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Colombia Essay.

1435 words - 6 pages

Colombia is a country in South America in the northwestern part of the continent. Colombia has a lot of natural resources, including beautiful beaches, dramatic mountains, and lush rain forests, but it is known for its political unrest and the violent influence of powerful drug cartels. Despite a long history of democratic government, Colombia has one of the most rigidly stratified class systems in Latin America. Colombia is the only country in South America with coasts on both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Its neighbors on the east are Venezuela and Brazil; on the south, Ecuador and Peru; and to the northwest, Panama. The capital and largest city is Bogota. Colombian society is divided between the upper and lower classes, with a large and growing gap between them. A substantial middle class developed during the 20th century, a product in part of fairly widespread land ownership associated with the country's coffee economy. Many of the attitudes that led to Colombia's sharp class divisions originated in 16th-century Spain and became ingrained in Colombian society during the colonial period. Family lineage, inherited wealth, and racial background continue to be powerful determinants of status. Economic progress during the last 100 years has been substantial, but political, social, and economic power continues to be concentrated in the hands of the small upper class. Since the mid-20th century, Colombia has been torn by violence. Struggles between left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitary groups, and the Colombian armed forces have convulsed much of the countryside. Colombia has also been plagued by an illegal drug trade that flourished in the country as a consequence of the growing demand for narcotics, particularly cocaine, in the United States and other rich, industrialized countries. The Colombian government has attempted to limit drug production and negotiate a peaceful settlement with the rebel forces. At the beginning of the 21st century, however, Colombia still experienced upheaval, and violence had become a daily experience for many Colombians. The total land area of Colombia is 440,831 sq mi. Colombia lies almost entirely in what is known as the Torrid Zone, the area of the earth's surface between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The climate, however, varies with elevation. The low regions along the coast and the deep Pata and Magdalena river valleys are extremely hot, with average annual temperatures of 24 deg; to 27 deg C (75 deg; to 81 deg F). From about 500 to 2,300 m (about 1,500 to 7,500 ft) the climate is subtropical, and from about 2,300 to 3,000 m (about 7,500 to 10,000 ft) it is temperate. Above about 3,000 m (about 10,000 ft) is the cold-climate zone, where temperatures range from -18 deg to 13 deg C (0 deg to 55 deg F). About half of Colombia's land is forested. To the north and west of the Andes, tropical forests line the major rivers and fringe the coastal areas. East of the Andes, the forests...

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