Colombia's history began well over 13,000 years ago, as evidence of human occupation dates to that era.
Over time, many Andean and Caribbean cultures inhabited the area, including the Tayrona, Sinú, Muisca, Quimbaya, Tolima, Calima, Tierradentro, San Agustín, Nariño and Tumaco peoples.
The Spanish arrived along the coastal areas of Colombia in the early 1500s and the country became Spain's chief source of gold; Cartagena and Bogota were founded by mid-century.
Spain eventually increased taxation of the colonists to fund their home-front war expenses, and the subsequent anger and uprising that occurred were the seeds of the revolution to come.
In 1819, Simon Bolivar (a national hero
) and his armies defeated the Spanish, and the independent Republic of Gran was formed; it included Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela.
By the early 20th century, all of the original partners had withdrawn from the association, and in 1905, Colombia was finally on its own.
Since then it has survived a hurricane of political assassinations, internal governmental conflicts, guerrilla activities and drug wars. After all of that it remains one of the most attractive and mysterious countries on the South American continent.
Political and internal unrest, has for the most part, limited tourism to the Caribbean coastal resorts and towns, with special emphasis on Cartagena. International business travel is commonplace (to and from
) the country's major cities.