Colombia
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Population of Colombia

Although—according to the national census—the vast majority of Colombia’s population is mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white, 58 percent) or white (20 percent), the nation wears many faces within those and in other ethnic groups.

 

Much of the white population traces its origins to Spain. Besides during the Spanish colony era, other waves of immigrations came from the Iberian Peninsula, most notably during and after the Spanish Civil War. In the latter half of the 19th century and into the 20th, other Europeans arrived, especially during World War I and II. Italians settled primarily in the major Caribbean ports, and Germans found a home in Santander and Boyacá Departments. Other significant ethnicities that came were Romani (Gypsies), Russians and French.

 

During the same period, the largest immigrant group came from the Levantine countries: Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. Most of the first arrivals were Christians, thus assimilating quickly into Colombia’s society. Later, Muslims came to the Caribbean coast, where until today their communities have mosques and Islamic schools. Also from this region, as well as from Europe, many Jews arrived, choosing to settle in Barranquilla, Medellín, Bogotá and Cali.

 

Colombia’s African descendants, constituting a total of 21 percent of the population, came through slave trafficking. They have had a tremendous influence on the country’s culture and sciences. But even within this population, there are three major sub-groups. The most predominant and most well-known is on the Caribbean coast. In this region, though, are palenquero communities, like San Basilio de Palenque near Cartagena, which preserve African traditions and language. The most traditional African culture is said to be found along the Pacific coast, where the labyrinthine mangroves gave refuge to Maroons, or escaped slaves. It was here where the first uprisings against Spanish rule occurred. Thr third group are the Raizals in the San Andrés archipelago, whose culture is more like the English-speaking Caribbean islands than like mainland Colombia.

 

Official government figures state indigenous (Amerindian) peoples make up only one percent of the population, though some organizations say it is as high as 3.4 percent. Of the over 80 nations, the largest is the Wayuu in the Guajira peninsula. Other significant ones are the Nasa in Southern Colombia, Senú on the western Caribbean coast and the Emberá in the Pacific Chocó region. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is home to about 30,000 people of the Arhuaco, Kogi, Kankuamo and Wiwa nations. The departments with the highest concentration of indigenous are La Guajira (40 percent), Guainía (32 percent), Vichada (31 percent), Vaupés (29 percent) and Amazonas (27 percent). Even though the law now recognizes the indigenous’ territorial and self-governing rights, these peoples have been hit by the civil war, drug trafficking, and the pressure of multinational corporations wanting to appropriate natural resources from indigenous and sacred lands. In recent years, the U’wa of Eastern Colombia threatened mass suicide at the threat of oil exploration in their territory.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Colombia: Colombia Maps, Málaga Services, El Valle Safety, Safety, Safety in Chocó, Getting There and Away, Holidays and Fiestas, Safety, Semana Santa in Mompós and Capitanejo Holidays and Fiestas.








27 Sep 2011



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