Colombia Essay, Research Paper
Colombia stretches over approximately 1,140,000 sq. km, roughly equal to the area of Portugal, Spain, and France put together. Colombia occupies the northwestern end of South America, and is the only country there with coasts on both the Pacific (1350 km long), and the Atlantic (over 1600 km.) Three Andean ranges run north and south through the western half of the country (about 45% of the total territory.) The eastern part is a vast lowland which can be generally divided into two regions: a huge open savannah on the north, and the amazon in the south (400,000 sq. km approx.).Colombia is a country of geographical contrasts and extremes. As well as the features mentioned, it has such curiosities as the desert of La Guajira, the peninsula in the most north-eastern tip of the country; the jungle of the pacific coast which holds one of the world’s rainfall records; and the Serran?a de la Macarena, an isolated mountain formation about 120 km. long, rising abruptly from the eastern plains to some 2500 meters. Colombia also has several small islands. The major ones are the archipelago of San Andr?s and Providencia in the Caribbean Sea, the Islas del Rosario and San Bernardo along the Caribeian coast, and Gorgona and Malpelo in the Pacific Ocean.
Spaniards founded Santa Maria la Antigua del Darien in 1510, the first permanent European settlement on the American mainland. In 1538 the Spaniards established the colony of New Granada, the area’s name until 1861. After a 14-year struggle, in which Sim?n Bol?var’s 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 (1810-1830), but lost Venezuela and Ecuador to separatists.
Bol?var’s Vice President, Francisco de Paula Santander, founded the Liberal Party as the Federalists while Bol?var established the Conservatives as the Centralists. Santander’s presidency (1832-1936) re-established order, but later periods of Liberal dominance (1849-1857 and 1861-1880), when the Liberals sought to disestablish the Roman Catholic Church, were marked by insurrection and even civil war. Rafael Nu?ez, in a 15-year-presidency, restored the power of the central government and the church, which led in 1899 to a bloody civil war