North America
North America
South America
South America


Administrative divisions (GPS Maps)


People and Society






Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A four-decade long conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups, principally the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) heavily funded by the drug trade, escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government, and violence has been decreasing since about 2002. However, insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large areas of the countryside are under guerrilla influence or are contested by security forces. More than 31,000 former paramilitaries had demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) as a formal organization had ceased to function. In the wake of the paramilitary demobilization, emerging criminal groups arose, whose members include some former paramilitaries. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its administrative departments. However, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders. In January 2011, Colombia assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term.


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Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama

Geographic coordinates
4 00 N, 72 00 W

Map references
South America

Area World Ranking: 26
Total 1,138,910 sq km
Land 1,038,700 sq km
Water 100,210 sq km
Includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, and Serrana Bank

Area - comparative
Slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries
Total 6,309 km
Border countries
Brazil 1,644 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 1,800 km, Venezuela 2,050 km

3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 nm
Continental shelf
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands

Flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains

Elevation extremes
Lowest point Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m
Nearby Pico Simon Bolivar also has the same elevation

Natural resources
Petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower

Land use
Arable land 2.01%
Permanent crops 1.37%
Other 96.62% (2005)

Irrigated land
9,000 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
2,132 cu km (2000)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 10.71 cu km/yr (50%/4%/46%)
Per capita 235 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards
Highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts
Galeras (elev. 4,276 m) is one of Colombia's most active volcanoes, having erupted in 2009 and 2010 causing major evacuations; it has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Nevado del Ruiz (elev. 5,321 m), 129 km (80 mi) west of Bogota, erupted in 1985 producing lahars that killed 23,000 people; the volcano last erupted in 1991; additionally, after 500 years of dormancy, Nevado del Huila reawakened in 2007 and has experienced frequent eruptions since then; other historically active volcanoes include Cumbal, Dona Juana, Nevado del Tolima, and Purace

Environment - current issues
Deforestation; soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
Signed, but not ratified Law of the Sea

Geography - note
Only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea


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  Colombia (Bogota):

  GPS points from Colombia (Bogota)

Quebrada La Dorada Departamento De Santander

Quebrada Vieja Departamento De Cordoba

La Cira Departamento De Santander

Danzante Departamento De Antioquia

Hacienda Malamba Departamento De Sucre

San Antonio Departamento De Tolima

Quebrada La Jabonera Cundinamarca

Arroyo Noquera Departamento De La Guajira
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