcanic eruptions, occasional earthquakes, periodic droughts volcanism: Galeras (elevation 4,276 m) is one of Colombia’s most active volcanoes, having erupted in 2009 and 2010 causing significant evacuations, it has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations, Nevado del Ruiz (elevation 5,321 m), 129 km (80 mi) west of Bogota, erupted in 1985 producing lahars (mudflows) that killed 23,000 people, the volcano last erupted in 1991, additionally, after 500 years of dormancy, Nevado del Huila reawakened in 2007 and has experienced frequent eruptions since then, other historically active volcanoes include Cumbal, Dona Juana, Nevado del Tolima, and Purace, while infectious diseases are degree of risk: high food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever. Note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses a substantial risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016).
Also, note that Colombia faces the following environmental issues: Deforestation resulting from timber exploitation in the jungles of the Amazon and the region of Chocó, Illicit drug crops grown by peasants in the national parks, Soil erosion, soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides, Air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions.