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Colombia is located in the northwest of South America, bordered by Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Panama. The officially accepted name of this country is the Republic of Colombia.
Colombia is a republic by its form of government. The President heads the state and government of Colombia. The term for which the president is elected by the population is four years. Re-election is possible. The parliament is bicameral. This is Congress. It includes the House of Representatives (one hundred and sixty-six seats) and the Senate (one hundred and two seats). Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are elected for a four-year term by the population.
The capital of the Republic of Colombia is Bogota. In administrative division, the Republic of Colombia has thirty-two departments and a metropolitan area. Since 1994, the governors of the departments have been elected by general vote; until 1994, the responsibility for their election belonged to the President of the country. The departments, in turn, are composed of municipalities.
The municipalities are headed by mayors - mayors. Currently, mayors are elected by the people of Colombia. Until 1986, it was the authority of the governors to appoint mayors.
Spanish is the official language. Only small isolated groups of Indians were able to preserve their native language. One of the national pride of the Republic of Colombia is its achievements in the field of art and literature.
Colombia has access to two oceans. On the South American continent, only two states have access to two oceans. The first is Colombia. The second is Chile. Their coasts are washed by the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The main resorts are located on the northern coast of Colombia. As well as the main ports of the country. This is the Caribbean lowland. The subequatorial dry climate prevails here. In the northern part of Colombia is the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain range that rises somewhat apart. Its peak - Cristobal Colon - is covered with snow. This is the highest point in the country (five thousand seven hundred and seventy-five meters). As for the beaches of the West Coast, they are much less attractive to foreign tourists. This region is characterized by high tides and heavy rainfall throughout the year. Powerful mangroves grow in the lagoons along the Pacific coast.
A significant part of the Colombian population is concentrated in the intermontane plains. This is the place where the Andes branches into the Eastern, Central and Western Cordillera - into three parallel ridges to each other. This is the south of Colombia. The Cordillera mountains stretch north for more than three thousand kilometers. Colombia's main agricultural land is also found in the intermontane valleys. However, damage to the economy and the population is caused by the high seismicity of this territory, as well as the presence on it of a large number of both active and already extinct volcanoes.
The Amazonian selva is an uninhabitable territory. It occupies the southeastern part of Colombia and is home to only one percent of the Republic's population. The climate in the Amazonian jungle is humid equatorial. The fauna is rich and varied. The vegetation forms five tiers. The trees reach seventy meters in height. Thus, the selva vegetation is practically impassable.
The equatorial climate dominates the country. Equatorial and subequatorial, to be more precise. In the lowlands, the average monthly temperature is approximately twenty-nine degrees Celsius with a plus sign. From thirteen to sixteen degrees Celsius with a plus sign - these are the average monthly temperatures in the mountains at altitudes from two to three thousand meters. The amount of precipitation grazed is highly dependent on the territory. Thus, in the northeastern part of the Republic of Colombia, only 150 mm of precipitation falls annually, while in the Pacific Lowlands this figure reaches 10,000 mm. The Pacific Lowland is one of the wettest places on the planet.
Colombia is home to many endemic plants. This country is home to approximately ten percent of the endemic plant species on Earth. Colombia's vegetation is diverse. Savannah dominates the northern and northeastern parts of the country, moist evergreen vegetation in the Pacific Lowlands and northern lowlands, and mangroves on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. The vegetation of the Andes depends on the height. Alpine meadows, forbs and shrubs are replaced by light forests, which in turn follow the forests that cover the lower slopes of the mountains. The national tree of the Republic of Colombia is the Ceroxylon quindiuense palm. Colombia's national flower is the Cattleya trianae orchid.
The Colombian fauna is distinguished by its diversity. Hummingbirds, opossums, condors, cougars, jaguars, tapirs, bears, monkeys, sloths, piranhas, butterflies - all these are its representatives. Fish, turtles and crocodiles are abundant in the habitat of rivers. Ducks, cranes, herons and storks are widespread in the humid tropical lowlands. Toucans and parrots are typical inhabitants of the high forest canopy. Buzzards, osprey, eagles, condors are most often found in the highlands.
Colombia's population has increased at a rapid pace for most of the twentieth century. An increase in the population from 11.910 thousand to 18.090 thousand people was observed in the period between the two censuses - 1951 and 1964. In 1973, the population of Colombia was already 23,228 thousand people. Between 1951-1964, the average population growth was 3.2 percent, and between 1964 and 1973, it was 2.7 percent. In 2003, the population of Colombia exceeded forty one and a half million. And this despite the fact that the census could not cover some of the Indian tribes living in hard-to-reach places. In recent years, the rate of population growth in Colombia has slowed slightly, with annual growth close to 1.5 percent. Life expectancy for men is slightly over sixty-seven years, and for women it is approximately seventy-five years.
Colombia is an illiterate literate country. This is not the case, since the literacy rate in cities is roughly ninety-three. As for the countryside. Things are a little worse here. In the villages, about sixty-seven percent are illiterate.
Mestizos are the overwhelming majority of the population of the Republic of Colombia. This is indeed the case. It is estimated that three quarters of the population of Colombia is of "mixed blood". Purebred Indians make up less than ten percent of the Colombian population, and the proportion of descendants of Europeans without an admixture of Indian blood is also insignificant. Mestizos appeared almost immediately after the first Spaniards appeared on the territory of modern Colombia. As for the Indian culture, it has fallen into decay everywhere with the exception of the Amazon basin. In the early colonial period, blacks from the African continent came to the territory of Colombia. The Spaniards brought them here as slaves. African heritage is largely evident among the inhabitants of the Caribbean coast. During the colonial period, immigration was not encouraged in any way, this continued until the twentieth century, when a small influx of immigrants from North America and Spain began to be observed in Colombia. However, even now the overwhelming majority of the country's inhabitants were born on its territory.
Colombia's share of the urban population is significantly higher than the share of the population living in rural areas. In the first quarter of the twentieth century, approximately eighty percent of Colombia's population was rural. By the nineties, more than seventy-five percent of the country's population lived in cities. Mainly, Colombia's urban population growth is dependent on lower urban mortality and intra-country migration. As for the influx of immigrants, it is completely insignificant. The population of cities such as Bogotá, Cali and Medellin has increased significantly.
Bogota is the largest city in the Republic of Colombia. And at the same time the capital of this country. By the end of the twentieth century, the population living in Bogotá was approximately six million. The cities of Cali and Medellin rank second and third in terms of population. Each of these cities is home to approximately 1.8 million people. The fourth step is occupied by the city of Barranquilla. More than one million people live here. In addition, about twenty other urban formations have fairly rapid population growth rates.
Bogotá is the center of political, cultural and economic life. Undoubtedly, the Colombian capital has a dominant role in the political and cultural life of Colombia. However, Medellin is the most important center of economic life in the Republic of Colombia.
The National Congress represents the highest legislative branch of Colombia. It consists of two chambers. The House of Representatives includes one hundred and sixty-two deputies. The Senate consists of one hundred and two senators. The powers of the National Congress include the distribution of public resources, the development of laws and amendments to them, the approval of tax credit policy, the determination of the level of salaries of civil servants, the implementation of amnesty, the determination of the powers and structures of ministries, the revision of presidential decrees, etc. The Senate has the right to bring charges against vice president and president of Colombia to remove them from their posts. In addition, the Senate elects the Attorney General and determines the composition of the Constitutional Court, gives permission to declare the outbreak of hostilities, etc. The House of Representatives has the right to bring charges against senior officials before the Senate, approve a report on the state of the state treasury and budget execution, elect a defender of the people and other Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are elected by the population. Police and military personnel do not have voting rights. Citizens have the opportunity to vote from the age of eighteen. The term of office of representatives of both houses of the National Congress is limited to four years.
The President represents the highest executive branch of Colombia. The President is at the head of the state and government of the Republic of Colombia. He is also the supreme commander in chief of the country, implements foreign policy. The powers of the government allow it to have the right to initiate legislation. The government is accountable for its actions to the Parliament. The draft budget and national development plan are submitted by the Government to the House of Representatives. The President has a leading role in protecting the integrity of the state and its independence, in restoring public order. With the consent of the Senate, the President can declare war. The President approves laws, issues orders and decrees. The term of office of the Vice President and President is limited to four years, they are elected by the population with an absolute majority of votes. There is no right to directly re-elect the president and vice president.
The Supreme Court exercises the highest judicial power. The next steps of the judiciary are the Council of State and the lower courts. In addition, Colombia has a Superior Council of the Judiciary. Its powers include overseeing the activities of legal workers and their promotion. The Supreme Court can administer justice against generals, governors, senators, deputies, the president and other persons, that is, act as a cassation court. In 1991, the Constitutional Court was created in Colombia (in connection with the adoption of the constitution that year). Members of the Constitutional Court are elected by the Senate for a term of eight years. The duties of the constitutional court include observance of the constitution, which must comply with all approved laws, agreements, regulations, etc.
The backbone of Colombia's economy is agriculture. This has been the case for most of the twentieth century. All this time coffee has been the main point of legal export and the leading agricultural crop. From some point on, the role of agriculture in the country's economy began to decline. By 1996, agriculture accounted for twenty percent of GDP, and by 2009, only thirteen percent of gross domestic product. Due to the fact that the relief of a huge part of Colombia is mountainous, the land suitable for agriculture makes up less than twenty percent of the territory of the Republic. Of these agricultural lands, not so much is used for crops. Extensive animal husbandry is practiced on vast territories. Here the soils are less fertile.
Forests cover a large part of Colombia. According to some reports, more than half of the country's territory is covered with forests. Colombia is home to a large number of valuable tree species. However, due to the inaccessibility of forest resources, their value is greatly increased. The share of forestry in the country's gross domestic product does not exceed one percent.
Colombia is a country with a developed fishing industry. This is not the case, fishing in Colombia is poorly developed. This industry plays a very small role in the economy of the Republic.
The development of transport in Colombia has always been complicated by the features of the relief of this country. This is so, because three mountain ranges of the Andes pass through Colombia. Until the middle of the twentieth century, even the largest cities in Colombia remained practically isolated from each other. This fact could not but affect the emergence of strong regional differences. The construction of highways and railways (especially the Atlantic Highway) significantly reduced the degree of disunity. With the development of the transport system, the transport importance of the Magdalena River has decreased. The role of air transport in passenger transportation has decreased. Currently, air travel is the main export route for fruits and flowers grown in Colombia. The Republic of Colombia is the second largest flower exporter in the world. In recent years, the volume of air cargo transportation has increased significantly. In 1996 this figure was equal to sixty thousand tons.
Colombia is a land of fabulous wealth. This is the name Colombia received at the very end of the fifteenth century, when the Spanish conquerors set foot on its territory. A huge part of the "fabulous wealth" was plundered, and there were many of them - more than one thousand tons of precious stones and gold were exported to Europe. This continued until 1819, when independence was proclaimed in Colombia. By this time, the original Indian civilizations were also destroyed. Due to the amazing nature, unique culture, interesting traditions, the Republic of Columbia is currently one of the best tourist areas of the South American continent.True, the dominance of drug lords and the internal conflicts that are tearing it apart do not allow Colombia to be appreciated at its true worth.
The city of Santa Marta is the oldest city in the country. The capital of the Magdalena department, which this city is, was founded in 1525. The founder of Santa Marta was Roger de Bastidas. Picturesque mountain peaks are walled up just outside Santa Marta's urban quarters. In Bogota, there is the Museo del Oro Museum, which contains some of those gold items that were made in the territory of Santa Marta and subsequently escaped the fate of being exported to Europe. According to data for 2005, the area of Santa Marta was about two thousand four hundred square meters, the population of the city exceeded four hundred and fifteen thousand people, and the density was one hundred and seventy three and a half people per square kilometer.
Santa Marta is an important seaport. In addition, it is a center for the development of tourism and culture. For a long period of time, Santa Marta was the base and home of the corsairs of Holland and Britain. This fact can hardly seem surprising. Even today, the city attracts drug dealers and smugglers. However, Santa Marta cannot be called a simple export port, where if travelers drop in, it is only in order to immediately move into the interior of Colombia. Indeed, there is something to see in Santa Marta - the city is rich in sights that will undoubtedly be of interest to tourists. Among them: the Center for the Study of the Heritage of Tayrona, the Citios Historicos building, the Cathedral of Santa Marta, built in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the small Museum of Bolivar, and the Villa La Villa de San Pedro Alejandrino, built in the seventeenth century. It is located just five kilometers from the center of Santa Marta. In this villa, Simon Bolivar spent the last years of his life. The colonial-style mansions of Santa Marta are also of considerable interest - there are several dozen of them in the city. The surroundings of Santa Marta are also rich in sights. The Sierra Nevada del Santa Marta National Park is located within a radius of fifty kilometers from the city. Here you can find a rich variety of landscapes: both dry Andean plateaus and rain forests. Fifty kilometers southeast of Santa Marta is the famous city of Ciudad Perdida - "the lost city of Tyrona". A little to the south of it there are many steep stone stairs and an intricate network of paths. Tayrona National Park is located twenty-five kilometers east of the capital of the department of Magdalena.
Medellin is the most dangerous city in the Republic of Colombia. Perhaps there is no city more dangerous on the entire planet. Approximately five thousand grave crimes are committed on its territory during one year. For comparison: in the most unfavorable cities of the United States of America eight times less crimes are committed per year than in Medellin. The city of Medellin is the second largest city in the country, the date of its foundation is considered to be 1616. The city is the capital of the province of Antioquia. Medellin is located at an altitude of one thousand five hundred and thirty-eight meters above sea level. Despite its notoriety, the population of Medellin exceeds three million people, which are distinguished by a very friendly character. Many people from this city have earned a reputation for being funny and entertaining.
Medellin is a picturesque city. This is true. The color is created by rare Spanish churches, cobbled streets, old quarters, red brick barracks and villas. With regard to climatic conditions, the average temperature in the Aburro Valley, on the slopes of which the city blocks are located, fluctuates around twenty-four degrees Celsius with a plus sign throughout the year. Among the main attractions of Medellin are the following: Plaza Botero, Plaza de Toros la Macarena, Pueblito Paissa, Basilica Metropolitan, Basilica de la Candelaria, Museo de Antioqui (famous sculptor). The city also has a botanical garden Jardín-Botanico-Joaquin-Antonio-Uribe, two stadiums, a university. Orchideorama is the renowned collection of orchids in the botanical garden. Every year in late July - early August, the city hosts a colorful holiday - the Fieria de Las Flores flower festival. The Caballero parade (the number of horsemen sometimes reaches seven thousand) opens the flower festival, culminating in the descent of local people carrying flowers from the slopes. At the height of summer, Medellin also hosts the International Poetry Festival, which is very well known.
Popayan is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. This colonial city has retained a large number of imprints from the colonial era. 1537 - the year of foundation of this city, its founder is Sebastiano de Belalcazar. Currently, the city is a significant center of religion and trade. Among the local attractions that will undoubtedly be of interest to tourists are the Cathedral of the Catedral, the oldest urban church Iglesia de La Ermita (erected in 1546), the church and convent of San Agustin, the Churches of Iglesia de Santo Domingo and Iglesia de San Francisco, Chapel de Belém, Umilladero Bridge, Morro de Tulcan building, Cauca University and a variety of museums. Among the latter, the following deserve special attention: the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the poet Guillermo Valencia, the Casa Museo Mosquera Museum.
The Republic of Colombia is a kind of ethnic mosaic. All the peoples that make up the population of Colombia have contributed to the formation of the way of life, arts and crafts, folklore and culture of the country. A unique community of people was formed thanks to the mixture of African traditions, the Spanish language and, of course, the richest ancient culture of the Indian tribes. Almost all world traditions and phenotypes can be found in Colombia. Residents of the Colombian capital are considered to be fixated on politics and work. The inhabitants of the northeastern regions of Orinochia have a reputation for being withdrawn, but very hardworking people. The inhabitants of the southern departments are talkative, and the Indians of the Amazon are considered reclusive. The latter simply do not tolerate aliens. All of the above speculations belong to people who do not know anything about Colombia. The inhabitants of this amazing country fervently believe in God, honor the history of their country, they are proud and courageous. Colombians know how to express their point of view on a particular issue, they are inquisitive, cheerful and sociable.
The culture of Colombia was greatly influenced by the Indian influence. The pre-Columbian era, indeed, left an indelible mark on the country's culture. The richness of the culture of some Indian tribes is evidenced by many preserved ceramics, statues, temples. Contemporary works of art also bear the imprint of Native American influence.
Folk traditions are very rich in the Republic of Colombia. They reflect Indian, African and Spanish roots. For example, the national dance of Colombia, bamboo, is somewhat similar to the Spanish fandago. The chirimiya musical instrument, somewhat similar to a pipe, has gained great popularity. In 1910, the National Conservatory was founded in the capital of Colombia, and the National Symphony Orchestra appeared in the country in 1936.
The family plays an important role in the life of every Colombian. By tradition, the family includes distant relatives. In Colombia, great importance is attached to such a concept as personal honor. Each family member has a specific role. The female part of the population has a subordinate position in the family; society can be described as practically patriarchal. Women began to take a direct part in the country's public life only in the 1970s. Many women who work are forced to do this due to material shortages (they belong either to the urban poor or to the peasantry). Young people take an active part not only in public, but even in the political life of the country - a certain influence on this circumstance is exerted by the fact that Colombia has a tradition of students' participation in politics. Traditions of this kind are characteristic of all countries of Latin America. However, very few people receive higher and even secondary education in Colombia.
Respectful attitude towards each other is a distinctive character trait of Colombians. Dispute resolution is often the responsibility of the local priest, who acts as an arbitrator. There is no place for open confrontation among ordinary Colombians. A considerable number of difficult issues find their solution at joint meetings. They often involve an intermediary or "attorney". However, almost all of the male population carry firearms with them. At the same time, the ability to wield this weapon is very important. A traveler arriving in Colombia may face a somewhat cold attitude from Colombians. This is due to the fact that the situation in many regions of the country is rather difficult. Local residents, for example, sometimes try not to start a conversation with strangers, take their time to invite travelers to their home, etc. At the same time, Colombians are very friendly people. They can tell the tourist about the sights of this or that settlement, each visitor will be warmly welcomed by the owner of a restaurant or cafe. Clashes between drug lords, gangs, parties, and various groups, ultimately, taught local residents to exercise elementary caution. This kind of caution applies to all foreigners arriving in Colombia. Colombia has a great attitude towards Russians, respects Cubans and has an unfriendly attitude towards Americans. Attending Sunday services and being with your neighbors in Colombia is a measure of the decency of its people.
Colombians are a wealthy nation. You can make a lot of money on emeralds and cocaine in one year, but the overwhelming majority of Colombians rightly believe that you need to earn money not by war, but by work, so most local residents do not live well. Deeds for the good of the country as a whole and for the good of other members of the community in particular - this is the criterion that determines the status of a person in society.
Colombian police officers are some of the best in South America. It is impossible to call their work easy. Several hundred policemen are killed every year in the fight against all sorts of bandits.
Colombians are art lovers. Big fans. An art exhibition or an ordinary collection of reproductions can be found in almost every locality in the Republic of Colombia. And here there is a place not only for the generally recognized world masterpieces of culture. The works of modern authors and the works of ancient Indian masters are also highly valued in the country. Interest in the historical past also explains the desire to decorate the objects of their everyday life. Homes are decorated with the elegance of Colombians. Local folk costumes can also be called very colorful.
Colombians prefer national dress. As for the Indian settlements, this is indeed the case. Most Colombians prefer comfortable and simple clothes, and they dress very democratically. The Colombian will wear all the best before an important event - a meeting of an important guest or a church service. The same is expected from the guests of Colombia.
There are a lot of smokers among Colombians. Actively smoking Colombians can be found almost everywhere, in connection with which an anti-nicotine campaign is being conducted in Colombia. The latter is especially necessary due to the fact that smoking of the overwhelming majority of the population negatively affects the rest of the inhabitants of Colombia. Interestingly, there are even non-smoking areas. Special plates are used to fence them off in a number of institutions in the country. Many women also consume tobacco, although the country has a rule not to smoke in the presence of children and women.