and their blood flows in the veins of the mestizos of the Bogotá plateau. Their ancient language has been partly preserved through the labours of Gonzalo Bermudez, José Dadei, Bernardo de Lugo, and Ezequiel Uricoechea, the last having made it the subject of a special study. According to this author the Chibchas were composed of three loosely united nationalities governed by three independent chiefs—the Zipa of Muequetá (the present Funza), the Zaque of Hunsa (now Tunja), and the Jeque of Iraca, who was regarded as the successor of the god Nemterequeteba, whom they worshipped as the author of their civilization. The latter had his residence at Suamoz, or Sogamoso.
The Tayronas, of the Santa Marta highlands, who have totally disappeared, were also remarkable for the progress which they had made toward civilization. Evidence of this is to be found in the excellent roads which they constructed, and in the skilfully made gold ornaments which have been found in the district which they occupied, as well as in the contemporary accounts of them by their conquerors. Among the tribes which are still living in a savage state are the Mesayas, Caquetas, Mocoas, Amarizanos, Guipanabis and Andaquies of the unsettled eastern territories; the Goajiros, Motilones, Guainetas, and Cocinas of the Rio Hacha, Upar and Santa Marta districts; and the Dariens, Cunacunas, and Chocos of the Atrato basin. These tribes have successfully resisted all efforts to bring them under political and ecclesiastical control, and their subjection is still a matter of no small concern to the Colombian government. As late as the year 1900 Mr Albert Millican, while collecting orchids on the Opon river, a tributary of the Magdalena between Bogotá and the Caribbean coast, was attacked by hostile Indians, and one of his companions was killed by a poisoned arrow. These hostile tribes are usually too small to make much trouble, but they are able to make exploration and settlement decidedly dangerous in some districts.
The mestizos, like the whites and Indians, chiefly inhabit the more elevated regions of the interior. They are of a sturdy, patient type, like their Indian ancestors, and are sufficiently industrious to carry on many of the small industries and occupations, and to meet the labour requirements of the inhabited plateau districts. Those of the urban middle classes are shopkeepers and artizans, and those of the lower class are domestics and day labourers. The whites of Spanish descent object to manual labour, and this places all such occupations in the hands of the coloured races. In the country the mestizos are small agriculturists, herders, labourers and fishermen; but there are many educated and successful merchants and professional men among them. There are no social barriers in their intercourse with the whites, nor race barriers against those who have political aspirations. The negroes of pure blood are to be found principally on the coastal plains and in the great lowland river valleys, where they live in great part on the bounties of nature. A small percentage of them are engaged in trade and other occupations; a few are small agriculturists.
Bogotá was reputed to be a centre of learning in colonial times, but there was no great breadth and depth to it, and it produced nothing of real value. By nature the Spanish-American loves art and literature, and the poetic faculty is developed in him to a degree rarely found among the Teutonic races. Writing and reciting poetry are universal, and fill as important a place in social life as instrumental music. In Colombia, as elsewhere, much attention has been given to belles-lettres among the whites of Spanish descent, but as yet the republic has practically nothing of a permanent character to show for it. The natural sciences attracted attention very early through the labours of José Celestino Mútis, who was followed by a number of writers of local repute, such as Zea, Cabal, Cáldas, Pombo, Cespedes, Camacho and Lozano. We are indebted to Humboldt for our earliest geographical descriptions of the northern part of the continent, but to the Italian, Augustin Codazzi, who became a Colombian after the War of Independence, Colombia is indebted for the first systematic exploration of her territory. Geographical description has had a peculiar fascination for Colombian writers, and there have been a number of books issued since the appearance of Codazzi’s Resumen and Atlas. Historical writing has also received much attention, beginning with the early work of José Manuel Restrepo (1827), and a considerable number of histories, compendiums and memoirs have been published, but none of real importance. Some good work has been done in ethnography and archaeology by some writers of the colonial period, and by Ezequiel Uricoechea and Ernesto Restrepo.
Territorial Divisions and Towns.—Previously to 1903 the republic was divided into nine departments, which were then reduced to eight by the secession of Panama. This division of the national territory was modified in 1905, by creating seven additional departments from detached portions of the old ones, and by cutting up the unsettled districts of Goajira and the great eastern plains into four intendencias. The fifteen departments thus constituted, with the official estimates of 1905 regarding their areas and populations, are as follows:—
Of these departments the original eight are Antioquia, Bolívar, Boyacá (or Bojacá), Cauca, Cundinamarca, Magdalena, Santander and Tolima. The four intendencias are called Goajira, Meta, Alto Caquetá and Putumayo, and their aggregate area is estimated to be considerably more than half of the republic. The first covers the Goajira peninsula, which formerly belonged to the department of Magdalena, and the other three roughly correspond to the drainage basins of the three great rivers of the eastern plains whose names they bear. These territories formerly belonged to the departments of Boyacá, Cundinamarca and Cauca. The seven new departments are: Atlantico, taken from the northern extremity of Bolívar; Cáldas, the southern part of Antioquia; Galán, the southern districts of Santander, including Charalá, Socorro, Velez, and its capital San Gil; Huila, the southern part of Tolima, including the headwaters of the Magdalena and the districts about Neiva and La Plata; Nariño, the southern part of Cauca extending from the eastern Cordillera to the Pacific coast; Quesada, a cluster of small, well-populated districts north of Bogotá formerly belonging to Cundinamarca, including Zipaquirá, Guatavita, Ubaté and Pacho; and Tundama, the northern part of Boyacá lying on the frontier of Galán in the vicinity of its capital Santa Rosa. The Federal District consists of a small area surrounding the national capital taken from the department of Cundinamarca. These fifteen departments are subdivided into provinces, 92 in all, and these into municipalities, of which there are 740.
The larger cities and towns of the republic other than the department capitals, with their estimated populations in 1904, are:—
|La Mesa (Cundinamarca)||10,000|
|Pié de Cuesta (Santander)||12,000|
|Rio Negro (Antioquia)||12,000|
|Santa Rosa de Osos (Antioquia)||11,000|
|San José de Cúcuta (Santander)||13,000|