Colombia: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government in the country of Colombia

COLOMBIA

NITTY GRITTY

Location--Northwest South America. Its neighbors are Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador on the continent, and Panama in Central America.

How Created--Originally part of the vice-royalty of New Granada (along with present day Peru and Ecuador), Colombia won its independence from Spain in 1819, through the efforts of Simon Bolivar. The loss of Panama occurred in 1903, when the U.S. and Colombia could not agree on terms for the construction and maintenance of a Central American shipping canal and the U.S. seized the area.

Size--439,737 sq. mi. (1,138,914 sq. km.).

Population--24 million: mestizo, 50%; mulatto, 25%; European, 20%; African, 4%; Indian, 1%. Mostly Roman Catholic with some Protestants and Jews.

Who Rules--A federal republic with separate executive, judicial, and legislative branches.

Who REALLY Rules--Often pointed out as a model Latin American republic capable of handling its own political problems, Colombia is actually run by an elite handful of politicians and businessmen who are members of its 2 political parties. The U.S. has large investments in petroleum, cattle, mining, sugar, and bananas. Colombia has received over $1 billion in U.S. economic assistance since 1961, so the U.S. is definitely a power in the country. U.S. investors include W.R. Grace & Company, ITT, IBM, Standard Oil of California, Phillips Petroleum, Dow Chemical, and Ralston Purina.

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