Bogota, or Santa Fe De Bogotá, is the capital of the republic of Colombia and the interior department of Cundinamarca, as well as the largest and most populous city in the country. Its metropolitan area brings the population to over 7 million people.
The city is located in the southeastern part of the Bogotá savanna at the base of two mountains, Guadalupe and Monserrate and has a subtropical highland climate.
Bogota was officially founded in 1538 by spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and was named Santa Fe de Bogota after his birthplace Santa Fe, and after the southern capital of the Chibchas, Bacata (or Funza). It was made the capital of the viceroyalty of Nueva Granada, and soon became one of the centres of Spanish colonial power and civilization on the South American continent.
Bogota is a flavorful mix of its Spanish, English and the indigenous peoples' heritages.
Data and Facts
- The city was founded by the Muisca people long before the arrival of the Spanish, who established their own city there. They called the settlement Bacatá, which in the Chibcha language means “The Lady of the Andes.”
- With independence in 1819, Bogotá became the capital of the Gran Colombia, and -subsequently- of the Republic of Colombia.
- Bogotá covers a total area of 1,587 square kilometers and has a population density of around 15,930 residents per square mile.
- Bogotá was named the UNESCO City of Music in 2013
- Head of State: President Ivan Duque Marquez
- Language: Spanish
- Country motto: Freedom and order
- Currency: Colombian peso (COP)
- Median age: 30.4 years
- Life expectancy: 76.2 years
- Religion: 92.3% Christianity, 6.7% unaffiliated, 0.8% Folk.
The government of Colombia takes place within the framework of a presidential participatory democratic republic as established in the Constitution of 1991. In accordance with the principle of separation of powers, government is divided into three branches: the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch.
As the head of the executive branch, the President of Colombia serves as both head of state and head of government, followed by the Vice President and the Council of Ministers. The president is elected by popular vote to serve four-year term.
Bogota is home for the Congress, Supreme Court of Justice and the center of the executive administration as well as the residence of the President. These buildings, along with the Office of the Mayor, are located within a few meters from each other on the Bolívar Square.
The Mayor of Bogotá and the City Council – both elected by popular vote – are responsible for city administration. The current mayor of the city, elected in 2020, is Claudia Lopez Hernandez.
The city is divided into 20 localities each governed by an administrative board elected by popular vote.
Historically an agrarian economy, mainly focused on the production of fruits and coffee, Colombia urbanised rapidly in the 20th century. Colombia is rich in natural resources, and its main exports include mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, fruit and other agricultural products, sugars and sugar confectionery, food products, plastics, precious stones, metals, forest products, chemical goods, pharmaceuticals, vehicles, electronic products, electrical equipments, perfumery and cosmetics, machinery, manufactured articles, textile and fabrics, clothing and footwear, glass and glassware, furniture, prefabricated buildings, military products, home and office material, construction equipment, software, among others. Principal trading partners are the United States, China, the European Union and some Latin American countries.
However, there is a big gap on the population wealthy. The recent economic growth has led to a considerable increase of new millionaires but in 2017, the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) reported that 26.9% of the population were living below the poverty line, of which 7.4% in "extreme poverty".
Bogotá is a major center for the import and export of goods for Colombia and the Andean Community in Latin America and is the home of Colombia's tire, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, but its chief activities are commercial. It is the hub of air travel in the nation and the home of South America's first commercial airline Avianca (Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia). Bogotá also receives money from exports such as flowers and emeralds. In downtown Bogotá, millions of dollars in domestically produced rough and cut emeralds are bought and sold daily.
Bogotá is also responsible for 56% of the tourism that arrives to Colombia contributing with the 2.5% of the country GDP.
Bogotá is Colombia's largest economic center and the headquarters of major commercial banks, and to the Banco de la República, Colombia's central bank as well as Colombia's main stock market (established 1928). Because of its status as site of the country's capital, it is home to a number of government agencies, which represent a major component of the city's economy. Bogotá houses the military headquarters and is the center of Colombia's telecommunications network.
Bogotá is strategically located in the centre of the Americas. Due to its location and transport connections, many companies have chosen Bogotá for their regional headquarters, shared service centres and logistical hubs to serve Latin America.
There is high availability of skilled human resources in the city. There are four million workers, 861,000 higher-education students and 94,000 higher-education graduates per year. Most companies in Colombia have their headquarters in Bogotá, and it is home to many foreign companies doing business in Colombia and neighboring countries.
Companies located in Bogotá have direct access to the $333 billion Colombian market, one of the largest and most dynamic markets in Latin America.
Extensive experience, abundant and skilled human resources, competitive costs, a strategic near-shore location and government support make Bogotá one of the most competitive cities for offshore operations in the region for contact centres, business process outsourcing, shared services centres and software and remote infrastructure. Bogotá also provides incentives for investment.
Bogotá's growth has placed a strain on its roads and highways, but since 1998 significant efforts to upgrade the infrastructure have been undertaken. There are two bus systems: the traditional system and the TransMilenio, a form of bus rapid transit that compensate for the lack of a subway or rail system.
Bogotá's main airport, El Dorado International Airport, is the third busiest airport in Latin America in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest in terms of cargo.
A secondary airport, CATAM, serves as a base for Military and Police Aviation.
Guaymaral Airport is another small airport located in the northern boundaries of Bogota. It is used mainly for private aviation activities.
Colombia is proud to have a robust startup ecosystem within the region and there’s potential to explore it further.
The Colombian government is doing a joint campaign to have the country known as a tech center, which includes attracting IT service with professional training programs and tax incentives at the initial stage. The campaign is gaining ground and so far, it has grown an industry worth $6.8 billion. Most of the 1,800 registered companies are in technology-related industries such as IT services and software development. The government is looking forward to the tech industry growing and diversifying into other related innovative fields.
A more tech-specific initiative of the Colombian government is Apps.co, which they expect to fund partnership programs with universities and accelerators. Apps.co is located in Bogotá. It is tasked to help Colombian startups to develop their ideas into businesses under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation. The government initiative supports the development of content, software and mobile applications. The program was created in 2012 and to date, it has helped 137,000 people and provided support to 2,175 companies and teams.
One of the most popular startups in Colombia is Rappi, an on-demand delivery app. In September 2018 it was able to raise an additional US$220 million. Rappi is valued at US$1.1 billion today.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
Health services in Bogotá are administered by the District Department of Health. The city has many health centers, private clinics and state hospitals that render medical and hospital services. There are 142 public medical clinics and 22 health organizations that render services to more than 4,900,000 patients.
Known as the Athens of South America, Bogotá has an extensive educational system of both primary and secondary schools and colleges. There are a more than one hundred universities, both public and private, in the city like National University of Colombia, University of the Andes, or, District University of Bogotá.
Bogota is home to several television stations like Canal Capital and Citytv which are local stations. It has multiple satellite television services like Telefónica, Claro and DirecTV and several satellite dishes which offer hundreds of international channels, plus several exclusive channels for Bogotá.
In Bogota, all the major radio networks in the country are available, in both AM and FM; 70% of the FM stations offer RDS service.
There are several newspapers, including El Tiempo, El Espectador and El Nuevo Siglo, plus economical dailies like La República and Portafolio.
The city offers more than 60 museums and over 70 art galleries. The Colombian National Museum is one of the most important centers and has acquisitions divided into four collections: art, history, archeology and ethnography. The Gold Museum, with 35,000 pieces of tumbaga gold, stone and textiles, represents the largest collection of pre-Columbian gold in the world and is one of the most visited museums in Bogota.
Dancing is very popular throughout Colombia, with many vibrant and popular styles. Popular dance styles include Salsa, Merengue, and Bambuco. Cumbia music and dance are considered Colombian national treasures whose rhythmic cadence and melodies reflect the mulatto and indigenous flavor.
The country's most widely played and watched sport in Bogotá is football. Bogotá's Millonarios and Santa Fé teams have some of Colombia’s strongest rivalries in Colombia. The Colombian national team has also qualified for several FIFA World Cup finals and several Summer Olympic tournaments.
Cundinamarca (see text)