Country of the World Colombia

About the country Colombia, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: Colombia occupies the northwest corner of South America. In Colombia the Andes separate into three principal ranges. The central range is the highest, with snowcapped volcanoes 18,000 ft. high. These three ranges (or cordilleras) have encouraged regionalism and have made communications within the country slow and difficult. They also account for the more or less parallel development of several urban centers--an oddity in Latin American countries, where almost invariable a single vast metropolitan area dominates the national political, economic, and cultural life.

The country's three principal cities, Bogota (3.5 million), Medellin (1.3 million), and Cali (1 million), all lie in the mountainous western part of Colombia. The Oriente, the vast eastern plains or llanos of Colombia, comprises about two thirds of the country's territory but contains less than 5% of the population, mostly Indians living in Colombia's Amazon areas.

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

Population: 26.8 million.

Who Rules: Colombia is a federal republic with separate executive, judicial, and legislative branches. The country is divided into 22 departments with appointed governors and elected legislatures; four comisarias; five intendencias; and the special Federal District of Bogota.

Who REALLY Rules: Although Colombia was once considered an exemplary republic, actual power rests with an entrenched group of political and business leaders of the Liberal and Conservative parties. During the past few years, Colombia has experienced grave unrest, including bloody strikes resulting in scores of deaths and millions of dollars' worth of damage. The government has been widely denounced for corruption, repression, and even torture of political dissidents. Political agitation by leftist groups has increased dramatically, as have guerrilla actions by the pro-Communist Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC).

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