Colombia Adoption Program
Named for Christopher Columbus, the explorer who claimed much of the New World for Spain in the late 1400s, Colombia is the second most populous and fourth largest country in South America. It’s often referred to as the "gateway to South America" because it sits in the northwestern part of the continent where Central and North America connect with South America. Bordering Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil to the East, West and South, and Panama to the North, it has coastline along both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
Colombia is a land of extremes. It has deserts to the north, grasslands to the east, snow-covered volcanoes and mountains in the centrally-located Andes, and tropical beaches along the coast.
Both its economy and culture are diverse, as are its people and landscape. Most citizens are descended from three ethnic groups: Indians, African people brought to Colombia to work as slaves, and European settlers. This rich cultural mix makes the country's cuisine, music, dance, and art diverse and unique.
Colombia's biggest trading partner is the United States, which buys a significant percentage of the country's exports. Colombia sends a variety of items overseas, including coffee, bananas, oil, coal, gold, and platinum. It is also the world’s leading source of emeralds.
The national flower is the orchid, as Colombia has the highest number of orchid species in the world (almost 4,300!). It also ranks first in bird diversity, as Colombia is home to more than 1,930 bird species, or about one fifth of all know bird species on Earth. Of these species, over 80 are only found in Colombia.