Geography Colombia is the fourth largest country in South America. Colombia has an area of 440,000 square miles, which is about the size of Texas and California combined. On the western side of Colombia there are three parallel mountain chains running from north to south which are part of the Andes mountain range. The western side of Colombia mostly consists of central highlands and flat grasslands. On the other hand, the eastern side of Colombia is mostly low and jungle covered plains. Also, two major rivers that run through Colombia is the Amazon River and the Orinoco River.
Government Colombia is a republic country, it gained its independencefrom Spain on July 20th,1810. Just like the United States,Colombia has three branches of government; the Executivebranch, the Legislative branch, and the Judicial branch. Some ofthe major political parties of Colombia include ColombianConservative Party, Colombian Liberal Party and, Social Party ofNational Unity. The current president of Colombia is Juan ManuelSantos as of last year. To be able to vote in political elections inColombia you will have to be at least 18 years old.
Money The official currency of Colombia arethe Colombian pesos. The officialabbreviation is COP (ISO 4217) but the morecommon one is COL$. Colombian currencyhas the $100 peso coin which has theColombian Coat of Arms on it, $200 with thequimbaya which represents the head of fourbirds, and theres the $500 with the Guacaritree. There are also the $1,000, 2,000,5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 bill. Onthe bills are Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, a leader;General Francisco De Paula Santander, thepoet; José Asunción Silva; a heroine of theColombian Independence, PolicarpaSalavarrieta; a famous scientist, JulioGaravito Armero; and lastly, on the 50,000peso bill, the writer, Jorge Isaac. Although,the bills sound like large amounts of money,$50,000 peso is only about $27.
Natural Resources Colombias natural resources includecoal, natural gas, precious metals, such asgold, silver and platinum, and gems. CoalColombia is now the tenth largest coal-producing country, it is also one of thelargest coal exporting country in theworld. Colombia is the largest coalproducing country in Latin America withover 70 million tons in 2010. In 2010,Colombias average natural gasproduction was over one million cubicfeet a day. Colombia also produces many Silver, Gold and Platinumprecious metals, over 50 tons of gold,over 15 tons of silver, and over a ton ofplatinum in 2010. Colombia is also theworlds top producer of gems, it is famousfor producing emeralds and has produced Emeraldsover five million carats last year only.
School In Colombia school is free, and mandatory for the first five years. Students in Colombia go through eleven years of school, not including nursery school or kindergarten, to get a high school diploma. Most of the schools in Colombia are private schools, not because most families in Colombia are wealthy, but because public schools are harder to get into. To get into a public school you will need good grades, excellent academic performance and be able to maintain this. Since Colombia has a climate difference, cities can start schools at different times. Cities can either start school in January and end in November, or August and end in June. In Colombia the school year is divided into four equal periods. Grades are from 0 to 10, getting below a 6 results in failing a class, and failing more than three times in a year results in being left back.
Families Traditionally, mothers are thehead of a low class family inColombia. Aside from the lowerclasses, fathers were the heads ofthe family and was responsible forearning a majority or the familysincome. When the men were thehead of a family, the women wasdid the cooking, housework, andraised the children. Traditionally,upper class women were notallowed to work, they were onlyallowed to do some volunteerservice. Also, when a child wasbeing baptized, the parents usuallychose godparents, called padrinos.
Tourist Attractions There are many things you could do in Colombia. Some of the most famous tourist attractions in Colombia include scuba diving around Cartagena; listening to Colombia music, and salsa dancing in Medellin, famous for its nightlife and culture; visiting the Gold Museum and Botero Museum in Bogota, the capital of Colombia; and diving into the crystal clear waters of San Andreas, in the Caribbean. Also, you could visit the Colombian Amazon which is the largest tropical forest in the world, or go humpback whale watching on the Pacific coast of Colombia.
History The first Spanish settlement, ofColombia, was Santa Marta found in1525. In 1538, Santa Fe de Bogota wasfound, Bogota became the capital ofViceroyalty of New Granada.Viceroyalty of New Granada includedpresent day Venezuela, Ecuador, andPanama. Simon Bolivar became thefirst president, later, in 1858 a newnation, The Republic of GranColombia was formed after wars ofindependence were fought. Then in1948 an assassination of Liberal leaderJorge Eliecer Gaitan became known asLa Violencia (The Violence). Analliance was formed in July 1957though, eventually the countriesseparated from Gran Colombia andColombia became its own country.
Food There are many types ofColombian food, of course. Theresthe arepa; which is basically breadmade from cornmeal, and is similarto a pancake. Theres the Arroz conCoco; which is coconut ricepudding, which is white rice cookedin coconut milk with water, salt, andsugar. There is also changua whichis creamy soup made with milk,eggs, water, and scallions.Empanadas are also a big part ofthe Colombian meal, empanadasare usually filled with beef orchicken, rice, coriander, andsometimes cheese. Pandebonos arealso popular in Colombia, theyrebread usually made with corn flour,cheese, and eggs. Tamales andpatacones are also popular inColombia.
My Opinion After going to Colombia, I thinkColombia is a great country. There aremany fascinating things about it. The partsI enjoyed the most, during my stay atColombia, were being able to dive and thewonderful beaches. Colombia had crystalclear water and as the sun shone brightly,sunlight reflected off of the water surface.Diving into the water was another coolexperience, when underwater it was like awhole other world. Surrounding yourselfwith the wide ocean is just amazing, thereare tiny fishes swimming all around, andunderwater plants covering the ocean floor.Overall, I think Colombia is a wonderfulcountry to live in, or to take a trip to.