Columbia Climate


Columbia Climate Essay, Research Paper

The climate, however, varies with the elevation. The low regions along the

coast and the deep Pat??a and Magdalena river valleys are torrid, with mean annual temperatures

of 75?̊ to 80?̊ F. From about 1500 to 7500 ft the climate is subtropical, and from about 7500 to

10,000 ft it is temperate. Above about 10,000 ft is the cold-climate zone, where temperatures

range from 0?̊ to 55?̊ F. The average January and July temperatures in Bogot?? are 58?̊ F and

57?̊ F, respectively. The averages for the same months in Barranquilla are 80?̊ F and 82?̊ F.

Throughout the year, three-month periods of rain and dry weather alternate. Along the Pacific

coast precipitation is heavy. At Bogot?? the annual rainfall averages about 40 in, and in

Barranquilla it averages about 32 in. Dry weather prevails on the slopes of the Eastern Cordillera.

Government Colombia has a Republican form of government. Colombia has a president who is

elected by popular vote. He is chosen by any man or woman 18 years or older. The president can

serve one four year term. He appoints a cabinet which has to be approved by congress. Congress

is composed of a House of Representatives (199 members) and a Senate (112 members). Land

Area The total land area of the country is 440,831 sq. mi. The capital and largest city is Bogota.

Population Characteristics, Religion, and Language The population of Colombia (1993 estimate)

was 34,942,767, giving the country an overall population density of about 79 per sq. mi. About

95 percent of the people are Roman Catholics. Small Protestant and Jewish minorities exist. The

official language of Colombia is Spanish. The racial makeup of the Colombian population is

diversified. About half the people are mestizo (of mixed Spanish and Native American ancestry),

about 20 percent are of unmixed European ancestry, and about 14 percent are mulatto (of mixed

black and white ancestry). The remaining 8 percent is made up of blacks, Native Americans, and

people of mixed race. History In 1538 Spanish conquistadors founded New Granada. In 1717

Bogota became the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Granada which consisted of present-day

Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. In 1819 Simon Bolivar defeated Spanish troops

near Bogota and became the first president of the new republic of Gran Colombia. Currency The

basic unit of currency is the Colombian peso (829 pesos equal U.S.$1; 1994). Natural Resources

The mineral resources of the country are varied and extensive. Colombia is the major world

source of emeralds. Other significant reserves include petroleum and natural gas, coal, gold,

silver, iron ore, salt, platinum, and some uranium. Compulsive Age Of Education There isn’t a

standard age for the beginning of education for the Colombian child. All that is required is five

years of education for each student. 85% of all Colombian children over age 15 can read and

write. To make a comparison, in the United States schooling begins at age 5 and is mandatory to

age 16. ————————————————————–

Colombia, in the northwestern part of South America, is the only country on that continent that

borders both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is nearly equal in size to the combined areas of

California and Texas. Colombia is bordered by Panama on the northwest, on the east by

Venezuela and Brazil, and on the southwest by Peru and Ecuador. Through the western half of

the country, three Andean ranges run north and south, merging into one at the Ecuadorean

border. The eastern half is a low, jungle-covered plain, drained by spurs of the Amazon and

Orinoco Rivers, inhabited mostly by isolated, tropical-forest Indian tribes. The fertile plateau and

valley of the eastern range are the most densely populated parts of the country.




Little is known about the various Indian tribes who inhabited Colombia before the Spanish

arrived. In 1510 Spaniards founded Darien, the first permanent European settlement on the

American mainland. In 1538 they established the colony of New Granada, the area’s name until


After a 14-year struggle, in which Sim??n Bol??var’s Venezuelan troops won the battle of

Boyac?? in Colombia on Aug. 7, 1819, independence was attained in 1824. Bol??var united

Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador in the Republic of Greater Colombia (1819??30),

but lost Venezuela and Ecuador to separatists. Two political parties dominated the region: the

Conservatives believed in a strong central government and a powerful church; the Liberals

believed in a decentralized government, strong regional power, and a less influential role for the

church. Bol??var was himself a Conservative, while his vice president, Francisco de Paula

Santander, was the founder of the Liberal Party.

Santander served as president between 1832 and 1836, a period of relative stability, but by 1840

civil war erupted. Other periods of Liberal dominance (1849??57 and 1861??80), which sought

to disestablish the Roman Catholic Church, were marked by insurrection. Nine different

governments followed, each rewriting the constitution. In 1861, the country was called the

United States of New Granada, in 1863 it became the United States of Colombia, and in 1885, it

became the Republic of Colombia. In 1899 a brutal civil war broke out, the War of a Thousand

Days, that lasted until 1902. The following year, Colombia lost its claims to Panama because it

refused to ratify the lease to the U.S. of the Canal Zone. Panama declared its independence in

1903 and went ahead with the creation of the U.S. deal.

The Conservatives held power until 1930, when revolutionary pressure put the Liberals back in

power. The Liberal administrations of Enrique Olaya Herrera and Alfonso L??pez (1930??38)

were marked by social reforms that failed to solve the country’s problems, and in 1946,

insurrection and banditry broke out, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives by 1958. Laureano

G??mez (1950??53); the army chief of staff, Gen. Gustavo Rojas Pinilla (1953??56); and a

military junta (1956??57) sought to curb disorder by repression.

The Liberals won a solid majority in 1982, but a party split enabled Belisario Betancur Cuartas,

the Conservative candidate, to win the presidency on May 31. After his inauguration, he ended

the state of siege that had existed almost continuously for 34 years. In an official war against

drug trafficking, Colombia became a public battleground with bombs, killings, and kidnappings.

In 1989 a leading presidential candidate, Luis Carlos Gal??n, was murdered. In an effort to quell

the terror, President Gaviria proposed lenient punishment in exchange for surrender by the

leading drug dealers. In addition, in 1991 the constitutional convention voted to ban extradition.

In July 1992 Pablo Escobar of the Medell??n drug cartel escaped from prison in an operation that

left six dead. He died the next year, but the Medell??n drug cartel continues to operate.

In the country’s closest presidential contest in 24 years, Ernesto Samper, the candidate of the

Liberal Party, won 50% of the vote in June 1994. Amid allegations of having accepted campaign

contributions from drug traffickers, Samper in May 1996 ordered emergency security measures

in southern Colombia to fight leftist rebels, but the House of Representatives absolved him of the

charges by a 111??43 vote. In 1997 a constitutional amendment that allowed for nonretroactive

extradition was passed. Civil unrest, intermittent guerrilla clashes, and drug wars continued

through 1999.

Republic of Colombia

National name: Rep??blica de Colombia

President: Andr??s Pastrana Arango (1998)

Area: 439,735 sq. mi. (1,138,910 sq. km)

Population (1999 est.): 39,309,422 (average annual rate of natural increase, 1.89%); birth rate:

24.5/1000; infant mortality rate: 24.3/1000; density per sq. mi.: 89

Capital and largest city (1993): Santaf?? de Bogot?? 4,945,448

Largest cities (1995 est.): Cali, 1,718,871; Medell??n, 1,621,356; Barranquilla, 1,064,255;

Cartagena, 745,689

Monetary unit: Peso

Language: Spanish

Ethnicity/race: mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Indian 3%,

Indian 1%

Religion: 95% Roman Catholic

Literacy rate: 87%

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (1997 est.): $231.1 billion; $6,200 per capita. Real growth

rate: 3.1%. Inflation: 17.7%. Unemployment: 12.2%. Arable land: 4%. Agriculture: coffee,

cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables, forest

products, shrimp farming. Labor force: 16.8 million (1997 est.); services, 46% ; agriculture,

30%; industry, 24% (1990). Industry: textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear,

beverages, chemicals, cement, gold, coal, emeralds. Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas,

coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds. Exports: $11.4 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.):

petroleum, coffee, coal, bananas, fresh cut flowers. Imports: $13.5 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.):

industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products.

Major trading partners: U.S., EC, Brazil, Venezuela, Japan.

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