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Colombia was formed from the old Spanish colony Nueva Granada and became independent in 1810. A political constitution was introduced in 1886 and was last amended in 1994.

The Thousand Day War was a civil war fought between 1899 and 1902 in territory that also included present day Panama, which at the time was a province of Colombia. The conflict, like many during the country’s history, was between the liberal and conservative political forces. It was the result of electoral fraud by the Conservative Party and the consequent loss of power by the liberals. The coffee market was also in crisis.

A period of violence and civil war, known as "La Violencia" began in 1948, following the assassination of the politician Jorge Eleciér Gaitan and the partial destruction of Bogota (known as the Bogotazo). This ushered in another long conflict between liberals and conservatives.

The country suffered a serious and prolonged armed conflict over decades which began in the 1960s with the formation of the Revolutionary Colombian Armed Forces (FARC). The FARC used violent methods on behalf of the poorest in the country with the aim of making substantial change in Colombian society and the political system. In 2016, a peace treaty was signed between the FARC and the Colombian government following several years of negotiations, a plebiscite, and several ceasefires. The ELN, another armed leftist group, is still active in isolated parts of Colombia.

The strong links that exist between the ELN, FARC, and the drug trade remain important to this day. Apart from extremists on the left, there are also extensive right-wing paramilitary forces which operate with support from parts of the Colombian elite and high-ranking politicians. This explains the high number of internally displaced people in Colombia.


human Rights Watch World Report 2017 Colombia
Reseña histórica de La Guerra de los Mil Días. 1899-1902

Magrini, Ana Luciá, Iberoamericana, XVI, 63 (2016),33-52. Colombia y los nombres de lo político: populismo, Violencia(s) y gaitanismo Universidad Nacional de Quilmes/Universidad Católica de Córdoba/CONICET, Argentina
Revista Credencial Historia 1999. La violencia en Colombia Por: Gonzalo Sánchez Gómez. (Bogotá - Colombia). No. 110

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