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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Colombia

Colombia is named after Christopher Columbus, even though he was beaten to its shore by fellow explorer Rodrigo de Bastidas, a Spanish conquistador who sailed its coastline in 1499.

The 16th century Spanish invaders in South America first came across the potato when entering a Colombian village from which the inhabitants had fled. They originally thought they were truffles.

In 1819, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama declared independence from Spain, and formed a federation called "Gran Colombia". Venezuela and Ecuador separated in 1830 and it became the Republic of Colombia
.

When Pope Paul VI arrived in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1968 it was the first ever visit of a pope to Latin America.

By the mid-80s the Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar owned 19 different residences in Medellin alone, each with a helipad. There was so much money rolling into his enterprise that figuring out how to invest it was more than he could handle; millions were simply buried.

On 31st December of each year Colombian families stuff a life-size male doll called Mr. Old Year with memories of the outgoing 12 months and dress him in old clothes from each family member. At midnight he is set on fire - thus burning away the bad memories of the year.

Colombia is the only South American country with coasts on both oceans (Pacific and Atlantic).

Colombia does not have any particular season, as it lies close to the equator. It enjoys sunlight all through the year.

The top of some of the mountains in Colombia are so cold that people can ski over the equator.

. "Nevado del Ruiz en Colombia" by Edgar JimĂ©nez - http://www.flickr.com/photos. . Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons 

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