Colombia has significant natural resources and its culture reflects the indigenous Indian, Spanish and African origins of its people.
But it has also been ravaged by a decades-long violent conflict involving outlawed armed groups, drug cartels and gross violations of human rights, although, since 2002, the country has been making significant progress towards improving security.
The fourth largest country in South America and one of the continent’s most populous nations, Colombia has substantial oil reserves and is a major producer of gold, silver, emeralds, platinum and coal.
It also has a highly stratified society where the traditionally rich families of Spanish descent have benefited from this wealth to a far greater degree than the majority mixed-race population, providing a ready constituency for left-wing insurgents.
- Republic of Colombia
- Capital: Bogota
- Population 47.5 million
- Area 1.14m sq km (440,831 sq miles)
- Major language Spanish
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 70 years (men), 78 years (women)
- Currency Peso