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Country in South America, bounded N by the Caribbean Sea, W by the Pacific Ocean, NW corner by Panama, E and NE by Venezuela, SE by Brazil, and SW by Peru and Ecuador.
The 1991 constitution, with 397 articles, and one of the longest in the world, provides for a president, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term, and a bicameral congress consisting of a 102-member senate, 99 elected nationally and three on a regional basis, and a 161-member house of representatives, elected nationally by universal suffrage. Although it does not have a fully federal system, Colombia is divided into 32 departments and one capital district, enjoying considerable autonomy, with governors appointed by the president and locally elected legislatures.
Until it was conquered by Spain in the 16th century, the area was inhabited by the Chibcha Indians. From 1538 Colombia formed part of a colony known as New Granada, comprising Colombia, Panama, and most of Venezuela. In 1819 the area included Ecuador and became independent as Gran Colombia, a state set up by Simón Bolívar.
The founding president of Colombia, General Francisco de Paula Santander, imposed strong central control over the disparate regions of the new state. Regional rebellions, such as the revolt of the supremos (1839–42), were put down by later rulers. In 1886, President Rafael Núńez imposed a centralist and authoritarian constitution on the nation.
Not until 1930 was there a peaceful change of the party in power, when Enrique Oleya won the presidency.
In 1948 the left-wing mayor of Bogotá was assassinated, and there followed a decade of near civil war, “La Violencia”, during which it is thought that over 250,000 people died. Left-wing guerrilla activity continued. In 1957, in an effort to halt the violence, the Conservative and Liberal parties formed a National Front, alternating the presidency between them. They were challenged 1970 by the National Popular Alliance (ANAPO), with a special appeal to the working classes, but the Conservative–Liberal coalition continued, and when in 1978 the Liberals won majorities in both chambers of congress and the presidency, they kept the National Front accord.
In 1982 the Liberals kept their majorities in congress, but Dr Belisario Betancur won the presidency for the Conservatives. He sought a truce with the left-wing guerrillas by granting them an amnesty and freeing political prisoners. When the minister of justice, who had been using harsh measures to curb drug dealing, was assassinated 1984, Betancur reacted by strengthening his antidrug campaign.
In the 1986 elections Liberal Virgilio Barco Vargas won the presidency by a record margin. Three months after taking office, he announced the end of the National Front accord, despite a provision in the constitution by which the opposition party could participate in government if it so wished. Vargas declared a new campaign against cocaine traffickers following the assassination in Aug of Luis Carlos Galan, the leading candidate for the 1990 presidential elections. A bombing campaign was undertaken by the cartels in retaliation for confiscation of property and extradition to the US of leading cartel members, but the Colombian security forces scored a major victory Dec 1989 when drug lord José Rodriguez Gacha was killed in a shoot-out with police.
Assembly elections, held Dec 1990, gave the Liberal Party a five-seat lead over the April 19th movement (ADM-19). Under President Cesar Gaviria Trujillo a new constitution, adopted July 1991, prohibited the extradition of Colombians for trial in other countries. As a result, several leading drug traffickers surrendered or were arrested, including the head of the Medellín cocaine cartel, Pablo Escobar. In congressional elections held Oct 1991, the Liberal Party retained its control of the senate. Escobar escaped from prison July 1992 and, following a wave of violence by drug traffickers, President Gaviria declared a state of emergency. Escobar was shot while trying to evade arrest Dec 1993. Ernesto Samper Pizano, a Liberal, narrowly won the June 1994 presidential elections.
A republic in northwestern South America; the major legal crop is coffee but cocaine is also a major export.
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1. A North American river; rises in southwestern Canada and flows southward across Washington to form the border between Washington and Oregon before emptying into the Pacific; known for its salmon runs in the spring.
2. Capital and largest city in South Carolina; located in central South Carolina.
3. Borough in Pennsylvania (USA); zip code 17512.
4. City in Illinois (USA); zip code 62236.
5. City in Kentucky (USA).
6. City in Mississippi (USA); zip code 39429.
7. City in Missouri (USA).
8. City in South Dakota (USA); zip code 57433.
9. City in Tennessee (USA); zip code 38401.
10. Town in Alabama (USA); zip code 36319.
11. Town in Louisiana (USA).
12. Town in North Carolina (USA); zip code 27925.
13. Town in Virginia (USA); zip code 23038.
14. Unincorporated community in California (USA).
15. Unincorporated community in Maryland (USA).
Capital of South Carolina, US, on the Congaree River; Manufacturing includes textiles, plastics, electrical goods, fertilizers, and hosiery, but the chief product is fuel assemblies for nuclear reactors.
The main campus of the University of South Carolina is here. Columbia was laid out as the state capital 1786. It was burned by Union troops 1865, near the close of the Civil War.
River in W North America, 1,215 mi/1,950 m in length. It rises in British Columbia and flows through Washington to the Pacific below Astoria, after forming much of the boundary between Washington and Oregon. This fast-running river has enormous hydroelectric potential and is harnessed for irrigation and power by the Grand Coulee and other major dams. Although it is famous for salmon fishing, the catch is now much reduced. The mouth of the Columbia was discovered 1792. The explorer David Thompson followed it from its source to its mouth 1811.
City in central Missouri, US, NE of Jefferson City, seat of Boone County; It is the site of the University of Missouri 1853 and Stephens College 1833.