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Pre-Columbian civilizations: Before the arrival of the settlers, many peoples occupied the different regions of the country: the Muisca, Quimbaya, San Agustin, Tierradentro, Tayrona?

  • 1500: Discovery of Colombia by Alonso de Ojeda 1717: The Kingdom of New Grenada is created, bringing together Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama.
  • 1794: The French “Human Rights” are translated into Spanish by Antonio Nariño, precursor of independence.
  • 1810: Simon Bolivar (“El Libertador”) and Francisco de Paula Santander declare the country independent from Spain.
  • This autonomy is only officialized in 1819 with the creation of the Federal Republic of Greater Colombia.
  • 1863: 9 states form the United States of Colombia but the establishment of this federal system divides the populations.
  • The civil wars begin then.
  • 1886: Rafael Nuñez, of the conservative party, abolished federalism and wrote the constitution of the Republic of Colombia.
  • 1899-1902: The Liberals and Conservatives clashed during the very violent Thousand Day War (100,000 dead).
  • The Liberals are crushed and their party virtually disappears from the political landscape.
  • 1904: The Conservatives install a dictatorship.
  • 1930: The Liberals regain power and coexist almost peacefully with the Conservatives.
  • 1948: The assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, leader of the Liberal party and official candidate for the presidential elections, leads to riots and then a civil war known as La Violencia between the reactionary Catholic right and the liberal left (250,000 deaths).
  • Peasant self-defence militias appear to fight against the abuses of the military and conservative armed groups.
  • In this difficult context, smuggling (of alcohol, tobacco, emeralds, narcotics…) develops.
  • 1964: 2 Marxist guerrilla groups appear following the agrarian struggles and the Cuban revolution: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC – a communist group led by Vélez) and the National Liberation Army (ELN, a Castro group led by the radical clerics Restrepo and then Perez).
  • 1970: The United States helps the Colombian government to fight against these groups.
  • 1980 : The narcotrafficking develops thanks to remote regions where poppies, coca and marijuana can easily be cultivated, but also thanks to important technical means to transform them into drugs and, finally, thanks to the opening on 2 seas to export them.
  • Paramilitary groups financed by drug traffickers are multiplying.
  • The Medellín cartel assassinates personalities of the time (journalists and politicians) and organises several attacks.
  • Pablo Escobar, its leader, was shot dead in 1993.
  • 1990: The Cali cartel resumes drug trafficking in the country and collaborates closely with the political class.
  • 1995: Following the dismantling of the Cali cartel, other cartels organize themselves to control each one a stage of drug trafficking.
  • Colombia becomes the first cocaine-producing country.
  • 2002: Álvaro Uribe is elected president and puts the fight against guerrillas and drug trafficking at the heart of his political project for “democratic security”, using repression.
  • 2010: Juan Manuel Santos wins the presidential election and makes “social prosperity” the priority of his government.
  • He works actively in peace negotiations with FARC.
  • He positions himself as a fervent defender of democracy and human rights and works to improve the image of Colombia internationally.
  • The Colombian economy has shown sustained growth of 4% to 5% in recent years.
  • Mainly thanks to mining and oil exports, it has become the third largest economy in Latin America, ahead of Argentina.
  • 2014 : Presidential elections: Juan Manuel Santos is re-elected and continues peace negotiations with the F.A.R.C.
  • 2016 : The peace agreements are signed between the Colombian government and the F.A.R.C., the population rejects it in a referendum.

Now Your Turn

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