Colombia is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world, and thereby possesses a rich cultural heritage.
The urban centres are mostly located in the highlands of the Andes mountains.
It was conceived by the Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda as a reference to all the New World, but especially to those portions under Spanish and Portuguese rule.
The name was later adopted by the Republic of Colombia of 1819, formed from the territories of the old Viceroyalty of New Granada (modern-day Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, and northwest Brazil).
It is a unitary, constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments.
The territory of what is now Colombia was originally inhabited by indigenous peoples, with as most advanced the Muisca, Quimbaya and the Tairona.
The Tairona inhabited northern Colombia in the isolated mountain range of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.Beginning in the 1st millennium BCE, groups of Amerindians including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona developed the political system of cacicazgos with a pyramidal structure of power headed by caciques.The Muisca inhabited mainly the area of what is now the Departments of Boyacá and Cundinamarca high plateau (Altiplano Cundiboyacense) where they formed the Muisca Confederation.The Spanish set foot on Colombian soil for the first time in 1499 and in the first half of the 16th century initiated a period of conquest and colonization, ultimately creating the New Kingdom of Granada, with as capital Santafé de Bogotá.Independence from Spain was acquired in 1819, but by 1830 the "Gran Colombia" Federation was dissolved.