Useful country information
Land area: 401,042 sq mi (1,038,699 sq km)
Total area: 439,736 sq mi (1,138,910 sq km)
Capital: Bogot, 10.574 million (2018)
Other large cities: Medellin 3.934 million; Cali 2.726 million; Barranquilla 2.218 million; Bucaramanga 1.295 million; Cartagena 1.047 million; Cucuta 913,000 (2018)
Currency: Colombian Peso
National Holiday: Independence Day (7/20)
Population: 47,698,524 (2017 est.)
Population Change: Growth rate: 0.99%; 16.1 births/1,000 population, 5.5 deaths/1,000 population, -0.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population; infant mortality rate: 13.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
Life Expectancy: 75.9 years (2017 est.)
Nationality/Demonym: Colombian (Colombiano/a)
Languages: Spanish (official) 99.2%
Ethnicity/race: mestizo and white 84.2%, Afro-Colombian (includes mulatto, Raizal, and Palenquero) 10.4%, Amerindian 3.4%, Romani <.01, unspecified 2.1% (2005 Census est.)
Religions: Roman Catholic 79%, Protestant 14% (includes Pentecostal 6%, mainline Protestant 2%, other 6%), other 2%, unspecified 5% (2014 est.)
Literacy rate: 94.2% (2015 est.)
Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and Venezuela).
A 40-year insurgent campaign to overthrow the Colombian government escalated during the 1990s, undergirded in part by funds from the drug trade. Although the violence is deadly and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence, the movement lacks the military strength or popular support necessary to overthrow the government. While Bogota continues to try to negotiate a settlement, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.
Four decades of conflict have turned Colombia into one of the world's worst humanitarian hotspots, with millions caught up in the crossfire between leftist rebels, cocaine smugglers and far-right paramilitary militias.
In October 2016 a referendum rejected a landmark peace deal between Marxist Farc rebels and the government to end 52 years of conflict. The deal was four years in the making and its rejection was a shock. Many of the Colombian people were angered that Farc guerrillas were offered congressional seats and non-custodial sentences such as clearing landmines in return for ending the conflict.
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