Colombia is a nation in northern South America. It borders Venezuela to the east, Panama to the north, Peru and Ecuador to the south, and Brazil to the southeast. Its capital and largest city is Bogota. Spanish is the dominant language, and Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion.
Colombia was colonized by the Spanish in the 16th and 17th centuries. Under the leadership of Simon Bolivar, Colombia gained independence along with the rest of northern South America in the 1820s to form Gran Colombia. This democratic union quickly fell apart after Bolivar's death. In the early 1900s, Colombia also lost the province of Panama to a U.S.-sponsored revolt.
In the 1980s, the cocaine industry boomed in Colombia, and drug lords like Pablo Escobar and his Medellin cartel became immensely powerful. Additionally, a communist insurgency led by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia drained government resources. Although both conflicts have quieted down in recent years, Colombia remains scarred by the violence.