Colombia
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Colombia

Background:

Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A 40-year insurgent campaign to overthrow the Colombian Government escalated during the 1990s, undergirded in part by funds from the drug trade. Although the violence is deadly and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence, the movement lacks the military strength or popular support necessary to overthrow the government. An anti-insurgent army of paramilitaries has grown to several thousand strong in recent years, challenging the insurgents for control of territory and the drug trade, and also the government's ability to exert its dominion over rural areas. While Bogota steps up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.

Geography

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Location:

Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama

Geographic coordinates:

4 00 N, 72 00 W

Map references:

South America

Area:

total: 1,138,910 sq km
land: 1,038,700 sq km
note: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, Serrana Bank, and Serranilla Bank
water: 100,210 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly less than three times the size of Montana

Land boundaries:

total: 6,004 km
border countries: Brazil 1,643 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 1,496 km (est.), Venezuela 2,050 km

Coastline:

3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate:

tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands

Terrain:

flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m
note: nearby Pico Simon Bolivar also has the same elevation

Natural resources:

petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 2.42%
other: 95.91% (2001)
permanent crops: 1.67%

Irrigated land:

8,500 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues:

deforestation; soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note:

only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea

People

Population:

42,954,279 (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 30.7% (male 6,670,950/female 6,516,371)
15-64 years: 64.2% (male 13,424,433/female 14,142,825)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 968,127/female 1,231,573) (2005 est.)

Median age:

total: 26.04 years
male: 25.14 years
female: 26.93 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.49% (2005 est.)

Birth rate:

20.82 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate:

5.59 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate:

-0.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 20.97 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
male: 24.92 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 71.72 years
male: 67.88 years
female: 75.7 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.56 children born/woman (2005 est.)

Nationality:

noun: Colombian(s)
adjective: Colombian

Ethnic groups:

mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%

Religions:

Roman Catholic 90%, other 10%

Languages:

Spanish

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.5%
male: 92.4%
female: 92.6% (2003 est.)

Government

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Colombia
conventional short form: Colombia
local short form: Colombia
local long form: Republica de Colombia

Government type:

republic; executive branch dominates government structure

Capital:

Bogota

Administrative divisions:

32 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital district* (distrito capital); Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlantico, Distrito Capital de Bogota*, Bolivar, Boyaca, Caldas, Caqueta, Casanare, Cauca, Cesar, Choco, Cordoba, Cundinamarca, Guainia, Guaviare, Huila, La Guajira, Magdalena, Meta, Narino, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Quindio, Risaralda, San Andres y Providencia, Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupes, Vichada

Independence:

20 July 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 20 July (1810)

Constitution:

5 July 1991

Legal system:

based on Spanish law; a new criminal code modeled after US procedures was enacted into law in 2004; judicial review of executive and legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal

Source: CIA World Factbook