Colombia


COLOMBIA

Climate
The climate, however, varies with the elevation. The low regions
along the coast and the deep Patía 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 Bogotá 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 Bogotá 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.

Category: History