1902 Encyclopedia > Colombia

Colombia




COLOMBIA, or, according to the official title, the Republic of the United States of Colombia, is a modern confederation in South America, consisting of the nine states of Antioquia, Bolivar, Boyacä, Cauca, Cundinamarca, Magdalena, Panama, Sautander, and Tolima, and comprising a considerable portion of the territory of the old Spanish vice-royalty of New Granada. It is bounded on the N. by the Caribbean Sea, on the E. by Venezuela, on the S. by Ecuador and Brazil, and on the W. by the Pacific. It thus extends from 12° 20' N. to 2° 30' S. lat., and from 65° 50' to 83° 5' W. long.,—its total area being roundly estimated at 500,000 square miles, or more than double that of Spain and Portugal. About four-fifths lies to the north of the equator.
On the Atlantic it possesses a coast line of upwards of Coast. 1000 miles, richly furnished with bays and natural harbours. Proceeding westward from Calabozo Creek, in the Gulf of Maracaibo, the first inlet of real importance which we discover is the Bahia Honda, which is well protected from the strong winds of the east and north, but is rendered unsuitable for the establishment of a port by its lack of drinkable water. Passing by the Bay of El Pórtete, we next reach the ports of Riohachaand Dibulla, of which the former is of considerable commercial importance as a centre of exportation, though it is greatly surpassed by that of Santa Marta, which is the next to break the coast-line. Santa Marta is situated at the side of the Ciénega Lagoon, which stretches 25 miles from south to north, with a breadth of 11 from east to west, has communication with the lakes of Pajaral and Cuatro Bocas, and, though rather shallow, can be navigated by flat-bottomed steamboats. At the mouth of the Magdalena lies the port of Barranquilla, and a short distance to the west that of Sabanilla, one of the most active along the whole coast. After these comes the splendid Bay of Carthagena, known for centuries to all navigators of the Caribbean; and still further to the west the coast is broken by the port of Zapote, the Bay of Zispata, the Gulf of Morrosquillo, and finally by the noble Gulf of Darien, with the estuary of the Atrato and the ports of Turbo, Guacuba, Candelaria, itc. Along the isthmus are the Mandinga Creek; the Bay of Portobello, so famous in the history of Spanish America; the modern port of Colon, or Aspinwall, at the entrance of Navy Bay; and the now decadent port of Chagres. The coast-line of the Pacific is hardly so important as that of the Atlantic, except along the isthmus, where it forms the great Bay of Panamá, with the subordinate inlets of Parita Bay on the west and the Gulf of San Miguel on the east. Along the remainder of the line are Cupica, San Francisco, Solano, Palmar, and Charambira (the last obstructed by a bar), the large Bay of Malaga, protected by the Isla de Palmas, with the harbours of Guapi and Izcuandé, the Bay of Pasa Caballos, the harbour of Tumaco, and in the Island of Gorgona the fine harbour of Trinidad.
The western part of Colombia is one of the most moun- Surface, tainous districts in the world; its eastern extension belongs to the great plains of the Orinoco and the Amazon. The mountains are all more or less directly portions of the system of the Andes. Entering at the south from the territory of Ecuador, they form an extensive plateau from which a large number of rivers take their rise. The portion known as the paramo of Cruz Verde has, according to Stein-heil, an elevation of 10,975 old Paris feet, or about 11,695 English feet. From this tableland the system breaks up into three ranges, which stretch north through nearly the whole length of the country, with a general parallelism of direction least maintained by the eastern portion. Of these ranges the loftiest at first is the Central, or the Cordillera of Quindiu, which contains the snow peaks of Huila, Ruiz, and Tolima, the culminating peak of the Andes north of the equator ; but in 5° 5' N. lat., where this range sinks down, the Eastern rises to the snow limit, and is the most elevated of the three Cordilleras. The Eastern Cordillera, or the Cordillera de la Suma Paz, runs north-east to the paramos of Pamplona, from which it sends out a branch to meet the massif of the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. In its passage through the state of Santander it attains in the Alto de el Viejo an altitude of 12,965 feet, in Alto de el Trio of 9965, and in the Boca del Monte of 12,735. The Sierra Nevada is said to reach a height of 23,779 feet, and it is certainly covered with perpetual snow over a large part of its summit. The

Western Cordillera, or Cordillera de Choco, is the least remarkable of the three, and has been worn down in many places into what are comparatively mere rounded hills with easy passages between ; it continues northward, however, much further than the central chain, and in fact extends right through the Isthmus of Panama.
The llanos or plains of the Orinoco extend eastward from the slopes of the Cordillera de la Suina Paz. As far south as the Vichada they form an almost complete level, destitute of trees, and affording abundant pasturage ; while further south they are covered with forests, display con-siderable irregularity of surface, and are not unfrequently broken by steep rocks rising to a height of from 300 to 600 feet.
The fundamental formations throughout Colombia are igneous and metamorphic, the great masses of the Cordilleras consisting of gneiss, granite, porphyry, and basalt. In many places the Carboniferous strata have attained considerable development, though they have been thrown into strange confusion by some unknown disturbance. Volcanic forces are still at work, as is shown by occasional earthquakes, and also by such phenomena as those at Batan near Sogamoso, where the subterranean heat is great enough to affect the local climate. Glaciers are still extant in the Paramo del Ruiz, and possibly in some of the other snow-clad heights. The slopes of the various Cordilleras are frequently covered with deep beds of gravel ; and the valleys are full of alluvial deposits of very various periods. The rivers have in many instances cut remarkable passages for themselves through the mountains; and, according to Codazzi, the Sogamoso has at one time been the outlet of a vast series of lakes which he believed to have occupied the highlands of Bogota, Tunja, and Velez. Rivers. The rivers of Colombia belong almost entirely to the great Atlantic versant; but they are distributed by the principal water-shed in very various directions. The two most important are the Magdalena or Rio Grande and the Cauca, which both flow from south to north through nearly the entire length of the country,—the former occupying the valley between the Eastern and the Central Cordilleras, and the latter that between the Central and the Western. They unite about 130 miles before reaching the sea, but they so long maintain an independent course that neither can fairly be regarded as a mere tributary of the other. The Magdalena takes its rise in a small lake called the Laguna del Buey or Ox Lake, situated in the plateau of Las Papas. It receives from the right hand the Suaza, the Rio Neiva, the Cabrera, the Prado, the Fuzagasanga, famous for the falls of Tequendama, the Bogota, the Carare, the Opon, the Sagamoso, itself a considerable stream, and the Rio Cesar, a fine river from the Sierra Nevada ; and from the left the La Plata, the Paez, the Saldana, the Cuello, the Guali, the Samana, or Miel, the Nare or Rio Negro, and various minor tributaries. The Magdalena is one of vhe most important water high-ways of the country, in spite of the fact that its current is so rapid as to make the upward voyage both difficult and tedious. From Honda, where the progress is interrupted by rapids, a native boat takes only about three days to reach the sea, while no fewer than six weeks are spent, even when the water is low. in returning against the stream. Steamers of from 50 to 200 tons burden, how-ever, have plied regularly since 1833 between Honda and Barranquilla. The Honda rapids can be surmounted by haulage, and steamers descend them in safety, though there is a fall of 20 feet in two miles, and of 16 feet in the first. Above this point the channel is clear about half-way to the source ; and though the traffic is still mainly carried on by native boats and rafts, a German named Alexander Weckbecker succeeded, in 1875, in taking a large steam-
boat—the " Moltke "-—three times to the town of Neiva. The Cauca rises to the west of the source of the Magdalena, in the Lake of Santiago, in the paramo of Guanacas. In the upper part of its course it flows through a volcanic region, and its waters are so impregnated with sulphuric and other acids that they are destructive of fish. These acids are mainly contributed by the headstream of the Rio Vinagre or Vinegar River, which rises in the Purace volcano. The principal tributaries are the Piendamo. the Ovejas, the Palo, the Amaime, and the La Vieja, from the Central Cordillera ; and the Jamundi and a large number of minor streams from the Western. After the junction of the Cauca and the Magdalena the united stream attains an imposing breadth; but it breaks up into several channels before it falls into the sea. The River Atrato, which disembogues in the Gulf of Darien and separates the main branch of the Eastern Cordillera from the isthmian ranges, is of high importance, not only in itself as an actual means of communication, but as affording, in the opinion of many engineers, one of the most feasible means of forming an interoceanic canal. So important was it regarded by Philip II. that its navigation was forbidden in 1730 on pain of death ; and the prohibition was not removed for a considerable period. The account, however, so frequently repeated, of the possibility of passing from the Atlantic to the Pacific versant by means of a canal, excavated about 1788 in the Raspadura ravine by some enterprising monk, seems to have little or no founda-tion. The Atrato rises in the slopes of the Western Cordillera, has a course of about 300 miles, and a breadth, during the last 96 miles, of from 750 to 1000 feet. Its depth in this lower part of its passage varies from 40 to 70 feet or even more. At Quibd6, 220 miles from the embouchure, it is still 850 feet wide and 8 to 20 feet deep ; and as the fall of the river is only about 3 inches to a mile, steamboats can pass as far as the confluence of the San Pablo and Certigui, 32 miles above Quibd6.
Of those rivers that belong to the Orinoco system the most important are the Guaviare, the Meta, and the Vichada. The first is formed of the Guayavero and the Iriwida, which flows from the mountains of Tunahi; and the principal tributaries of the second are the Chire, the Casanare, and the Lipa. Of those that belong to the Amazon are several tributaries of the Rio Negro branch, and the Caquita, or Japura. This last rises in the eastern slopes of the same table-land which gives birth to the Magdalena and the Cauca ; and its principal affluents are the Pescado, the Caguan, and the Apoponi. Though belonging to Colombia only by its head waters, there is another tributary of the Amazon which bids fair to be of great importance to the country as a means of communica-tion with Brazil. This river, the Bio lea or Potumayo, rises in the Andes in the province of Pasto, under 2° N. lat, has a total length from its source to its confluence of 932 miles, receives in its course 36 affluents, of which several would afford passage for steamboats,' and waters a region that abounds in gum elastic, sarsaparilla, cocoa., nut-wood, Pasto resin, gold, and other means of wealth. Its depth is from 7 to 34 feet during low water, and twice as great during flood ; at some places it has a breadth of 1300 feet, and its current is from 3 to 4 nautical miles an hour A steamer only takes 10 days to pass from the confluence with the Amazon to the mouth of the Guamues , and this place is pnly 80 or 90 miles from the province ol Pasto. The opening up of this route is due to Raphael Reyes, a full account of whose exploration will be found in Petermann's Mittheilungen for 1876. The only rivers that remain to be noted are those of the isthmus ; and these are chiefly of importance for their bearing on the question of interoceanic communication. The principal


are the Chagres, disemboguing in the Atlantic, and the Tuyra, the Chepa or Bayanos, and the Chiriqui, which find their way to the Pacific. Lakes. Many of the Colombian rivers take their rise in moun-tain lakes, and several of them fill considerable basins in their course ; bat throughout the country there are very few of those extensive sheets of water that form so usual a feature in most mountainous regions. The River Cesar flows through the lakes of Zipatosa and Adentro; between the Cauca and the Necki lies Lake Caceres, as well as several others of less importance ; the district of Tunja still pre-serves the Lake of Tota ; and in Bogota is the famous Guatavita, where the Muiscas are reputed to have sunk their treasures.
Minerals. Colombia is distinctively a mineral country, and the list of its productions in this department includes gold, silver, platinum, copper, lead, iron, mercury, and antimony, limestone, potash, soda, magnesia, alum, and salt, coal and asphalt, emeralds, amethysts, and amber. Many of the most important deposits are as yet untouched, owing mainly to the defective state of internal communication, and even those that have been worked have proved much less remunerative from the same cause. Gold especially is very widely diffused; it was freely used by the natives before the arrival of Europeans, and formed a valuable source of revenue to the Spanish Government, who employed thousands of negroes and Indians in'the task of collection. It is principally obtained from alluvial deposits ; and in some districts there is hardly a stream that would not furnish its quota. Hydraulic appliances were introduced about 1870 in some of the workings; and a more systematic treatment is being gradually adopted. Antioquia is the most important gold-producing state in the confederation ; the total value of gold and silver exported from the capital in 1875 was 2,403,241 dollars; there were upwards of eighty lode mines at work in 1875 ; and 15,000 men and women are employed in the mining. The silver frequently occurs in very rich lodes ; but, owing it would seem to various economical causes, many of the mining operations have been unsuccessful. The " Santa Anua " mines in Tolima, which were worked from 1826 to 1873 (for some years under the direction of Mr Robert Stephenson, the railway engineer), yielded during that period about £700,000 worth of ore, but ultimately proved a failure. The " Prias " silver mine, belonging to the Tolima Mining Company of London, yielded in 1875 300 tons of ore valued at ¿£100 per ton. The emerald mines are remarkable as being the only known source of the genuine stone. They are situated at Muzo, in the state of Boyaca, in the Central Cordillera, to the north of Bogota. Soon afterthe Spanish Conquest they were worked on a large scale by the Government ; but towards the close of the 18th century it was found that it cost 6500 pesos to extract 1000 pesos worth of emerald, and they were consequently abandoned (see Ezpeleto's report in Relac. de los Vireyes, p. 347). After the war of independ-ence the mines were appropriated by the republic, from which a French company obtained a monopoly from 1864 to 1874. During this period the stones found a ready market in Paris, where green was the imperial colour. Since the expiry of the contract the mines have been demono-polized. The emeralds are found in two distinct layers of calcareous bitumen, the upper of which is black and friable, and the under compact. In the upper the emeralds occur in " nests," in the lower in veins, and usually in the neighbourhood of bands of fluor-spar. The finest stones may be worked up to a value of ¿£20 a carat; the worst sorts are only worth about 5s. Coal is pretty generally distributed throughout the republic, and the great bed of Cali probably extends to the Pacific. Rock-salt is obtained in the table-lands of Bogota, Tunja, and Pamplona, and forms an important Government mono-poly-
Though Colombia is situated within the tropics, and, in climate, fact, as we have seen, is crossed by the equator in its southern limits, its great irregularity of surface and its extensive coast-lines develop a great variety of climatic conditions. A comparatively short journey transports the traveller from the sultry valley of the Magdalena, where the water grows tepid and the stones burning hot in the sun's rays, to the summits of a mountain where the snow lies cold from year to year. In the table-lands and valleys of the Eastern and Western Cordilleras, at a height of 800 to 9500 feet above the level of the sea, there are two dry seasons and two rainy, the former commencing at the solstices and the latter at the equinoxes, while in the lowlands both of the Pacific and the Atlantic seaboard there is only one dry and one rainy of six months each. In the Gulf of Darien and the Isthmus of Panama there is no such distinction, and rain occurs in any part of the year, The greatest mean temperature in the country is about 86° Fahr., and the lowest in the inhabited parts of the Cordilleras is about 44°. At Honda, which is about 1000 feet above sea-level, the daily range of the thermometer is only from 8° to 12°, and the annual not more than 20°. "The hottest place," says Mosquera, to whom we are largely indebted, " which I have found in New Granada, is the port of Ocaiia, where I have on several occasions seen the thermometer in the shade at 104° Fahr." In the llanos of the Orinoco the mean annual temperature is about 80° Fahr., while in the forest district to the south the average is about 8° higher. In the latter the rain is distributed throughout the year, while in the former the seasons are distinctly marked, and from November till April the rains fall in torrents accompanied with dreadful thunderstorms.
In keeping with this variety of climate the Colombian plants, flora ranges from purely tropical forms in the lowlands up to purely Alpine or boreal types in the mountains. The tree limit on Tolima, in the Central chain, is 10,360 feet. The country abounds with extensive forests, in which timber of gigantic proportions waits for the settler's axe. Besides several of the common species of palm trees which are found as high as 2500 feet above the sea, there are two remarkable species, the Ceroxylon andicola, Palma de Cera, or Wax-palm, and the Oreodoxa regia, or Palmita del Azufral, which in company with the oak, frequently clothe the Cordilleras to a height of 6000 or 8000 feet. They are both of extreme beauty, and the former shoots up to about 180 or 200 feet. From the Sierra Nevada and other districts are obtained logwood, Brazil-wood, and fustic; and the Myroxylon toluifera, from which the balsam of Tolu is collected, grows luxuriantly on the banks of the Rio Negro. Excellent Indian-rubber is obtained from the Castilloa elastica, a lofty and luxuriant tree, which occurs in considerable abundance in Panama, Cauca, and other states. The quantity and quality of the material might be greatly increased and improved, as the collection is still in the hands of a very rude and careless class of men. Under the superintendence of Mr Cross the tree is being introduced into British India. Cinchona of six or seven different varieties is common throughout the country,—the elevation most favourable for its growth being between 7800 and 9000 feet above the sea. Of other medicinal plants there may be mentioned the aloe, the sarsaparilla, the albataque, and the vine of the cross. The cotton plant grows wild in many parts and yields an excellent fibre; indigo is indigenous; and an almost endless variety of fruits are found throughout the country.
The fauna is perhaps hardly so rich as the flora, but it Animals, does not fall far behind. Of monkeys there are at least seventeen distinct species; the feline race is represented

by seven or eight, including the puma and the jaguar; there are two species of bears; the alligator swarms in the Magdalena and some of the other rivers; deer are common at various elevations ; the sloth, the armadillo, the guagua (Ccelogenus subniger), the opossum, and the cavy prevail in the forests; and the tapir or danta wanders in the higher regions. Among the birds may be mentioned the condor and ten other birds of prey, several species of swallows, numerous varieties of parrots, paroquets, lories, and cockatoos, cranes and storks, the pleasant-singing tropial, and the strangely-coloured sol-y-lune, which takes its name from the figure of the sun and moon on its wings. The boa constrictor, the yaruma, the cascabel, and various other serpents are frequent enough in the warmer regions, but are not met with at a greater height than 5400 feet above the sea. Insects are abundantly represented, the most important practically being the ants, which in some districts, as for instance the isthmus, are almost a plague. Turtle
Agricul abounds on the coasts ; and pearl-oysters are the object of
ture. a very considerable fishery.
Agriculture holds the first place among the industries of Colombia; but the methods employed are still of a very rude description. Maize, wheat, and other cereals are cultivated on the elevated plains; rice, cotton, tobacco, sugar, coffee, cocoa, yams, arracacha, and bananas in the coast region. Tobacco is especially successful in Ambalema, Carmen, Palmira, Jiron, and Morales, and it forms au important export. In the plains of the Orinoco and the undulating savannahs of Panamá the breeding of cattle and horses is largely carried on by the creóle inhabitants, and several of the Indian tribes are also in possession of valuable herds. Beyond such common (almost domestic) trades as hand-weaving, dyeing, tauning, and basket-making, there is almost no manufacturing industry in the country, though the basis for future development has been laid by the establishment in Bogotá of glass-works, distilleries, a cigar-factory, and a sulphuric acid factory. One product of the domestic industry alone finds its place in the list of exports—namely, straw hats, usually known as jipijapa or Panamá hats. The raw produce, however, is largely exported ; the principal articles being cinchoni bark, indigo, coffee, cotton, tobacco, silver ore, hides, and the minor items—ivory-nuts, ipecacuanha, and balsam of Tolu. The relation between the exports and imports and the variations of amount from year to year will be seen by the following table :—
Imports. Exports.
1S69 7,255,092 dollars. 8,137,000dollars.
1870 5,843,451 8,077,153
1871 5,862,711 8,247,817
1872 8,427,175 8,253,806
1873 12,500,000 10,500,000
Constitu- The national government of Colombia is republican,—the main
"on- basis of the constitution being a scheme drawn up in 1863 after the
model of the United States of North America. The executive power is exercised by the president and four ministers or secretarios. The presidential elections recur every two years ; the choice is determined by a majority of the states ; and the new president enters on office on the 1st of April. The secretaries have charge respectively of the four departments of Home and Foreign Affairs, Finance and Public Works, Treasury and Credit, and War and Marine. The legislative power of the federation is divided between a house of representatives elected by universal suffrage, and a senate of 27 members, or three from each state. The number of the representatives depends on the size of the state-population,— one being allowed for every 50,000 inhabitants, and one for the remainder if it reaches 20,000. In 1875 there were in all 61 repre-sentatives. There is a supreme court at Bogotá, conducted by a president, four judges, and a procurator-general; the judges are elected by the legislative houses of the nine states. There is no state church, and full religious liberty prevails. The predominant profession, however, is the Roman Catholic, and an archbishop is Revenue, established at Bogotá. The national income is very small; but it has been steadily increasing for a number of vears. In 1869-70 it was 2,883,758 pesos (about 4s. value); in "1870-71, 3,573,570; in 1871-72, 3,178,446; in 1872-73, 4,000,000. The taxes are very light, —by far the greater part of the revenue accruing from the custom-houses established at Buenaventura, Caiiosama, Cartagena, Cucuta, Rio Hacha, Sabanilla, Santa Marta, Jumaco, and Turbo. In 1872-73 the various receipts were—customs, 2,775,450 pesos; salt monopoly, 799,213 ; Panamá railway, 250,000 ; postal service, 67,609; telegraphs, 10,627; mint, 18,000 ; national property, 72,595; ecclesiastical property, 6506. The customs would yield a still greater return were it not for smuggling, which prevails largely, especially at Cartagena. The tariff hitherto in use divides articles into classes, which pay so much per kilogramme; and thus the burden of the duty falls most oi¡ inferior goods. The salt-works yielded, in 1869-70, 136,568 cwts., of which 81 per cent, was obtained from Cundinamarca, 18 per cent, from Boyacá, and 1 per cent, from the territory of San Martin. The postal service is Commnm-still in a very backward state, and the charges are very high ; but catlon-this cannot be otherwise till the road system of the country has been developed. Rapid progress, however, is being made by several of the states in this preliminary undertaking. In April 1875 there were upwards of luOO miles of telegraph, the principal lines stretching from Honda to Bogotá, and from Ambalema to Manizales. In 1S73 the total number of telegraphic messages amounted to 500,000. In the less populous districts the maintenance of the lines is very costly, as not only are the wires stolen by thieves, but they are frequently damaged by the monkeys, who use them for gymnastic purposes. The only two railways actually in operation are the Panamá line (46 miles), and the line between Sabanilla and Barranquilla (17 miles); but great efforts are being made, both by the central Government and by the separate states, to construct lines throughout the country, and contracts have already been made for some of the most important. The national property consists mainly of waste lands, which are allotted to applicants on very liberal terms. A great deal of the church property confiscated by the republic has been sold; some of it is rented, out; and many of the convents are used for public offices. The public debt amounted, in 1875, to 10,105,500 dollars, of which 10,000,000 are the old debts of the war of independence, which pay an interest of 4| per cent. The English debt of 1863 has been cleared off. There is no national navy, and the armed force in time of peace only amounts to 1420 men ; in time of war the states have to furnish 1 per cent, of their population. The separate states have their own constitutions and governors, and they differ considerably in their political ten-dencies.
The educational condition of Colombia has hitherto been very Education, low ; but, by a law published in 1870, the management of public instruction was taken from the hands of the clergy and intrusted to the state, a complete reform of the school system was effected, teachers were introduced from Europe, and compulsory education was adopted. In this last point Colombia has taken the lead in the New World. In Antioquia 486 schools were in operation in 1873, with an attendance of about 21,500 ; in Bolivar, 44 ; in Boyacá, 208 (public schools), with 9000 pupils ; in Cauca, 229, with 9925 ; in Cundinamarca, 338, with 16,489 ; in Magdalena, 100, with 2968 ; in Santander, 300, with 11,974 ; in Tolima, 100 schools and 3640 scholars. In Panamá the state of education is not so good, but public schools are being established there also. The expense is borne partly by the special states and partly by the national treasury, which devotes 317,120 dollars annually to this purpose, assigning 200,000 to subsidize the states, and 117,120 to the institutions for the higher education. These include the national university, the Yasquez academy, and schools of engineer-ing, natural science, &c, established in the federal capital, state colleges, and normal schools.
It can hardly be said that Colombia possesses a national litera- literature, ture, the writing and printing hitherto effected serving mainly the immediate purpose of the day. Its inheritance of the Spanish language, however, leaves it in vital contact with one of the older literatures of Europe, and frees it from the painful, though, it might be, fruitful necessity of working its way through con-fusion of dialects to a recognized national speech. Such intellect as the country has spared from war and political activity has mainly been directed to the natural sciences, which found their first footing on Colombian soil through the labours of the celebrated Don José Celestino Mutis. Of those who have attained a greater or less degree of fame in this department, it is sufficient to mention Zea, Cabal, Caldas, Pombo, Céspedes, Camacho, Lozano, and Codazzi; Restrepo and Mosquera have contributed to the history of their country. In several of the more important cities journalism is pretty well represented, and the Government is about to establish a magazine for the purpose of diffusing a knowlege of Colombian affairs.
The population of the territory of the present republic at the Native time of the Spanish Conquest consisted oí a large number of hide- tribes, pendent tribes of very various degrees of civilization. Of these several have totally disappeared as separate unities; others have been in large measure Hispanicized both in language and in habits; many still retain their separate dialects, organization, and customs, and some are even now as opposed to the European movement as they were

when the first white foot left its print on their shores. According to Uricoechea there are at least twenty-seven native languages spoken in the western part of Colombia, fourteen in Tolima, thirteen in the region of the Caquitá, twelve in Panamá, Bolivar, and Mag-dalena, ten in Bogotá and Cundinamarca, and thirty-four in the region of the Meta, while twelve have died out in the course of the last century. The tribes of the Atlantic seaboard, from Chiriqui to Goahira, attach themselves to the great Carib stock ; those of the Eastern portion of the country show affinities with the contiguous Brazilian race ; those of the Tuquerus district are of the Peruvian type; while the tribes of Antioquia, Cauca, Popayan, and Neiva preserve characteristics more akin to those of the Aztecs than to any other race.
At the time of the Spanish Conquest the most important of all the tribes was the Miuscas or Chibchas, who had attained a con-siderable degree of civilization, and established their authority over the table-lands of Bogotá and Tunja. They are now represented by some bands that wander about the Meta ; their ancient language is partly preserved by the labours of Gonzalo Bermudez, José Dadei, and Bernardo de Lugo; and they have been the subject of a special study by Uricoechea in his Gramática, Vocabulario, ¿ce., de la Lengua Öhibcha, Paris, 1871. The Chibchas, says this author, were divided into three independent nations and several caciqueships; three chiefs exercised supreme power—the Zipa, who resided in Muequetá (the present Funza), the Zaque, resident at Hunsa (now Tunja), and the Jeque, or chief of Iraca, who held the office of pontiff, was regarded as the successor of the god Nemterequeteba, and had his residence at the city of Suamoz or Sogamoso.
Another remarkable tribe, which has now totally disappeared, was the Tayronas, of the Sierra Nevada of Santamarta. They like-wise were well advanced in civilization, as is proved not only by the reports of their conquerors, but also by such remains of their skill as the gold ornaments which are found from time to time in their territory, and the well-made roads by which it is still traversed. The most important of the tribes that still retain their savage state are the Mesayas, the Caquetás, the Moeoas, the Amariz-anos, the Guipanabis, and the Andaquíes in the eastern part of the republic ; the Goahiros, the Motilones, the Guainetas, and the Cocinas, in the districts of Rio Hacha, Upar, and Santamarta ; and the Dariens, the Cunacunas, and the Chocos, on the banks of the Atrato and its affluents. These tribes have all along been a thorn in the side of the country. In the 18th century we have in the vice-regal reports continued complaints of the raids of the Chimilas, the Goahiros, the Andaquíes, and the Motilones, who defied equally the military and the ecclesiastical method of reduction. The mission-aries who were scattered through the country luid a hard time of it with their converts, who even after they were baptized and in-structed, " take advantage of their knowledge to elude and assail us." To the present day the settlement and Christianization of this part of the population is one of the political problems of Colombia, and as recently as 1874 a bill was brought in for the purpose. The exact number of the uncivilized Indians is hardly ascertained ; it was roughly calculated by Mosquera as ranging from 108,000 to Population. 120,000. The rest of the population is composed mainly of Spanish Creoles, Negroes, and mixed races. According to Samper it was divided in 1858 as follows :—1,527,000 whites and white crossbreeds, 447,000 crossbreeds in which the Indian blood is more distinctly present, 90,000 Africans, and 446,000 crossbreeds in which the Negro or Indian blood is plainly predominant. Accord-ing to a communication supplied to Behm and Wagner's Bevölkerung der Erde, 1874, the distribution of the population, exclusive of the uncivilized Indians, was in 1871 as it appears in the follow-ing table:—

Area in sq. miles. Males. Females. Capitals. i „P"P- of Capitals.
Antioquia..,.
Bolivar
Boyacá
Cauca
Cundinamarca Magdalena....
Panamá
Santander..
Tolima 22,790 27,027 33,349 257,451 79,845 26,950 31,921 16,293 18,476 181,492 114,306 232,727 210,363 196,843 40,682 113,009 204,551 110,791 184,482 125,042 250,147 224,715 212,759 44,573 107,533 220,876 120,100 Medellin,
Cartagena,
Tunja,
Popayan,
Bogotá,
Santamarta,
Panamá,
Socorro,
Guamo, 30,000 7,800 8,000 16,000 50,000 3,500 18,378 20,000 7,000
Owing to the discordant claims of Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil, the area of the frontier states is very variously given accord-ing to the limits selected, and the calculation of the population is open to the same irregularity.
History.
History.—The coast of Colombia was one of the first parts of the American continent visited by the Spanish navigators. Alonso de Ojeda touched at several points in 1499 and 1501 ; and Columbus himself visited Veragua, Portobello, and other places in his last voyage in 1502. In 1508 Ojeda obtained from the Spanish Crown «. grant of the district from Cape Vela westward to the Gulf of
Darien, while the rest of the country from the Gulf of Darien to Cape Gracias-a-Dios was bestowed on his fellow-adventurer Nicuessa. The two territories designated respectively Nueva Anda-lucia and Castella de Oro were united in 1514 into the province of Tierra-firma, and entrusted to Pedro Arias de Avila. By the middle of the century the Spanish power was fairly established, and flourishing communities arose along the coasts, and in the table-lands of Cundinamarca formerly occupied by the Muiscas. For the better government of the colony the Spanish monarch erected a presidency of New Granada, which continued till 1718, when it was raised to the rank of a viceroyalty. In the following year, however, the second viceroy, D. Jorge Villalonga, Count de la Cueva, expressing his opinion that the maintenance of this dignity was too great a burden on the settlers, the viceroyalty gave place to a simple presidency. In 1740 it was restored, and it continued as long as the Spanish authority, including within its limits not only the present Colombia, but also Venezuela and Ecu-ador. An insurrection against the home Government was formally commenced in 1811, andan incessant war against the Spanish forces was waged till 1824. In 1819 the great national hero, Bolivar (see BOLIVAR), effected a union between the three divisions of the country, to which was given the title of the Republic of Colombia; but in 1829 Venezuela withdrew, and in 1830 Quito or Ecuador followed her example. The Republic of New Granada was founded November 21, 1831 ; and in 1832 a constitution was promulgated, and the territory divided into eighteen provinces, each of which was to have control of its local affairs. The president was to hold office for four years ; and the first on whom the dignity was bestowed was General Santander. His position, however, was far from enviable ; for the country was full of all the elements of unrest and contention. One of his measures, by which New Granada became responsible for the half of the debts of the defunct republic of Colombia, gave serious offence to a large party, and he was consequently succeeded not, as he desired, by José Maria Obando, but by a member of the opposition, José Ignacio de Márquez. This gave rise to a civil war, which lasted till 1841, and not only left the country weak and miserable, but afforded an evil precedent which has since been too frequently followed. The contest terminated in favour of Márquez, and he was succeeded in May 1841 by Pedro Alcantara Herran, who had assisted to obtain the victory. In 1840 the province of Cartagena had seceded, and the new president had hardly taken office before Panamá and Veragua also declared themselves inde-pendent, under the title of the State of the Isthmus of Panamá. Their restoration was, however, soon effected ; the constitution was reformed in 1843 ; education was fostered, and a treaty con-cluded with the English creditors of the republic. Further progress was made under General Mosquera from 1845 to 1848 ; a large part of the domestic debt was cleared off, immigration was encouraged, and free trade permitted in gold and tobacco. The petty war with Ecuador, concluded by the peace of Santa Rosa de Carchi, is hardly worthy of mention. From 1849 to 1852 the reins were in the hands of General Lopez, a member of the democratic party, and under him various changes were effected of a liberal tendency. In January 1852 slavery was entirely abolished. The next president was José Maria Obando, but his term of office had to be completed by vice-presidents Obaldia and Mallarino. In 1853 an important altera-tion of the constitution took place, by which the right was granted to every province to declare itself independent, and to enter into merely federal connection with the central republic. In 1856 and 1857 Antioquia and Panama took advantage of the permission. The Conservative party carried their candidate in 1857. Mariano Ospino, a lawyer by profession ; but an insurrection broke out in 1859, which was fostered by the ex-president Mosquera, and finally took the form of a regular civil war. Bogotá was captured by the demo-crats in July 1861, and Mosquera assumed the chief power. A congress at Bogotá established a republic, with the name of the United States of Colombia, adopted a new federal constitution, and made Mosquera dictator. Meanwhile the opposite party was victo-rious in the west ; and their leader, Arboleda, formed an alliance with Don Garcia Moreno, the president of Ecuador. He was assas-sinated, however, in 1862 ; and his successor, Canal, came to terms with Mosquera at Cali. The dictatorship was resigned into the hands of a convention at Rio Negro, in Antioquia ; a provisional government was appointed, a constitution was drawn up, and Mosquera elected president till 1864. An unsuccessful attempt was also made to restore the union between the three republics of the former federation. The presidency of Manuel Murillo Toro (1S64-66) was disturbed by various rebellions, and even Mosquera, who next came to the helm, found matters in such a disorganized condition that he offered to retire. On the refusal of his resigna-tion, he entered into a struggle with the majority in the congress, and ultimately resorted to an adjournment and the unconstitutional arrest of 68 of the senators and representatives. To the decree of impeachment published by the congress he replied by a notice of dissolution and a declaration of war ; but he soon found that the real Bower was with his opponents, who effected his arrest, and con-

(ieinned him first to two years' imprisonment, but afterwards by commutation to two years' exile. The presidency of Santos Gutierrez (1868-70) was disturbed by insurrections in different parts of the republic, the most important of which was that in Panamá, where the most absolute disorganization prevailed. Under his successor, General E. Salgar, a Liberal candidate elected in opposi-tion to General Herrau, a treaty was finally concluded with the United States in connection with an interoceanic canal, a bank was established at Bogotá, and educational reforms instituted. Manuel Murillo Toro (1872-74) and Santiago Perez (1874-76) have seen the country apparently acquiring constitutional equilibrium, and turning its energies to the development of its matchless resources. There has been no war with f'o.eign states for several years; and though the question of the boundary lines frequently causes dispute between Colombia and her eastern neighbours, Venezuela and Brazil, it is to be hoped it will be peaceably settled. The election for the presidential term 1876-78 resulted in favour of Aquileo Parra.
Literature :—Bern, de Lugo, Grammatica en la lengua del nuevo
reyno llamada Hosca, Madrid, 1619; Fr. de Tauste, Arte y vocabu-
lario de la lengua de los Indios de la provincia de Cumana o nueva
Andaleucia, Madrid, 1680; Piedrahita, Historia general de la
conquista del nuevo reyno de Granada, Madrid, 1688, Fr. Ant.
Caulin, Hist, corografica de la nueva Andalucía, &c., Madrid,
1779 ; Restrepo, Historia de la revolución de Colombia, Paris, 1827;
Acosta, Compendio del descubrimiento y colonisation de la Neuva
Granada, Paris, 1848, and "Sur la Sierra Nevada de Srünte
Matthe, ' in Bulletin de la Soc. Géol, de France, 1851 -2 , Karsten,
lieber die geognostischen Verhältnisse der Westl. Colombia, Vienna,
1856; Albert Berg, Physiognomie der Trop Vegetation Süd
Amerikas, 1856 (the views in this fine folio are almost exclusively
Colombian); Samper, Ensayo sobre las revoluciones pol. y la con-
dición de las repúblicas Colombianas, Paris, 1861; E. Reclus, Voyage
á la Sierra Nevada de Sainte Marthe, Paris, 1861 ; Wagnei in
Petermann's Mittheilungen, 1861 and 1862 ; Powles, New Gran-
ada: its Internal Resources, London, 1863 , Mosquera, Memoria
sobre la geografía de la Nueva Granada, New York, 1852, and his
Compendio de geografía dos statos unidos de Colombia, London,
1866 ; Garcia y Garcia, Relaciones de los Vireyes del Nuevo Reino de
Granada, New York, 1869 ; Codazzi, Atlas de los estados unidos
de Colombia; Reissand Stübel, AUurastomadasenlarepubl.de
Colombia, Quito, 1872 (reproduced in XII. Jahresbericht des Vereins
für Erdk. zu Dresden, IVissensch. Theil); Steinheil, "Barometrische
Höhenbestimmungen in Colombia," and "Reisen in Columbien,"in
Petermann s Mittheil., 1876. The literature of the various canal
projects is itself very extensive ; it is sufficient to mention the works
of Kelly, Puydt, and Selfridge. (H. A. W.)








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