Columbia is located in the northwestern region of South America. The country is a unitary, constitutional republic, and has 32-departments. Columbia’s territory was originally inhabited by Native Americans before colonization. The Spanish were the first Europeans to reach the region in 1499, and began colonization in the 16th century. This colonization resulted in the creation of the New Kingdom of Granada, with Santafé de Bogotá as its capital.
It wasn’t until 1819 that the country achieved its freedom from Spain. The newly formed nation went through a period of federalism under the Grenadine Confederation (1858), and became the United States of Columbia in 1863. It was in 1886 that the Republic of Columbia finally came to be, and Panama seceded in 1903. Today the country is one of the world’s most linguistically and ethnically diverse countries with an extremely rich cultural heritage. Columbia is also one of the 17-most megadiverse countries worldwide. It is the 4th largest Latin American economy, and the third most populous Latin American country after Brazil and Mexico. Columbia is a member of the UN, the WTO, the Pacific Alliance, OAS, and other international organizations.
Colombia is categorized by six natural regions. The Andes Mountain Region, Pacific Coastal Region, Caribbean Coastal Region, Llanos Plains, insular area, and the Amazon Rainforest region. The country also sits in the “ring of fire,” subject to volcanic activity and earthquakes. As one of the world’s most megadiverse countries, it has several animal species, and is ranked first in the world in bird species. It also has nearly 45,000 plant species, which accounts for approximately 20% of the world’s total global species. It only ranks behind Brazil in biodiversity, which is approximately 7-times larger than Colombia.
Colombia Government & Legal System
The President of Columbia serves as the head of state and of the executive branch; he is followed by the Vice President and Council of Ministers. Presidential elections are held every 4-years, and are voted in by popular vote.
The judicial system in Colombia is charged with interpreting and applying the laws of Colombia in order to resolve disputes and ensure equal justice under the law. The judiciary of Colombia, or Rama Judicial de Colombia involves only one jurisdiction, divided by subject matter. There are four high courts that are the supreme tribunals of decision in their respective areas. These courts are:
Constitutional Court: head of constitutional jurisdiction
Supreme Court: head of ordinary jurisdiction
Council of State: administrative jurisdiction
Superior Council of Judicature: disciplinary jurisdiction.
The four high courts are equal, but the Constitutional Court has broad judicial oversight, and it often rules on issues related to different jurisdictions, or the ruling of a different high court.