Colombia ( (listen) kə-LUM-bee-ə, -LOM-; Spanish: [koˈlombja] (listen)), officially the Republic of Colombia (Spanish: República de Colombia ), is a country in South America with territories in North America. Colombia is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, the northwest by Panama, the south by Ecuador and Peru, the east by Venezuela, the southeast by Brazil, and the west by the Pacific Ocean. It comprises 32 departments and the Capital District of Bogotá, the country's largest city.
With over 50 million inhabitants Colombia is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world, with its rich cultural heritage reflecting influences by various Amerindian civilizations, European settlement, forced African labor, and immigration from Europe and the greater Middle East. Urban centres are concentrated in the Andean highlands and the Caribbean coast.
Colombia has been inhabited by various indigenous peoples since at least 12,000 BCE, including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and the Tairona. The Spanish landed first in La Guajira in 1499 and by the mid-16th century annexed part of the region, establishing the New Kingdom of Granada, with Santafé de Bogotá as its capital. Independence from Spain was achieved in 1810, with what is now Colombia emerging as the United Provinces of New Granada. 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. Panama seceded in 1903, leading to Colombia's present borders. Beginning in the 1960s, the country suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict and political violence, both of which escalated in the 1990s. Since 2005, there has been significant improvement in security, stability, and rule of law, as well as unprecedented economic growth and development.Colombia is one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries and has the second-highest level of biodiversity in the world. Its territory encompasses Amazon rainforest, highlands, grasslands, and deserts, and it is the only country in South America with coastlines and islands along both the Atlantic and Pacific.
Colombia is considered a regional actor in international affairs, being a member of major global and regional organizations including the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Organization of American States, the Pacific Alliance, the Andean Community, and a NATO Global Partner. Colombia's diversified economy is the third largest in South America, with macroeconomic stability and favorable long-term growth prospects.