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Rich and varied cultures


Barranquilla carnival
Barranquilla carnival

Colombia’s Native Americans had developed rich and varied cultures prior to the arrival of Spanish settlers in the 16th century. Several groups practiced agriculture and crafts, producing fine works in stone and precious metals such as gold. Their temples, statues, and pottery attest to the richness of their cultures, and Native American designs continue to influence folk arts such as sculpture, textiles, music, and dance. During the colonial period, Spanish settlers rapidly incorporated Native American civilization into the dominant Spanish culture.

The Spanish colonial government devoted less energy to developing New Granada, as Colombia was called, than it did to other parts of Latin America. Noble families generally did not settle in the area, so great palaces were not built. Since the Roman Catholic Church was the main source of wealth, churches, cathedrals, and religious paintings and statuary make up most of the colonial artistic legacy.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, romanticism took root in Latin American art and literature and became linked to the struggle for independence. Romanticism is characterized by a highly imaginative and subjective approach, emotional intensity, and a dreamlike or visionary quality.

As the 19th century progressed, a national style of art began to flourish. Colombian literature flowered, and Bogotá became known as the Athens of America. In the early 21st century, the majority of Colombians had neither the means nor the time to cultivate fine arts, but Colombians still exhibit national pride in the country’s artistic and literary achievements. "Colombia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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