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Tuesday 12th December
Colombia Facts
Pico Cristobal Colon and Pico Simon Bolivar are the highest points in Colombia (5,775 m).

The largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America can be found in the San Agustin Archeological Park in Colombia.

The Gold Museum in Bogota houses many pre-Hispanic items made from gold and silver.

Indigenous people known as the Muisca lived in the region before the arrival of the Spanish.

Lake Guatavita, high in the Andes, was a ritual centre of the Muisca.

During a ceremony performed by the Muisca, a chief was covered with gold powder before diving into Lake Guatavita. The story of this ritual gave rise to the legend of El Dorado (the Guilded One).

In the 1530s Spain founded Santa Fe de Bogota, now the capital city of Bogota.

Colombia became part of the Spanish Vice Royalty of Peru (created in 1542).

In 1718 Bogota was made the capital of the Vice Royalty of Nueva Granada which included Ecuador and Venezuela.

Colombia was ruled by the Spanish for almost three hundred years.

In the early sixteenth century Africans were brought to Colombia to replace the indigenous labour. Africans worked on sugar plantations, in the gold mines and on cattle ranches.

Colombia was freed from Spanish rule in 1819 by patriots led by Simon de Bolivar.

Following liberation from the Spanish, Colombia became part of the Republic of Gran Colombia (Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela).

Gran Colombia dissolved in 1830 and Colombia and Panama formed the state of Nueva Granada.

Slavery was abolished in Colombia in 1849.

An estimated one hundred and twenty thousand people died in the civil war known as The War of the Thousand Days (1899-1903).

Panama became independent in 1903.

Between 1948 and 1957 over a quarter of a million people lost their lives in civil war in Colombia.

One hundred and one people were killed in 1985 when guerrillas forced their way into the Palace of Justice.

In 1993 Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug cartel leader, was shot and killed.

An estimated twenty-three thousand people and fifteen thousand animals died when the Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupted in 1985.

In 1999 hundreds of people were killed in an earthquake in Colombia. Cities near the epicenter were Armenia, Calarca and Pereira.

Manuel Elkin Patarroyo is a Colombian who developed a vaccine for malaria. He donated the rights for the vaccine to the World Health Organization.

In July 2008 the Colombian army rescued Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate, who had been held captive by Farc rebels for six years. Fourteen other hostages were also rescued.

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