At Origin: Colombia

Colombia Caramelo Coffeenatics

Home to the third-highest number of Spanish speakers in the world, Colombia is South America's fourth largest country, boasting a population of more than 48 million people

Its rich cultural tapestry dates back to its first inhabitants, the Indigenous people called the Tairona, Quimbaya and Muisca Tribes. Their societal development is documented in ruins, with towns and stone paths as well as objects such as statues, gold, pottery on show

In 1499 the first of the Spanish explorers arrived and so began an era of conquest and colonisation. The Spaniards killed a lot of indigenous people and stole most of their treasures until their culture was almost lost altogether. Independence was proclaimed in 1813 and the Republic of Greater Colombia was formed. However, this formation wasn't without conflict: two civil wars claimed over 400,000 lives in years between 1899 and 1957

During the 1960s and 1970s drug cartels and guerrilla organisations, led by student leaders with Marxist ideologies, flooded Colombia's remote and undeveloped rural areas. War broke out against these groups to try to put a stop to the drug trafficking in 1982. The country struggled with violence and instability and the country turned into public battleground with bombs, killings and kidnappings

After years of fighting and suffering, the "New" Colombia is now a strong world economy with a bright future. Coffee is one of the natural resources that is helping the economy excel today

Often regarded as some of the highest quality coffee in the world, Colombia's Arabica beans are grown across 500,000 farms in some of the most biologically diverse landscapes across the globe. It's not known how exactly the beans arrived in the country, but by 1860, coffee had emerged as the dominant export crop, with the tariffs on exports becoming the main source of government revenue. The National Federation of Coffee Growers is behind Colombia's respected name in the industry, running a marketing campaign to elevate their coffee to international attention

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