Colombia: Introduction

Submitted by The Catt-Trax2 Team on Fri, 2007/01/05 - 2:59pm.

Report prepared by Johanna Paradis and Amanda White, students in BCIT’s Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Program.


Colombia covers 1,141,748 km2 in northwestern South America and is bordered by the Caribbean Sea, Panama, the Pacific Ocean, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and Venezuela. The equator runs through the middle of the country. The highest point in the country is Mount Cristobol Colon at 5,775 m (fifth highest mountain in the world).

Colombia is home to one of the wettest places on Earth: Lloro (in the Pacific region), averages more than thirteen metres of rain a year; compare this to Vancouver’s average of only 1.1172 m of rain a year.

Colombia is a country rich in natural resources including:

  • vast forests
  • grasslands
  • croplands
  • fisheries
  • mineral (iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds)
  • hydropower
  • natural gas
  • petroleum
  • coal and oil resources.

Land is used for:

  • agriculture
  • forestry
  • commercial fisheries and aquaculture
  • oil exploration
  • gold mining
  • coal and emerald mining
  • flowers
  • textile factories
  • sugarcane.


In 2006 Colombia’s population was 43.5 million, most of whom are Roman Catholic and speak Spanish. Over half of the population is mestizo, people of mixed European and indigenous non-European heritage. Only one percent of the original indigenous population remains.


In 2005 Colombia’s GDP totaled US $341.1 billion. These figures include money generated from the illicit drug trade, however, which are estimated at billion from cocaine alone. Nearly half of the population exists below the poverty line. Unemployment sits at 11.8%.

Canadian exports to Colombia were CDN $446 million in 2005 (wheat, grains, pulp and paper products, automobile parts, copper, fertilizers, and aluminum). Major imports from Colombia in the same year included mineral fuels ($209.82 M), spices, coffee and tea ($126.12 M), fruits ($88.78 M), live trees and plants ($60.64 M), iron/steel products ($17.76 M) totaling 582.8 million.