85 Interesting Facts About Colombia

Last updated on November 12th, 2017

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#39. Colombia is not only baked by the tropical sun from above but also fried from down below. It lies above the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region where volcanoes and earthquakes are as natural as birds and bees. The ring is 40,000km long, and there are more than 450 volcanoes.

Interesting facts: the Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire. Image credit – Universe today

#40. Tejo is the native and national sport of Colombia. Beer is so common in this game, it’s almost a rule. The game consists of trying to throw a metal disk at a sack filled with gunpowder while being dead drunk.

#41. It’s ColOmbia, and not ColUmbia. Mind your pronunciation because Colombians have a very fine ear for details.

#42. Everyone and everything is sweet in Colombia, including its local alcohol, Aguardiente. It is made from sugarcane and is the best drink to enjoy the Colombian sun.

#43. In fact, Colombia is so passionate about its sugar that it went to war with Peru over it. The eight-month war, known as the Leticia War, started due to a dispute in the sugar trade.

#44. Colombia is even home to many pre-Columbian archaeological sites dating back to before there were European settlements.

#45. When the Spanish came to conquer South America, their foreign European diseases killed most native people, even before any war.

#46. The economy of Colombia is mainly dependent on manufacturing and agricultural exports such as bananas, cut flowers, sugar, and coffee. Manufacturing exports include textiles, chemicals, garments, and metal products.

#47. Colombia is the third largest exporter of coffee in the world after Brazil and Vietnam.

#48. Colombia has been a contributor of very important advances in medicine, biology, geology, physics, mathematics, anthropology, and psychology.

#49. The National Police is a branch of the armed forces and was formed in 1891 in order to enforce the federal laws of Columbia.

#50. There are two major organizations in Colombia these days. They are guerrilla organizations known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia and the Army of National Liberation.

#51. The social security system was developed in 1843 and only applied to military personnel.

#52. Colombia practices a free-market economy that has greatly benefited the country due to foreign investment and foreign trade.

#53. The official language of Colombia is Spanish. All Colombians speak Spanish except for certain populations that live in the Amazonian basin. That’s a higher percentage than Spain itself.

#54. A Venezuelan by the name of Francisco Miranda designed the national flag in 1806.

Flag of Colombia

Flag of Colombia.
The National flag of Colombia. Image credit – CIA

#55. The red and yellow colors of the Colombian flag were adapted from the Spanish flag and the stripe of blue symbolizes the ocean that separates the country of Colombia from Spain. The condor signifies liberty as well as sovereignty, the yellow symbolizes the natural riches of the country while the red symbolizes the bloodshed in the war for independence.

Cultural facts

#56. Colombia is comprised of many regional cultures. Many of the indigenous groups of Colombia have embraced the Spanish cultural influences.

#57. The architecture of the nation reflects Spanish colonial origins from the seventeenth century. There is evidence of Castilian and Moorish architecture in many of the cities in the region.

#58. Colombia is considered to be a hierarchical society and people earn respect due to their position and their age.

#59. The details in the many churches in the country reflect the Medieval and Renaissance eras in Spain.

#60. It’s a big deal when a girl turns 15 in Colombia. But for a boy, it’s a regular birthday. There’s also a name for the special occasion, “La Quinceañera,” and the party that follows is named “Fiesta de Quince.”

#61. Here are some gifting manners in Colombia: For a casual visit, bring a fruit or chocolate. For something elegant, bring imported alcohol. And for a girl’s 15th birthday, only gold.

#62. In Colombian culture, flowers as a gift should only be sent in advance (roses are well liked), while making sure not to include lilies and marigolds, no matter how much of a discount you get. They are only reserved for funerals. 

#63. In Colombia, eyes are everything. Real Colombian men look deep into the eyes while shaking hands.

#64. Upon meeting and departing it is considered to be courteous to shake both hands. A man should also wait for a woman to extend her hand.

#65. Arranged marriages are no longer common in Colombia but residents are encouraged to marry within their class. Men and women are free to date whomever they wish but they need to have a chaperone (a person who accompanies and looks after another person or group of people.)

#66. Most couples date for at least a year before getting married. Most couples are married in the Catholic Church.

#67. Most domestic units consist of a mother, a father, and their children. Upper-class families tend to have many children.

#68. In Colombian households, the father is typically the head of the household and the women raise and educate their children as well as take care of all the homemaking responsibilities.

#69. Lower and middle-class wives normally have to work in the city or in the fields.

#70. Ninety-five percent of the Colombian population are members of the Roman Catholic faith. Over 85 percent of urban Catholics attend mass regularly.

#71. Art is a very large part of the Colombian culture. Many foundations and private individuals are strong supporters of Colombian art.

#72. Colombia began to develop literacy after the Spanish arrived and its literature is still a strong influence.

#73. Natives of the Andes created very detailed and intricate artwork over 2,000 years ago. After becoming colonized, native influences were replaced by European styles.

#74. Colombia has a very diverse music scene. Vallenato is a type of Colombian dance and style of music that originated on the Atlantic coast.

#75. Building relationships is very important in Columbia.

#76. Most Colombians have a maternal and paternal surname and both are typically used. It’s important to refer to people by the correct title and surname so as not to come across as rude.

#77. After friendships become more established greetings become warmer. Women will kiss on the right cheek and men will embrace each other and pat each other on the shoulder to show affection.

#78. Parks are pretty much limited to only the larger towns and cities that were originally founded by the Spanish. Many people gather in these parks to engage in visiting, and other activities and benches are placed close together to encourage socializing.

#79. It is quite common for children to live at home until they are ready to marry. The elders are respected for their life experience and age.

#80. The family is always the very center of the social structure of Colombian culture.

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