Colombia History

According to Naturegnosis, Colombia, officially Spanish República de Colombia, German Republic of Colombia, is a state in northwestern South America with (2018) 49.6 million residents; The capital is Bogotá.

The north coast of Colombia was discovered in 1499 by A. de Hojeda and A. Vespucci. 1536–39 subjugated G. Jiménez de Quesada the small, highly developed states of the Muisca in the highlands of Bogotá. Quesada named the country Nueva Granada (New Granada) after his homeland . It was elevated to general captaincy in 1547 and a viceroyalty in 1739, to which Quito (Ecuador) and temporarily Venezuela were also affiliated. Bogotá was one of the cultural centers of colonial America. The most important export product of the colonial era was gold.

Struggle for independence and the “war of the 1,000 days”

The uprising of the “Comuneros” (uprising of the population of New Granada, caused by new financial and tax measures by the Spanish crown, 1780/81) and the occupation of Spain by Napoleonic troops accelerated Colombia’s striving for independence. After the formation of a revolutionary junta and the proclamation of secession from Spain on July 20, 1810, the struggle for independence broke out in Bogotá. Spanish rule was restored by General P. Morillo in 1816, until S. Bolívar’s victory in Boyacá (August 7th, 1819) finally defeated the colonial power.

On December 17, 1819, Bolívar proclaimed the unification of New Granada and Venezuela to form the Republic of Greater Colombia (1821 adoption of a central state constitution), at the head of which he stood as president with dictatorial power. He tried in vain to expand Greater Colombia, which Panama joined in November 1821 and Ecuador in May 1822, to form a South American federal state by incorporating Peru and Bolivia. Particularly motivated opposition to Bolívar’s politics and foreign policy entanglements (war against Peru 1828/29) led to the collapse of Greater Colombia in Colombia (under the name of New Granada), Ecuador and Venezuela in 1829/30.

Under the presidency of General F. Santander (1833–37) succeeded in preventing further fragmentation of the state. A prolonged period of instability began after his death. Liberals and conservatives – organized in parties since 1815 and 1849 – faced each other again and again in political power struggles and bloody civil wars until the middle of the 20th century. Both camps were separated by the question of the structure of the state (federalism or centralized unitary state) and the question of the position of the church. While the conservatives wanted to maintain the influence of the church, the liberals championed a secular state. Contributing to the dispute between the partisans was v. a. the cultural and economic contrast between the old Spanish Creole aristocracy (with latifundia) in the interior (highlands) and the mixed race population, which operated an export-oriented economy in the lowlands and coastal cities. According to the conservative generals Pedro Alcántara Herrán (* 1800, † 1872; 1841–45) and Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera (* 1798, † 1878; 1845–49) came the Liberals to the government. This change of power was also accompanied by gang fights. The constitution of June 15, 1858 transformed the previous Republic of New Granada into the Granada Confederation, a loose union of nine states. On September 20, 1861 this union was named United States of Colombia. The liberal constitution of 8 May 1863 limited the president’s term of office to two years; the individual states achieved extensive independence; the confiscation of church property was ordered. After long civil wars, the Conservatives took power in 1876. The constitution of August 6, 1886 restored the unified state and extended the presidential term of office to six years. Under the conservative governments, Colombia modernized its economy: it has been exporting tobacco since 1850, coffee and bananas since 1900, and oil since 1905. The railway network was expanded. In spite of the economic boom, domestic political tensions persisted: from 1899–1901 there was a civil war (“War of the 1,000 Days”). Through diplomatic pressure, the USA achieved the separation of the province of Panama from Colombia in 1903.

Colombia History


Medellin [Mede jin], capital of the department of Antioquia, Colombia, the Río Medellín, 1 500 meters above sea level in the Cordillera Central, second largest (2020) 2.5 million residents city in the country.

Catholic Archbishop’s Seat; several state and private universities, mining academy; numerous museums; zoological and botanical garden; the most important industrial center after Bogotá: textile, clothing (80% of Colombian production), cement, steel, chemical, pharmaceutical, furniture, tobacco, food industry, mechanical engineering, oil refinery; second most important financial and trade center, cultivation and export of orchids; since 1995 underground, international airport.


Only a few buildings have survived from the colonial era. The oldest churches are the Ermita de la Veracruz with Plateresque and Baroque influences (1682–1712; rebuilt 1791–1802 by José Ortiz) and the Basílica La Candelaria (1786, by José Varón de Chaves, José and Juan María Holguín; dome from 1860), Tower from 1887; with a painting of the city’s patroness from the 17th century) in late baroque style in Parque Berrío. One of the oldest bridges is the brick Puente Guayaquil over the Río Medellín (1876–79, by Heinrich Häusler). The cathedral (Catedral de Villanueva) on Plaza Bolívar was built in the neo-Romanesque style and is one of the largest brick churches in the world (1890–1931, from Charles Carré and Giovanni Buscaglione); the church Templo del Sagrado Corazón (1902-07, by Francisco Navech and Horacio Marino Rodríguez) represents the neo-Gothic style. The Palacio de la Gobernación de Antioquia (1925–28, by Agustín Goovaertz; today Palacio de la Cultura Rafael Uribe Uribe with a historical museum) is one of the most important examples of republican architecture, with influences from various European architectural styles (including neo-Gothic and Neo-Baroque). The Palacio Municipal in the style of Art Deco (1931–37; today the seat of the Museo de Antioquia, founded in 1881 as Museo de Zea, with holdings from the private art collection of Fernando Botero ) and the building complex of the Facultad Nacional de Minas (1940–44, by Pedro Nel Gómez) are adorned with large-format wall paintings by Gómez. The station building (1907–37, by Enrique Olarte and Juan de Dios Higuita) was transformed into a cultural and shopping center in the 1980s under the direction of Alvaro Sierra. Medellin’s modern silhouette is characterized above all by the 175 m high Edificio Coltejer (1968–70). The colonial-style model village Pueblito Paisa on Cerro Nutibara (1977–78, by Julián Sierra) is a return to the region’s cultural past. The La Alpujarra town hall complex, consisting of two sloping high-rise office buildings, was completed in 1987. There are numerous monumental bronze figures by the artist of the same name in the San Antonio Sculpture Park and in the Plaza Botero.

Medellín was founded in 1616 by Francisco Herrera, and has been growing rapidly since the end of the 19th century (rail connection, establishment of coffee cultures).

Medellín is a center of the drug business in Colombia. The terror of the drug mafia (Medellín cartel) has been affecting public life in the city despite some successes of the state power since the early 1980s.

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