Kelly WagnerHistory 141/ Spring 2011Theme 5 Nation Report
Columbia: Geography Located in the Northwest region of South America, Columbia is “characterized” by five main natural regions: the Andes Mountain Range, the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, the Llanos plain and the Amazon Rainforest. Due to the extreme differences in elevation, it gives the country a wide variety of temperatures from the coast to inland. Columbians tend to refer to their climate in zones of elevation. If you are under 2900 feet you are in the “hot zone,” between 2900 and 6500 feet, the “temperate zone,” and then 6500 to 1200 feet, the “cold zone.” About 86% of the country lies in the “hot zone.”
The Andean region is divided upon three “cordilleras.” The Cordillera Occidental, has relatively low peaks at 9800 feet, is the least populated and has dense vegetation. The Cordillera Occidental is divided from the Cordillera Central by the Cauca Valley. The Cordillera Central has the highest peaks ranging from 10,800 feet to 17,600 feet, and is the most densely populated of the three. It is the most active ranges, involving several volcanoes. Between the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera Oriental is the river of Magdalena. The peaks of the Cordillera Oriental ranger from 8200 feet to 8800 feet, with three large basins suitable for settling on. The Caribbean region consists of lowlands, shaped in a triangle, from the northern part of the Cordillera Oriental. Located inland from these costal cities Cartagena and Santa Marta are swamplands, hidden streams, and shallow lakes that support farms and banana and cotton plantations. In the Pacific Region, the climate is not quiet accurate to provide what people need to live. The area is jungle and swamp like, with no way to provide useful resources. In the Orinoquíaregion, located east of the Andes, lies the plains, where there is little population and a unique wildlife. Then in the Amazon region, is home to the rainforest. This is where many grand rivers connect to the Atlantic Ocean.
People The approximate population of Columbia is 44.91 million people, at a growth rate of about 1.4%. The primary religion that consists of 90% of the population is Roman Catholic, while the other 10% are a mix. Different ethnic groups consist of Mestizo (58%), white (20%), Mulatto (14%), black (14%), mixed black-Amerindian (3%), and Amerindian (1%) and they all speak Spanish.
After Brazil and Mexico, Columbia is the third most populous country in South America. In comparison though to how much land Columbia has, its population is not that grand. Life expectancy: Women 76.5 years, men 68.71 years.
The Columbian Flag’s colors: Yellow- a symbol of generosity Blue- a symbol of vigilance, truth and loyalty, perseverance and justice Red- a symbol of hardiness, bravery, strength and velourWhen the flag is flown, it never flys above another flag on the same mast because it symbolizes the superiority of the people over that country.
Culture Most of the Columbian culture can be traced back to Spain. They are responsible for bringing Catholicism, African slaves, the encomienda system, and the system that favored white Europeans, know as the caste system. After their independence from Spain, Columbia turned to France for “inspiration.” Then Columbians started using North American culture like track homes, shopping malls, clothing, and English-language music. As far as public education, from first grade to fifth classes are free, then from sixth grade to eleventh you have to pay to go to school. When you reach the eleventh grade you must apply for the ICFES test, similar to our SAT test. You can choose to go to private school but it costs more than public school. If you are in a public school the day is split in three because there are so many students, a group go from 7 am to 12 pm, 1 pm to 6 pm and 6:30 pm to about 10 pm. Now if you were enrolled in a private school, you would be in class from 7 am to in-between 1:30 and 3:30 pm. At both public and private schools, learning English as a second language is required.
Food is dependent on the region you are living in. For instance in the city of Medellín a traditional dish for these people would be the bandeja paisa. The dish consists of beans, rice, ground meat or carne asada, chorizo, fried egg, arepa, chicharrón. When near the Caribbean coast, spicy cooking is preferred using lobster, fish and coconut rice. Then when in the Amazon cuisine is influenced by Brazil and Peru.
Music takes on a variety of cultures from African, native indigenous and European influences, and modern American and Caribbean influences. The native Columbia music is called Cumbia. Cumbia is a combination of Spanish and African music, brought over by the slaves. They have a dance they do that represents the slaves in their shackles to it. The most popular music styles are Vallenato, salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, and Bambuco. Since pop music has been on the rise Shakira burst on to the scene and is the most recognized Columbian artist in the world. Columbia has a very broad spectrum of art work under it ranging from paintings to gold craftwork. The most famous artist of all Fernando Botero. Throughout 3500 years of history Columbia went through pre history artwork to colonial artwork and modern artwork, all of which was pottery, stone work, sculpture, paintings, and monuments.
History In 1499 Spanish explorers made the first exploration to the Caribbean, led by Rodrigo de Bastidas. Exploration continued to the founding of the Pacifc Ocean, Chile and Peru. In 1525 Santa Marta and then in 1533 Cartagena were founded. In 1535, an expedition led by Gonzalo Jiminez de Quesada, found the “New City of Granada,” which later became “Santa Fé de Bogotá.” Also during this time there were expeditions that founded the city of Cali and the city of Popayán. Then, Nicolas Federman, went over to the Cordillera Oriental, found the Caribbean people of the tribes Chibchan and Carib and eventually conquered them. From the beginning of the conquests by the Spanish rule, there were always rebellions for independence. None were successful enough or had enough energy to keep going, except the rebellions under Simón Bolívar Francisco de Paula Santander. In November 1811 a movement that led to the independence of Cartagena, also led to “the formation of two independent governments,” that fought a civil war. Columbia achieved independence in 1824.
After Columbia’s independence, it went through several years of name changing and became the Republic of Columbia. Then under the influence of the United States built the Panama Canal, which the United States paid $25 million seven years after the completion. On April 9, 1948 the assassination of the Liberal presidential candidate Jorge EliécerGaitán was the last straw between the two political parties and caused years of bloody battles. Between the years 1953 to 1964, the tension started to die down, after 180,000 Columbians had died. The National Front ended that period of tension, known as “La Violencia.” It also ensured the Liberal and Conservatives of governing together from that point on. Throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s the infamous drug cartels moved onto the scene, some having their own illegal armed groups. In 1991, The New Columbian Constitution was ratified. In the recent years Columbia is still being over run by the drug trades, even when their president Andrés Pastrana tries to negotiate. Then during the presidency of ÁlvaroUribe, increased pressure on these illicit groups and over all violence decreased. More people started to travel and tourism increased because of new security.
Sources Wikipedia The U.S State Department Flags and Nations of the World