Travel through our timeline of major events in Colombia's history.
Native people create villages along the Caribbean coast.
The Chibcha, or Muisca, organize complex villages, mainly in the Andes mountains. They are farmers and skilled goldsmiths.
Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada conquers the Chibcha. He founds Santa Fé de Bogotá, and names the area Nueva Granada.
Slaves from Africa are brought in to work in gold mines.
Spain combines Nueva Granada with what are now Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama to form the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada.
Simón Bolívar, fighting for independence, defeats Spain in the Battle of Boyacá. The nation of Gran Colombia is formed. In 1830, Venezuela and Ecuador become separate nations. Colombia and Panama remain as Nueva Granada.
The nation becomes known as the United States of Colombia.
The Conservative and Liberal political parties battle in a civil war called the War of a Thousand Days. With U.S. support, Panama declares its independence.
After another civil war—La Violencia—Conservatives and Liberals agree to share power. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a guerilla group, is formed. Later, more guerilla groups form.
Colombia becomes a leading supplier of illegal drugs.
PIERO POMPONI—GETTY IMAGES
President Andrés Pastrana Arango develops Plan Colombia, an antidrug policy. The U.S. provides financial and military support for it.