The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. Colombia was the first constitutional government in South America, and an important promoter of the Pan American organizations, initially through the Congress of Panama and later, during the 20th century as founder of the Organization of American States.
The Liberal and Conservative parties, founded in 18, are two of the oldest surviving political parties in the Americas.
The word "Colombia" comes from Christopher Columbus (Italian: Cristoforo Colombo; Spanish: Cristóbal Colón).
Fueled by the cocaine trade, this escalated dramatically in the 1980s.
Since 2010 the violence has decreased significantly, with many paramilitary groups demobilising as part of a controversial peace process and the guerrillas losing control of much of the territory they once dominated.
Hunter-gatherer societies existed near present-day Bogotá (at "El Abra" and "Tequendama") which traded with one another and with cultures living in the Magdalena River Valley.
Beginning in the first millennium BC, groups of Amerindians developed the political system of "cacicazgos" with a pyramidal structure of power headed by caciques.
Santa Marta was founded in 1525, and Cartagena in 1533.
Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada led an expedition to the interior in 1535, and founded the "New City of Granada", the name soon changed to "Santa Fé." Two other notable journeys by Spaniards to the interior took place in the same period.Colombia is famous for the production of coffee, flowers, emeralds, coal, and oil.All of these products make up the primary sector of economy.Independence from Spain was won in 1819, but by 1830 "Gran Colombia" had collapsed with the secession of Venezuela and Ecuador.What is now Colombia and Panama emerged as the Republic of New Granada.The majority of the urban centres are located in the highlands of the Andes mountains, but Colombian territory also encompasses Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines.