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What is now Colombia and Panama emerged as the Republic of New Granada.The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. Since the 1960s, the country has suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict, which escalated in the 1990s but then decreased from 2005 onward.
The oldest pottery discovered in the Americas, found at San Jacinto, dates to 5000–4000 BCE.
Indigenous people inhabited the territory that is now Colombia by 12,500 BCE.
In 1508, Vasco Núñez de Balboa accompanied an expedition to the territory through the region of Gulf of Urabá and they founded the town of Santa María la Antigua del Darién in 1510, the first stable settlement on the continent.
Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada led an expedition to the interior in April 1536, and christened the districts through which he passed "New Kingdom of Granada".
Colombia is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world, and thereby possesses a rich cultural heritage.
The urban centres are mostly located in the highlands of the Andes mountains.It is a unitary, constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments.The territory of what is now Colombia was originally inhabited by indigenous peoples, including the Muisca, Quimbaya and the Tairona.In 1547, New Granada became the Captaincy-General of New Granada within the viceroyalty.In 1549, the Royal Audiencia was created by a royal decree, and New Granada was ruled by the Royal Audience of Santa Fe de Bogotá, which at that time comprised the provinces of Santa Marta, Rio de San Juan, Popayán, Guayana and Cartagena.Two other notable journeys by early conquistadors to the interior took place in the same period.