Join our weekly newsletter.
Articles, news, and ideas.

Languages, people and their cultures.

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!

Colombia

Colombia Guide. Colombia Country Profile.

Country Profile: Colombia.

Fact: Colombia is the only country in South America with a coast on the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

Colombia is a large and diverse country with a wide array of terrains, cultures, languages. The diverse land of Colombia consists of beaches, the Andes Mountains, deserts to the east, many waterfalls, and of course, the Amazon jungle. As diverse as the terrain is, the culture is also with many languages, and a deep history.

:: Background of Colombia ::

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 conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups and illegal paramilitary groups – both heavily funded by the drug trade – escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government, and violence has been decreasing since about 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence. More than 32,000 former paramilitaries had demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) as a formal organization had ceased to function. Still, some renegades continued to engage in criminal activities. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its administrative departments.

:: Geography of Colombia ::

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

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

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

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% permanent crops: 1.67% other: 95.91% (2001) 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.

:: People of Colombia ::

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%

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

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.7% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 190,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 3,600 (2003 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.)