Colombia: History

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Colombia History

Colombia has had an extremely turbulent history, from the time of the invasion of the Spaniards in the 16th century. Prior to this, the country was inhabited by the Chibca Indians. The country witnessed a number of rebellions in the following centuries, owing to discontent among the local inhabitants, the Spanish immigrants and other mixed races. The Republic of Colombia was formally established in 1855, four years after the abolition of slavery. Over the next 100 years, Colombian politics were dominated by the Conservative-Liberal feud, which often broke out into warfare. Periods of democratic government alternated with dictatorships. The 1970 elections was a turning point in the history of Colombia, with the emergence of the Guerilla movement which would wage war for the next 15 years in the country. Other groups emerged as well, leading to large scale violence throughout the country for many years, plunging Colombia into a state of great distress. This era also saw the emergence of drug trafficking and drug lords with their control of large sums of money now beginning to be turned into political power and leading politicians increasingly became tainted by their connections with drug money. A number of right wing paramilitary groups also started, further degenerating the country and embroiling it in more conflict. The beginning of the 21st century witnessed a crackdown on all these groups, with a ‘war on drugs’ declared by the US government. Things have improved greatly in the country and conflicts of such grave nature are no longer seen in Colombia.