Colombia is a country located at the north tip of South America. It is bounded by Panama
and the Carribean Sea in the north, by Venezuela and Brazil in the east , by Peru and
Ecuador in the south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Colombia is one of the largest
South American countries at 439, 733 sq. miles, or about the size of Texas and California
combined. Colombia is a mainly Spanish speaking, Catholic country, but has a diverse
population. The capital city is Bogota, and the entire country has a population of about
The Colombian people have a very diverse culture. About 58 percent of the
people are of mixed Spanish and Native American ancestry, or mestizo, about 20 percent
are of unmixed European ancestry, and about 14 percent are of mixed black and white
ansetry, or mullatto. The other 8 percent is made up of blacks, Native Americans, and
people of mixed race. Colombia also has the largest Catholic population in the world.
Colombia’s 1991 constitution, which replaced a charter dating from 1886, gave
Colombia a highly centralized republican form of government. The constitution is based
on three different branches of government: the executives, represented by the president
and his cabinet; the legislative, which is made up of the senate and the house of
representatives; and the judiciary, which is responsible for the legal admisitration. The
president is elected by popular vote, for a four year term. When his term finishes he
cannot be reelected for another term. There is also a vice president. Senators and
representatives are elected in the same year as the president. The senate has 102 directly
elected members and the house of representatives has 165 members. There are seats that
are designated for minority groups such as the Native Americans, who have two seats in
the Senate, and the blacks and guerrillas, who also have two seats in the House of