Alonso de Ojeda lands in Colombia


De Ojeda was a sailor with Columbus (for whom the country is named), and the first known Spanish sailor to set foot in Colombia.

inland search from explorers


Explorers in Colombia searched inland to find habitable places.

Colonial rule in Colombia

1564 - 1819

During this period, Colombia was under the rule of Spain. Citizens of Colombia were not happy with this, and there were many plans of rebellion.

Revolución Comunera


This was a rebellion by Colombian citizens against Spanish colonial rule, which led to their freedom.

Simón Bolivar shows up


Simón Bolivar was a general who led Colombian troops into battle to fight for their independence from colonial rule. Bolivar was a highly educated man (He was inspired to help overthrow Spanish rule after hearing the ideas of Enlightenment thinkers!) who helped liberate 6 countries in his time. He is considered one of the greatest heroes of Latin American freedom.

Colombia gains freedom from Spain

August 7th, 1819

Colombian soldiers finally defeat Spain in a battle for their nation's freedom.

Gran Colombia dissolves

1829 - 1830

Venezuela and Ecuador split from the country known as Gran Colombia, leaving only Colombia.

Liberal and Conservative Parties are Founded


The founding of the Liberal and Conservative parties was very important to the history of Colombia as these parties would clash constantly, leading to many battles and period of unrest.

War Of A Thousand Days

1899 - 1903

This war was a civil war between the Liberal and Conservative parties in Colombia. The Liberal party, who fought for coffee growers and import-export trade, ended up surrendering. After the war, Panama seceded from the United States Of Colombia.

Gabriel García Márquez born

March 6th, 1927

Gabriel García Márquez was a Colombian writer and journalist who is most famous for his novels such as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. He invented the "magical realism" genre that has influenced the majority of Latin American writers and he wrote many pieces of fiction which paralleled the political situations in Colombia, like One of These Days, written during La Violencia. After his death in in 2014, President Juan Manuel Santos called him "the greatest Colombian who ever lived".

La Violencia

1948 - 1958

A period of political unrest between the liberals and conservatives in Colombia which led to many years of upheaval. There were an estimated 200,000 lives lost during the battles in this period. Famous Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez was a prominent journalist during this time.

La Violencia ends


The leaders of both parties involved signed a treaty to share power for 16 years. This was later improved to include an act which would allow women to vote.

National Front

1958 - 1974

With this act, the Liberal and Conservative parties in Colombia agreed to rotate power for 16 years.


1964 - Present

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is a guerilla group in Colombia. The creation of this group would lead to many problems down the road. They still cause problems to this day, having taken high profile political hostages as recently as 2008. They defy the government using tactics like sieges, arson, and terrorism to have their message heard.

19th of April Movement

19 April 1970 - 1990

The 19th of April Movement was a guerilla movement against the government. However, it was stopped by officials and later became a political party, the M-19 Democratic Alliance.

The Medellín Cartel is active

1972 - 1993

The Medellín Cartel was a large network of drug smugglers and suppliers founded by Pablo Escobar. At its peak, the cartel spanned over ten countries and was the largest, most successful, and most dangerous cartel in the world. Escobar, during his most successful time, was the richest drug lord in the world, and 7th richest man overall. After escaping from a prison which he had designed, Escobar spent years fleeing from law enforcement, unable to run his cartel to the fullest extent. Eventually, Escobar was killed by Colombian National Police in 1992, ending the cartel's reign once and for all.

Colombia enters the drug trade

Approx. 1975

Colombia is one of the world's leading producers of cocaine, and they really began to get into the business in the 70's. This led to a long and violent era of cartels and drug lords in Colombia.

Shakira is born

February 2nd, 1977

Music icon Shakira was born on this day in Baranquilla.

The President fights drug trafficking


President Julio Turbay strongly opposed drug trafficking from Colombia and he sought to end it. His efforts were not successful.

Ernesto Samper Pizano elected


This president was important as he was charged with using money from the drug trafficking trade to fund his campaign. He was eventually cleared of these charges.

Plan Colombia

1999 - Present

Plan Colombia was an initiative by the US and Colombia to control drug trading and strengthen military forces. In its original iteration, however, it was focused on achieving peace in Colombia. The US funds this 7 million dollar program.