Colombia, United States of
Colombia, United States of a republic in South America (until 1861 called New Granada). The country was discovered in 1498 by Christopher Columbus. In 1732 the viceroyalty of New Granada was established of what are now the United States of Colombia and Ecuador. In 1810 New Granada separated herself from the Spanish monarchy, and maintained a constant war until 1824, when the Spanish army was conquered by the Colombian. New Granada formed with Venezuela (since 1817) and with Ecuador (since 1821) the republic of Colombia. But Venezuela separated herself in Nov. 1829, and Ecuador in May, 1830, and the central part constituted itself as the republic of New Granada on Nov. 21, 1831. Several times some of the states forming the republic declared themselves independent: thus the state of Panama was independent from 1863 to 1865. Since then the united republic has been constituted of the nine states of Antioquia, Bolivar, Boyaca, Cauca, Cundinamarca, Magdalena, Panama, Santander, Tolima, together, according to the census of 1867, with a population of 2,794,473 inhabitants. The population is rapidly increasing; in 1810, when the revolution commenced, there were 800,000 inhabitants; in 1826, 1,300,000; in 1835, 1,685,038; in 1885, 3,500,000. According to a decree of 1851, slavery ceased on January 1, 1852. The whole native population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, whose ministers receive a salary from the state. The hierarchy consists of one archbishop at (Santa Fe de) Bogota, and seven bishops at Antioquia, Cartagena, Santa Martha, New Pampelona, Panama, Pasto (established in 1859), and Popayan. Church affairs have for many years been the subject of violent controversies between the Liberal party, who are in favor of absolute freedom of worship, of separating the state from the Church, of expelling the Jesuits, and similar measures, and the Conservative party, to whom belong all the fanatical partisans of the Church of Rome. Generally the government has been in the hands of the Liberal party, which several times has made attempts to enforce a full separation of the Church from Rome. Protestant foreigners received the right of public worship in 1822, and later the same right was given to the natives. In all the large towns the government enforces the legal toleration of all religions, but in the country the ignorance and fanaticism of the populace make it often difficult to obtain the full benefit of the law. In 1856 the Old School Presbyterian Church of the United States occupied Bogota as a missionary station, and in 1866 a second missionary was sent to the same place. A boys' school was opened January 1, 1867. The American Bible Society, in 1866, opened a depository at Bogota. At the English services the average attendance on the Sabbath, during the year 1866, was over thirty; but worship was still held in private houses, no suitable hall or edifice having yet been obtained by the missionaries. A large number of foreign Protestants, chiefly from the United States and England, have settled at Panama and Aspinwall (Colon), and they have a church and school, but hardly any progress has been made toward establishing a native Spanish congregation. — See the Annual
Reports of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church; New American Cyclopaedia and Lippincott's Gazetteer, s.v. New Granada; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 2:792.