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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.
Colombian territory also encompasses Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines.
Ecologically, it is one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries, and the most densely biodiverse of these per square kilometer.).
These sites date from the Paleoindian period (18,000–8000 BCE).
They farmed maize, potato, quinoa and cotton, and traded gold, emeralds, blankets, ceramic handicrafts, coca and especially rock salt with neighboring nations.
The Tairona inhabited northern Colombia in the isolated mountain range of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
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.