Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is a country in South America. It is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, the northwest by Panama, the south by Ecuador and Peru, the east by Venezuela, the southeast by Brazil, and the west by the Pacific Ocean. Colombia is composed of 32 departments and the Capital District of Bogotá, the country's largest city. It covers an area of 1,141,748 square kilometres, with a population of 50 million. Colombia's rich cultural heritage reflects influences by various Amerindian civilizations, European settlement, African slaves, and immigration from Europe and the Middle East. Spanish is the nation's official language, besides which over 70 languages are spoken.
Colombia has been inhabited by various indigenous peoples since at least 12,000 BCE, including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and the Tairona. The Spanish landed first in La Guajira in 1499 and by the mid-16th century colonized parts of the region, establishing the New Kingdom of Granada, with Santafé de Bogotá as its capital. Independence from the Spanish Empire was achieved in 1819, with what is now Colombia emerging as the United Provinces of New Granada.