Colombia, at the northern tip of South America, is a country of lush rainforest, towering mountains and coffee plantations. Since declaring independence on 20 July 1810 and achieving it in 1819, Colombia has changed its name seven times. Regional cultural traditions are diverse, with a broad range of distinct groups that have unique customs, accents, social patterns, and cultural adaptations. These groups are classified into three cultures: those in the interior, the countryside, and the coastal regions. Only during elections, sporting events, and beauty pageants do the regional cultures unite for a common goal.
Ninety-five percent of the people consider themselves members of the Roman Catholic Church and attach great importance to Catholic sacraments. More than 85 percent of Catholics in urban parishes attend mass regularly.The Spanish began a process of conversion among the Indians in the sixteenth century, and the institutionalization of the Catholic Church was a high priority for the colonial government
440,831 sq mi, and 8.8% of it is water.
48.32 million (2013)
Most middle-class families eat elaborate meals that reflect Spanish and indigenous traditions. A typical meal is identified by size rather than content, such as a light breakfast, a substantive midday lunch, and a lighter meal in the early evening. Dinner consists of fresh fruit, homemade soup, and a main dish with meat or fish accompanied by rice and/or potatoes. Lower-income people eat a more carbohydrate-rich diet. Meals usually end with a very sweet dessert, frequently made from panela, a type of brown sugar.There are regional differences in foods. In the interior rural regions, a hearty breakfast consists of a strip of pork, rice and beans, sweet plantains, and a large steak with fried eggs. Dinner is similar, except for the eggs. In the coastal region, the emphasis is on seafood. In Cartagena, the typical lunch consists of rice with coconut, fried plantains, and shrimp. Colombians enjoy a variety of national and international cuisines.