Tricolor Trivia: Twenty facts for Colombia’s 20 de Julio


Colombia is the world’s largest emerald producer with the most precious stones found in Muzo, department of Boyacá.

We are the only South American nation graced with two oceans – the Pacific and Atlantic.

Colombia is the second most biodiverse nation on the planet.

The Cattleya orchid is Colombia’s national flower and named after an Englishman, William Cattley.

Our national tree, the Quindío Wax Palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense) known as Palma de Cera, can grow up to 80 meters in height, and best appreciated in Quindío’s Valle de Cocora.

In 1968, Marlon Brando turned up in colonial Cartagena to play a British mercenary in the Italian-French war drama “Burn” (La Quemada).

The San Francisco cloister (Claustro de San Francisco) in Cartagena was the location for the opening and final scenes of Roland Joffé’s Academy Award-winning film “The Mission”.

At 5pm November 1, 1865, the first telegram was sent from Cuatro Esquinas by operator Guillermo Lee Stiles to President Manuel Murillo Toro.

On October 19, 1899, the first motor-powered vehicle was driven on the streets of Medellín. A French made Dion Bouton was owned by gold mining magnate Carlos Coroliano Amador Fernández. On this fateful day, the One Thousand Day War broke out.

Covering 14,000 square meters, the colonial central plaza of Villa de Leyva is considered one of the largest in all of South America.

The Devil first made his appearance at the Carnaval del Diablo in Riosucio, Caldas in 1915.

Colombia’s Arabica coffee plant was first documented by French botanist Antonie de Jussieu in 1713 and called Jasminum arabicanum. Today, the plant’s bean indulges millions of coffee drinkers around the world.

The pacemaker is a Colombian invention that has saved millions of lives thanks to the pioneering inventions of Bogotá engineer Jorge Reynolds.

The composer of “Rosa, Qué linda eres”, Luis Magín Díaz, recorded his first solo album this year, at age 95.

Bogotá’s sister cities include Prague, Warsaw, Turin, Los Angeles, Lyon and Seoul.

Chapinero was named after a shoemaker called Hero, whose footwear was in demand by those who needed special “chapines”. Hence, a place called “Chapin-Hero”.

The first beer was sold in Bogotá in 1841 at the “Rosa Blanca” store in La Candelaria.

Santa Marta is the oldest city in South America, founded in 1525 by conquistador Rodrigo de Bastidas.

Avianca is the second oldest airline in the world, established December 1919 in Barranquilla as the Colombo-German Aeronautical Transport Society (Scadta). The oldest commercial airline, KLM, was founded two months earlier.

The first photograph taken in Colombia occurred June 1867 when José Gregorio Gutiérrez Ponce, immortalized General Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera, a prisoner in the Observatorio Nacional, playing chess with servant Francisco Montenegro. From then on, we haven’t stopped taking pictures of this country.


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