Colombia (/kəˈlʌmbiə/ kə-lum-biə or /kəˈlɒmbiə/ kə-lom-biə; Spanish: [koˈlombja] ( listen)), officially the Republic of Colombia (Spanish: República de Colombia (help·info)),[Note 1] is a country situated in the northwest of South America, bordered to the northwest by Panama; to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; and it shares maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Dominican Republic andHaiti. It is a unitary, constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments.
The territory of what is now Colombia was originally inhabited by indigenous peoples including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona. The Spanish arrived in 1499 and initiated a period of conquest and colonization ultimately creating the Viceroyalty of New Granada, with its capital at Bogotá. Independence from Spain was won in 1819, but by 1830 "Gran Colombia" had collapsed with the secession of Venezuela and Ecuador. What is now Colombia and Panama emerged as the Republic of New Granada. The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. Panama seceded in 1903.
Since the 1960s, the country has suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict, which escalated in the 1990s, but then decreased from 2000 onward.
Colombia is ethnically diverse, its people descending from the original native inhabitants, Spanish colonists, Africans originally brought to the country as slaves, and 20th-century immigrants from Europe and the Middle East, all contributing to a diverse cultural heritage. This has also been influenced by Colombia's varied geography, and the imposing landscape of the country has resulted in the development of very strong regional identities. The majority of the urban centres are located in the highlands of the Andes mountains, but Colombian territory also encompasses Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines.
Ecologically, Colombia is considered one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries, and of these, the most biodiverse per square kilometer. Colombia is a middle power with the fourth largest economy in Latin America, is part of the CIVETS group of six leading emerging markets and is an accessing member to the OECD. Colombia has a diversified economy with macroeconomic stability and favorable growth prospects in the long run.
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