The Colombian population has a diverse racial makeup. About 58 percent of the people are mestizo (of mixed European and Native American ancestry), about 20 percent are of unmixed European ancestry, and about 14 percent are mulatto (of mixed black and European ancestry). Blacks account for 4 percent of the population, mixed black and Native Americans for 3 percent, and unmixed Native Americans for 1 percent.
Scholars estimate that the Native American population at the time of the Spanish conquest numbered between 1.5 million and 2 million. Many of the indigenous people were nomadic. The Chibchas, who lived on the Cordillera Oriental in the east, practiced agriculture. Intermarriage between the Spanish and the indigenous people began soon after the conquest, leading to the development of themestizo population. Early in the colonial period the Spanish brought black slaves from the west coast of Africa. African ancestry is most evident today among the population of the Caribbean shores and inland among the people living along the Magdalena and Cauca rivers. The official language of Colombia is Spanish, which is spoken throughout the country.
However, some Indian tribes in remote areas still speak their own languages. The current constitution, adopted in 1991, recognizes the languages of ethnic groups and provides for bilingual education. "Colombia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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