Republic of Colombia
Area: 1.2 million sq. km. (440,000 sq. mi.); about the size of Texas, New Mexico, and Arkansas combined; fourth-largest country in South America.
Cities: Capital–Bogota (pop. 7 million). Other major cities–Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena.
Terrain: Flat coastal areas, three rugged parallel mountain chains, central highlands, and flat eastern grasslands with extensive coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
Climate: Tropical on coast and eastern plains, cooler in highlands.
Natural resources: Coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nickel, gold, silver, copper, platinum, emeralds.
Nationality: Noun and adjective–Colombian(s).
Population : 43,593,035.
Population growth rate: 1.46%.
Religion: Roman Catholic 90%.
Education: Years compulsory–9. Attendance–80% of children enter school. Only 5 years of primary school are offered in many rural areas.
Health: Infant mortality rate–20.3/1,000. Life expectancy–men 68 yrs., women 76 yrs. (2006).
Colombia is the third-most populous country in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. Movement from rural to urban areas has been heavy. The urban population increased from 57% of the total population in 1951 to about 74% by 1994. Thirty cities have a population of 100,000 or more.
The nine eastern lowlands departments, constituting about 54% of Colombia’s area, have less than 3% of the population and a density of less than one person per square kilometer (two persons per sq. mi.).
Ethnic diversity in Colombia is a result of the intermingling of indigenous Indians, Spanish colonists, and Africans. Today, only about 1% of the people can be identified as fully indigenous on the basis of language and customs.
Independence: July 20, 1810.
Branches: Executive–President (chief of state and head of government). Legislative–bicameral Congress. Judicial–Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, Council of State, Superior Judicial Council.
Administrative divisions: 32 departments; Bogota, capital district.
Major political parties: Conservative Party of Colombia, Liberal Party, Polo Democratico and a score of small political movements (most of them allied with one or the other major party).
Suffrage: Universal, age 18 and over.
GDP (PPP): $366.7 billion (2006)
Annual growth rate: 5.4% (2006).
Per capita GDP (PPP): $8,400 (2006).
Manufacturing: 35.2% of GDP (2006). Types: textiles and garments, chemicals, metal products, cement, cardboard containers, plastic resins and manufactures, beverages.
Agriculture: 12% of GDP (2006). Products: coffee, bananas, cut flowers, cotton, sugarcane, livestock, rice, corn, tobacco, potatoes, soybeans, sorghum.
Service sector: 52.7% of GDP (2006).
Source: U.S. State Department’s Country Background Notes (2005) and CIA – The World Factbook (2006).