Colombia was once part of Gran Colombia, which led by Simon Bolivar won independence in 1824. Gran Colombia subsequently divided into three countries in 1832: Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia. Even though Gran Colombia was not one of the richest colonies of the Spanish empire, mining (gold) was a successful activity at the end of the 18th century. Although exploitation of gold resulted in economic growth, the roots of Colombian poverty can be traced to this time because one of the main gold mining centers, el Chocó, is currently one of the poorest places in the country. Mining declined after independence, and gross domestic product (GDP) stagnated until the 1850s, followed by a 30-year period of growth led by primary products such as coffee and tobacco. ...

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