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Colombia History

Colombia - national flagColombia - national flag

Colombia's national flag was officially adopted in 1861 on the basis of the flag used by Greater Colombia (Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama) in the fight against Spain. The yellow color symbolizes Colombia, which by the blue color, the sea, is separated from Spain. The red is the blood that had to be sacrificed to maintain independence.

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Colombia - history

It over 1.1 million km2 large area, which today forms the territory of Colombia, was in pre-Spanish times inhabited by several Indian tribes. Their cultural status could not be measured with the Aztec Empire in Mexico or with the Inca Empire in Peru except in the field of goldsmithing, where they reached a very high level. The legend of El Dorado, the land where even the streets were paved with gold, played a major role during the discovery and colonization of the country in the 1500's. In 1533, the Spaniards founded Cartagena, which was to become an important port city, and in 1538 Santa Fé de Bogotá. During the colonial era, the Catholic Church had a great influence, among other things. due to the Inquisition, which established itself in Cartagena in 1610. The resistance of the Indians led to the need for the introduction of slaves from Africa to work on the plantations and in the mines. During colonial times (1500-1810), the area was called the Viceroyalty of New Granada. The capital Bogotá was the largest gold producer on the continent and one of the most important in the world until the discovery of the major gold mines in California and Australia.

Colombia History

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The three mountain ranges that run through the country have for centuries made communication difficult and meant that the country was divided into four almost independent regions until well into the 1900's. In 1810, Napoleon invaded Spain and deposed the king; the colonies no longer felt obliged to obey the crown, and Colombia declared independence the same year. The protagonist of the war of liberation was Simón Bolívar, the famous liberator of South America. In 1816, Spain recaptured Cartagena and Bogotá, but with the victory of the rebels in 1819 at the Battle of Bocayá, secession was definitively sealed. In 1830, Greater Colombia, which consisted of Colombia, Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador, was dissolved, after which the organization of the independent republic began.

The regional differences that led to a form of natural federalism, the weakness of the central government, a certain anti-militarism and a high degree of political participation on the part of the population led to countless civil war-like conflicts between conservative and liberal groups in the years 1839-1903. The liberals, who drew their ideas from French and British thinkers, represented modernity; the conservatives embodied the tradition and wished to return to the peaceful conditions of colonial times and dreamed of a Hellenistic-Catholic Arcadia in which Bogotá was to be the South American Athens. A feature of Colombia's political life in the 1800's. was that both the Conservatives and the Liberals were not decidedly class parties, but largely enjoyed the support of all sections of the population.

Heads of State (selected)
1821-30'sort Simón Bolívar
1833-37 Francisco de Paula Santander
1845-49 Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera
1861-63 Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera
1863-64 Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera
1866-68 Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera
1880-82 Rafael Núñez
1884-85 Rafael Núñez
1885-88 Rafael Núñez
1900-04 José Manuel Marroquín
1904-09 Rafael Reyes Prieto
1909 Jorge Holguín
1909-10 Ramón González Valencia
1910-14 Carlos E. Restrepo
1914-18 José Vicente Concha
1918-21 Marco Fidel Suárez
1921-22 Jorge Holguín
1922-26 Pedro Nel Ospina
1926-30 Miguel Abadía Méndez
1930-34 Enrique Olaya Herrera
1934-38 Alfonso López Pumarejo
1938-42 Eduardo Santos
1942-45 Alfonso López Pumarejo
1945-46 Alberto Lleras Camargo
1946-50 Mariano Ospina Pérez
1950-53 Laureano Gómez
1953-57 Gustavo Rojas Pinilla
1957-58 Gabriel Paris
1958-62 Alberto Lleras Camargo
1962-66 Guillermo León Valencia
1966-70 Carlos Lleras Restrepo
1970-74 Misael Pastrana Borrero
1974-78 Alfonso López Michelsen
1978-82 Julio César Turbay Alaya
1982-86 Belisario Betancur Cuartes
1986-90 Virgilio Barco
1990-94 Gavira Trujillo
1994-98 Ernesto Samper Pizano
1998-2002 Andrés Pastrana
2002-10 Álvaro Uribe
2010- Juan Manuel Santos

In 1903, Colombia lost the province of Panama due to the interests of international companies in completing the interoceanic canal. Colombia refused to accept their terms, while a separatist movement backed by the United States was willing to sign a treaty. Panama seceded and the canal was completed. In 1903-29, the conservatives had power, and political life was continued according to the 1800's model.

After the world crisis in 1929, the Liberals took over political power and retained it until 1946. Under changing liberal governments, the country's infrastructure was modernized with the construction of roads and railways. A modest agricultural reform was promoted and the search for oil intensified.

In 1946 began one of the worst periods in Colombia's history; it lasted until 1958, is known as La Violencia, 'Violence', and cost over 280,000 lives. The consequences of this period's brutality are still felt today, but there is no agreement on the manifold causes of violence. Conditions in the countryside were in some areas almost medieval with a small upper class having an actual neck and hand right over the peasants. After 1929, a budding and liberal-minded industrial bourgeoisie sought to promote a modernization and industrialization of the country as such; in addition, it was necessary first to change the conditions in the countryside and to modernize agricultural production. At the same time, the development was to be promoted by a more dynamic national market with greater demand and purchasing power. Politically, it became necessary for the liberals to ally with the middle class and with the proletariat both in the countryside and in the cities.

Increased demands brought contradictions to light, and the whole thing exploded into violence in early 1948. Both liberal and communist guerrillas emerged, quickly gaining control of large areas, establishing new forms of administration, and mobilizing thousands of peasants and landless farmers. The Liberals and Conservatives downplayed their opposition and came together in a new alliance to prevent the masses from taking power. However, having lost political control and unable to govern, they handed over power to General Gustavo Roja's Pinilla, who established a military dictatorship.

In 1957, the Conservatives and Liberals succeeded in toning down their historical antagonisms so much that they could form a National Front with the aim of putting an end to the military dictatorship. They agreed to occupy the presidency in turn, and that the two parties should have the same number of ministries and representatives in each of the two chambers of parliament. This parity agreement was complied with until the 1974 elections.

The equal distribution of ministries continued until 1978 after a major conservative and liberal victory over ANAPO (Alianza Nacional Popular), a populist electoral alliance which, in the elections of 19 April 1970, had become the largest opposition group in both chambers. In 1971, ANAPO organized itself as a political party with a program of Colombian socialism. In protest against alleged electoral fraud, ANAPO supporters formed an armed organization, the famous and infamous guerrilla movement M-19 (Movimiento 19 de Abril), which was supported by dissidents from the old communist guerrilla FARC, formed in 1966.

In the 1982 elections, the Liberals gained a majority in both Congress and the Senate, while Belisario Betancur of the Conservatives was elected by an overwhelming majority. At the beginning of the year, the guerrillas suffered a few more defeats, thanks to a paramilitary anti-guerrilla group, Muerte a Secuestradores (MAS, 'Death over the Kidnappers'), which collaborated with the major drug cartels.

In November, Betancur granted amnesty to the guerrillas willing to deposit their weapons and ordered an investigation into MAS. Only a few thousand guerrillas laid down their weapons. The drug cartels responded by killing Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla in April 1984. The government again responded by decreeing a general curfew. Nevertheless, a peace commission succeeded in reaching a ceasefire and a peace agreement in August 1984.

In 1986, the liberal Virgilio Barco became president with such a large number of votes that he was able to abandon cooperation with the Conservatives. His fight against poverty did not provide more peaceful conditions; in the 1990 presidential election, the liberal Gavira Trujillo won, but by then three candidates had been killed in the space of a month. In 1994, Ernesto Samper joined Pizano as President.

The 1980's and 1990's were marked by violence and political and civilian killings, fighting between the guerrillas and the army, and fighting between the army and the armed people of the drug cartels. It is likely that the money of the cartels promoted corruption among politicians and the military, and that there were strong links between drug and guerrilla activities.

In the 1990's, the armed uprising escalated to overthrow the system despite several attempts at dialogue between the parties. The violence came to cover large parts of the country, and the largest of the guerrilla groups, the FARC, grew to 17,000 men.

It also failed to Andrés Pastrana, who took office as president in 1998, to create real peace negotiations, though he in 3 1/2 year lod FARC control a demilitarized area of 42.000 km2 and lead personal conversations with the FARC leadership.

The peacekeepers failed, and the army then jogged the partisans out of their main area. In the 2002 presidential election, Álvaro Uribe passed the post to right-wing law and order candidate.

The fight against the guerrillas intensified during Uribe, but they also succeeded in disarming a large part of the paramilitary militias, just as peace talks were initiated with some of the cocaine barons. The policy has been largely successful, and the number of murders in the country had halved in 2004, despite continued political violence.

The country became a close ally in the United States' "war on drugs", and military spending was sharply increased in the fight against cocaine smuggling and FARC guerrillas. Despite the Uribe government's close ties to the United States, Colombia maintained its relations with US-critical countries in the region, such as Cuba and Venezuela. Uribe was re-elected in 2006 by a large majority.

The already tense relations with neighboring Ecuador and Venezuela developed into a real diplomatic crisis when the Colombian military attacked and killed one of the FARC leaders on Ecuadorian territory.

In 2010, Álvaro Uribe's former Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos won the presidential election, on promises to continue Uribe's line towards the FARC and the drug barons, which he himself had helped to implement as Minister of Defense. Santos was re-elected in 2014.

From 2012, the government and the FARC began negotiations in Havana, Cuba. In June 2016, they led to a historic peace agreement between the two parties and an expectation that an actual peace agreement could be implemented within a short time frame, thereby bringing half a century of civil war to an end.

 

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