Columbia’s internal Conflicts

Columbia is located in the Northwest of South America with one coast along the Pacific and the other along the Caribbean Sea.While the population is very diversified, more than half of the people are of Spanish-Indian decent.European ancestry makes up the next biggest percentage, along with the blacks, mulattos, and zambos (black-Indian mix).Instability in politics and the people began in the beginning when the people won their land over the Spanish royalists. After the defeat of the Spanish army, the republic consisted of all of the formerly Spanish owned land.Simon Bolivar was elected itsfirst President and Francisco de Paula Santander, Vice President. Two political parties that grew out of conflicts between the followers of Bolivar and Santander, the Conservatives and the Liberals, have dominated Colombian politics.The conflicts stemmed from ideas of the Conservatives who wanted a centralized government that ruled in affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church.The liberals, Santander;s followers, were in favor of a de-centralized government, where the church did not have power over educational and civil issues.Both parties held office throughout history almost an equal number of times.Despite the constant instability, the government was able to maintain it;s democratic way of electing a different leader every four years.
Notwithstanding the country’s commitment to democratic institutions, Colombia’s history has been characterized by periods of widespread, violent conflict. Two civil wars resulted from bitter rivalry between the Conservative and Liberal Parties. The War of a Thousand Days (1899-1902) cost an estimated 100,000 lives, and up to 300,000 people perished during “La violencia” (The Violence) of the late 1940s and 1950s.
Although Columbia started with the grounds of a growing economy, it flourished as a battle zone for those producing and trafficking drugs.