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Colombia:
Geography

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Colombia Page


Background
Definition
Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A 40-year conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups and illegal paramilitary groups - both heavily funded by the drug trade - escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government, and violence has been decreasing since about 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence. More than 32,000 former paramilitaries had demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) as a formal organization had ceased to function. Still, some renegades continued to engage in criminal activities. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its administrative departments. However, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.
Location
Definition
Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama
Geographic coordinates
Definition
4 00 N, 72 00 W
Map references
Definition
South America
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 1,138,910 sq km
land: 1,038,700 sq km
water: 100,210 sq km
note: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, and Serrana Bank
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 6,309 km
border countries: Brazil 1,644 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 1,800 km, Venezuela 2,050 km
Coastline
Definition
3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
Definition
tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands
Terrain
Definition
flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m
note: nearby Pico Simon Bolivar also has the same elevation
Natural resources
Definition
petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 2.01%
permanent crops: 1.37%
other: 96.62% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
9,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
2,132 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 10.71 cu km/yr (50%/4%/46%)
per capita: 235 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation; soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides; air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note
Definition
only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea


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