Colombia: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Colombia including its coffee exports, civil war, and counterfeit money.



Coffee is the principal crop and main export-67% in 1973. Colombia provides over 90% of the world's emeralds. Control over the emerald mines has recently been taken away from the local prospectors and traders, who have run the business for 50 years, and will be offered to a foreign company in an attempt to reduce the smuggling that erodes the government's profits.

The year 1948 marked the beginning of a decade of civil war which followed the assassination of populist leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitan. Two hundred and fifty thousand died during "La Violencia," as this period is known. It was particularly prevalent in the countryside, where villages that had been traditionally liberal or conservative were wiped out by invaders from the other party. The country was ruled by dictators until 1957, when the military ousted Gen. Rojas Pinilla and proposed a compromise solution--a 16-year period of constitutionally ordered alternation of parties in both elective and appointed offices, including the Presidency. By then, much of the rural violence had degenerated into banditry and unprovoked attacks, and a strong governmental effort was made to clear out isolated pockets of violence.

Colombia is the source of 80% of the counterfeit dollars passed in the U.S.--$1.3 million since 1967. It is not against the law to counterfeit U.S. dollars in Colombia.

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