Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a sovereign state largely situated in the northwest of South America, with territories in Central America. Colombia shares a border to the northwest with Panama, to the east with Venezuela and Brazil and to the south with Ecuador and Peru. It shares its maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Colombia is a unitary, constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments, with the capital in Bogota.
Colombia has been inhabited by various indigenous peoples since 12,000 BCE, including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and the Tairona. The Spanish arrived in 1499 and by the mid-16th century conquered and colonized much of the region, establishing the New Kingdom of Granada, with Santafé de Bogotá as its capital. Independence from Spain was achieved in 1819, but by 1830 the "Gran Colombia" Federation was dissolved, with what is now Colombia and Panama emerging as the Republic of New Granada. The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. Panama seceded in 1903, leading to Colombia's present borders. Beginning in the 1960s, the country suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict and rampant political violence, both of which escalated in the 1990s. Since 2005, there has been significant improvement in security, stability, and rule of law.