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Country Profile: Colombia (Republic of Colombia)

1. Geography
Area: 1,141,748 sq.km.; northwest corner of South America; the 4th largest country in the continent. Mountains in west, plains and forests in east.
Population: 42,321,361 in 2000; 49,665,304 in 2010; 59,757,874 in 2025
Capital: Sante Fe de Bogota (6,834,000)
Other major cities: Medellin (3,831,000); Cali (2,950,000); Barranquilla (1,750,000)

2. Peoples
Spanish-speaking: 98.6%
Indigenous Amerindian: 0.8%
Other: 0.6%
Literacy: 70%
Official language: Spanish

3. Economy
Coffee and oil are the main export commodities, along with cocaine. Colombia supplies 75% of the world’s cocaine. The gap between rich and poor is wide.
Exports: Oil, coal, coffee
Main export destinations: US 44.9%, Venezuela 10.5%, Ecuador 3.7%, Germany 3.6%
Imports: intermediate goods and raw materials, capital goods, consumer goods
Main origins of imports: US 30.9%, Venezuela 8.0%, Mexico 5.3%, Japan 4.8%
Currency: Columbian peso (peso)
Peso per $: 2,865 (end of 2002)
GDP $82.4 billion
GDP per head $1,930
Annual growth 2.6% (1991-2002)

4. Politics
Independent of Spain in 1819 as part of Grand Colombia. A separate state in 1831. Polarization between Conservatives and Liberals has given 170 years of partisan politics, dictatorships, and civil wars. Those unrepresented by the two contending parties turned to support a variety of violent Marxist guerrilla groups. Some of the latter have aligned themselves with drug cartels who have their own terror groups, leading to a pandemic of assassinations and kidnappings. Right-wing paramilitary groups have also formed to combat the guerrillas and wage terror wars of their own. The constitution of 1991 and elections of the 1990s were aimed at ending the cycle of violence, but the level of violence has only escalated. In May 2006 Conservative President Alvaro Uribe won a landslide victory, having overcome the threat from left-wing Farc. Uribe is an ally of the USA in the fight against terror and the war on drugs.

5. Religions
Christian: 40,395,739 adherents (95.45% of population)
Non-religious: 1,151,141 adherents (2.72% of population)
Other: 347,035 adherents (0.82% of population)
Traditional ethnic: 296,250 adherents (0.70% of population)
Baha’i: 63,482 adherents (0.15% of population)
Muslim: 46,553 adherents (0.11% of population)
Hindu: 8,464 adherents (0.02% of population)
Jewish: 8,464 adherents (0.02% of population)
Chinese: 4,232 adherents (0.01% of population)
Churches: Catholic (20.106m members)
Seventh-day Adventist (154,329 members)
Jehovah’s Witnesses (102,873 members)
Pan-American Mission (30,000 members)
Latter-day Saints (Morm) (86,826 members)
NT House Churches (60,000 members)
Int’l Charismatic Miss (43,333 members)
Assemblies of God (23,243 members)
Christian Crusade (25,000 members)
Assoc of Interamer. Chs (30,000 members)
Foursquare Gospel (40,000 members)
Chr and Miss Alliance (22,672 members)
Carib Assoc of Ev Chs (26,286 members)
Colombian Bapt Conv (14,201 members)
Assoc of Ev Chs of EC (5,200 members)
Other denoms (418,276 members)

For sources used please click on ‘About Religious Intelligence’



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