(37% of Colombian population)
|Regions with significant populations|
|throughout the nation, Specially in Andean Region, and the Major Cities.|
|Predominantly Roman Catholic, minorities of Protestant and other Christians, Atheist|
White Colombians are the Colombian descendants of European and Middle Eastern people. According to the 2005 census, 37% of the population is white. They constitute the second largest ethnic group in the country with a share of 25%-37% of Colombia's population.
Numbers and distribution
The various racial groups exist in differing concentrations throughout the nation, in a pattern that to some extent goes back to colonial origins. Paisa Region and Bogotá have the a largest concentration of White Colombians. Whites tend to live mainly in the urban centers, like Medellín or Bogotá, and the burgeoning highland cities.
The presence of Whites in Colombia began in 1510 with the colonization of San Sebastián de Urabá. In 1526, settlers founded Santa Marta, the oldest Spanish city still in existence in Colombia. Many Spanish began their explorations searching for gold, while others established themselves as leaders of the native social organizations teaching natives the Christian faith and the ways of their civilization. Catholic priest would provide education for Native Americans that otherwise was unavailable. Within 100 years after the first Spanish settlement, nearly 95 percent of all Native Americans in Colombia had died. The majority of the deaths of Native Americans were the cause of diseases such as measles and smallpox, which were spread by the settlers. Many natives were also killed in armed conflicts with their new neighbours.
Immigration from Europe
Colombia was one of early focus of Basque immigration. Between 1540 and 1559, 8.9% of the residents of Colombia were of Basque origin. It has been suggested that the present day incidence of business entrepreneurship in the region of Antioquia is attributable to the Basque immigration and Basque character traits. Few Colombians of distant Basque descent are aware of their Basque ethnic heritage. In Bogota, there is a small colony of thirty to forty families who emigrated as a consequence of the Spanish Civil War, or because of different opportunities. Basque priests were the ones that introduced handball into Colombia. Basque immigrants in Colombia were devoted to teaching and public administration. In the first years of the Andean multinational company, Basque sailors navigated as captains and pilots on the majority of the ships until the country was able to train its own crews. The first German immigrants arrived in the 16th century contracted by the Spanish Crown, and included explorers such as Ambrosio Alfinger. There was another small wave of German immigrants at the end of the 19th and beginning of 20th century including Leo Siegfried Kopp, the founder of the famous Bavaria Brewery. In December 1941 the United States government estimated that there were 4,000 Germans living in Colombia. There were some Nazi agitators in Colombia, such as Barranquilla businessman Emil Prufurt, but their majority was apolitical. Colombia invited Germans who were on the U.S. blacklist to leave. SCADTA, a Colombian-German air transport corporation which was established by German expatriates in 1919, was the first commercial airline in the western hemisphere. There had also been Italian immigration of a few thousand persons, however to a much lesser degree than to other Latin American countries such as Venezuela or Brazil.
Immigration from the Arab Middle East
The first and largest wave of immigration from the Arab Middle East began around 1880, and remained during the first two decades of the 20th century. They were mainly Maronite Christians from Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, fleeing because of financial hardships and the repressions of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians continued since then to settle in Colombia. When they were first processed in the ports of Colombia, they were classified as Turks because what is modern day Lebanon, Syria and Palestine was a territory of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. It is estimated that Colombia has an Arab population of 700,000. Due to poor existing information it's impossible to know the exact number of Lebanese and Syrians that immigrated to Colombia. A figure of 5,000-10,000 from 1880 to 1930 may be reliable. Whatever the figure, Syrians and Lebanese are perhaps the biggest immigrant group next to the Spanish since independence. Those who left their homeland in the Middle East to settle in Colombia left for different reasons such as religious, economic, and political reasons. Some left to experience the adventure of migration. After Barranquilla and Cartagena, Bogota stuck next to Santiago de Cali, among cities with the largest number of Arabic-speaking representatives in Colombia in 1945.
White Colombians are mainly Spanish descents who arrived since 16th century when Colombia was part of the Spanish Empire. During 19th and 20th centuries, other European peoples migrated to Colombia: Germans (includes Poles due to Partitions of Poland), Italian, French, Swiss, Belgian, Lithuanian, Dutch, British and other nations.
Most predominant religion is Roman Catholicism. Under 1% practice Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. Despite strong numbers of adherents, around 60% of respondents to a poll by El Tiempo report that they do not practice their faith actively.
Notable White Colombians
- Francisco de Paula Santander the first President of Colombia, known as "the man of the laws".
- Rodolfo Llinás Neuroscientist
- Maritza Rodríguez Actress
- Enrique Peñalosa Politician/Historian
- Natasha Klauss Actress
- Juanes Colombian musician (Basque descent.)
- Mauricio Henao Actor/Model
- Francisco Santos Calderón Politician and journalist
- José Asunción Silva Poet
- Antanas Mockus Politician/Philosopher/Mathematician
- Andrés Mercado Singer/Actor
- Isabella Santo Domingo Writer/Actress
- Rafael Pombo Poet/Writer
- Silvia Tcherassi Fashion designer
- Virgilio Barco Vargas Politician/Diplomat and former president of Colombia
- Rufino José Cuervo Writer/Linguist/Philologist
- Shakira Singer/Songwriter/Dancer/Record producer/Choreographer and model
- Juan Manuel Santos Politician/Diplomat and current president of Colombia
- Álvaro Uribe politician and 58th president of Colombia
- Sofia Vergara Model/Actress/Comedian and Television hostess
- Race and ethnicity in Colombia
- Mestizo Colombian
- White Latin American
- Lebanese Colombian
- White American
- Bushnell, David & Rex A. Hudson (2010) "The Society and Its Environment"; Colombia: a country study: 87. Washingtion D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress.
- "White Colombians". Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- National Administrative Department of Statistics
- Bushnell & Hudson, p. 87-88.
- Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World by William A. Douglass, Jon Bilbao, P.167
- Possible paradises: Basque emigration to Latin America by José Manuel Azcona Pastor, P.203
- Latin America during World War II by Thomas M. Leonard, John F. Bratzel, P.117
- (Spanish) webislam.com: La comunidad musulmana de Maicao (Colombia) webislam.com
- (Spanish) Luis Angel Arango Library: Los sirio-libaneses en Colombia lablaa.org
- Colombia awakens to the Arab world
- International Religious Freedom Report 2005, by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, November 8, 2005.
- "Juanes is a Colombian musician who has Basque descent" (in Spanish). centroestudiovascoantioquia. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Bushnell, David and Rex A. Hudson. "Racial distinctions". In Colombia: A Country Study (Rex A. Hudson, ed.). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (2010). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.