Departments of Colombia

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Capital district and Colombian regions
Distrito Capital y los Departamentos de Colombia (Spanish)
La Guajira DepartmentMagdalena DepartmentAtlántico DepartmentCesar DepartmentBolívar DepartmentNorte de Santander DepartmentSucre DepartmentCórdoba DepartmentSantander DepartmentAntioquia DepartmentBoyacá DepartmentArauca DepartmentChocó DepartmentCaldas DepartmentCundinamarca DepartmentCasanare DepartmentVichada DepartmentValle del Cauca DepartmentTolima DepartmentMeta DepartmentHuila DepartmentGuainía DepartmentGuaviare DepartmentCauca DepartmentVaupés DepartmentNariño DepartmentCaquetá DepartmentPutumayo DepartmentAmazonas DepartmentRisaralda DepartmentRisaralda DepartmentQuindío DepartmentQuindío DepartmentBogotáBogotáArchipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa CatalinaDepartments of colombia.svg
About this image
CategoryUnitary state
LocationRepublic of Colombia
Number32 Departments
1 Capital District
Populations(Departments only):40,797 (Vaupés) – 6,407,102 (Antioquia)
Areas(Departments only):50 km2 (19.3 sq mi) (San Andrés) – 109,665.0 km2 (42,341.89 sq mi) (Amazonas)

Colombia is a unitary republic made up of thirty-two departments (Spanish: departamentos, sing. departamento) and a Capital District (Distrito Capital).[1] Each department has a governor (gobernador) and an Assembly (Asamblea Departamental), elected by popular vote for a four-year period. The governor cannot be re-elected in consecutive periods. Departments are country subdivisions and are granted a certain degree of autonomy.

Departments are formed by a grouping of municipalities (municipios, sing. municipio). Municipal government is headed by mayor (alcalde) and administered by a municipal council (concejo municipal), both of which are elected for four-year periods.

Some departments have subdivisions above the level of municipalities, commonly known as provinces.

Chart of departments[edit]

Each one of the departments of Colombia in the map below links to a corresponding article. Current governors serving four-year terms from 2015 to 2019 are also shown, along with their respective political party or coalition.

ID Region Governor Party Capital Area (km²) Population Density per
Established Flag Code
00 Capital District Claudia López Hernández Green Bogotá 1,587 7,412,566 4670.80 1538 Flag of Bogotá.svg DC
01 Amazonas Jesús Galindo Cedeño Coalición 'Juntos por el Amazonas' Leticia 109,665 76,589 0.7 1991 Flag of Amazonas (Colombia).svg AM
02 Antioquia Aníbal Gaviria Coalición 'Es el Momento de Antioquia' Medellín 63,612 6,407,102 100.72 1826 Flag of Antioquia Department.svg AN
03 Arauca José Facundo Castillo Coalición 'Unidos por Arauca' Arauca 23,818 262,174 11.01 1991 Flag of Arauca.svg AR
04 Atlántico Elsa Noguera Coalición 'La Clave es la Gente' Barranquilla 3,388 2,535,517 748.38 1910 Flag of Atlántico.svg AT
05 Bolívar Vicente Antonio Blel Conservative Cartagena 25,978 2,070,110 79.69 1857 Flag of Bolívar (Colombia).svg BL
06 Boyacá Ramiro Barragán Adame Green Tunja 23,189 1,217,376 52.50 1539 Flag of Boyacá Department.svg BY
07 Caldas Luis Carlos Velásquez Coalición 'Unidos por Caldas' Manizales 7,888 998,255 126.55 1905 Flag of Caldas.svg CL
08 Caquetá Arnulfo Gasca Trujillo Conservative Florencia 88,965 401,849 4.52 1982 Flag of Caquetá.svg CQ
09 Casanare Salomón Andrés Sanabria CD Yopal 44,640 420,504 9.42 1991 Flag of Casanare Department.svg CS
10 Cauca Elías Larrahondo Carabalí Coalición 'Porque Sí es Posible' Popayán 29,308 1,464,488 49.97 1857 Flag of Cauca Department.svg CA
11 Cesar Luis Alberto Monsalvo Gnecco Coalición 'Alianza por el Cesar' Valledupar 22,905 1,200,574 52.42 1967 Flag of Cesar.svg CE
12 Chocó Ariel Palacios Calderón Coalición 'Generando Confianza por un Mejor Chocó' Quibdó 46,530 534,826 11.49 1947 Flag of Chocó.svg CH
13 Córdoba Orlando David Benítez Liberal Montería 25,020 1,784,783 71.33 1952 Flag of Córdoba Department.svg CO
14 Cundinamarca Nicolás García Bustos Coalición 'Gran Cundinamarca' Bogotá 24,210 2,919,060 120.57 1857 Flag of Cundinamarca.svg CU
15 Guainía Juan Carlos Iral Gómez De La U Inirida 72,238 48,114 0.67 1963 Flag of Guainía.svg GN
16 Guaviare Heydeer Yovanny Palacio CR San José del Guaviare   53,460 82,767 1.55 1991 Flag of Guaviare.svg GV
17 Huila Luis Enrique Dussán Coalición 'Huila Crece' Neiva 19,890 1,100,386 55.32 1905 Flag of Huila.svg HU
18 La Guajira Nemesio Roys Garzón Coalición 'Un Cambio por La Guajira' Riohacha 20,848 880,560 42.24 1965 Flag of La Guajira.svg LG
19 Magdalena Carlos Caicedo G.S.C. Fuerza Ciudadana - Magdalena Santa Marta 23,188 1,341,746 57.86 1824 Flag of Magdalena.svg MA
20 Meta Juan Guillermo Zuluaga De La U Villavicencio 85,635 1,039,722 12.14 1960 Flag of Meta.svg ME
21 Nariño Jhon Alexander Rojas Coalición 'Mi Nariño' Pasto 33,268 1,630,592 49.01 1904 Flag of Nariño.svg NA
22 Norte de Santander Silvano Serrano Guerrero Conservative Cúcuta 21,658 1,491,689 68.87 1910 Flag of Norte de Santander Department.svg NS
23 Putumayo Buanerges Rosero Coalición 'Así es el Putumayo, Tierra de Paz' Mocoa 24,885 348,182 13.99 1991 Flag of Putumayo.svg PU
24 Quindío Roberto Jairo Jaramillo Liberal Armenia 1,845 539,904 292.63 1966 Flag of Quindío Department.svg QD
25 Risaralda Sigifredo Salazar Osorio Conservative Pereira 4,140 943,401 227.87 1966 Flag of Risaralda.svg RI
26 San Andrés y Providencia   Everth Julio Hawkins Coalición 'Todos por un Nuevo Comienzo' San Andrés 52 61,280 1178.46 1991 Flag of San Andrés y Providencia.svg SA
27 Santander Mauricio Aguilar Coalición 'Siempre Santander' Bucaramanga 30,537 2,184,837 71.55 1857 Flag of Santander Department.svg ST
28 Sucre Héctor Olimpo Espinosa Liberal Sincelejo 10,917 904,863 82.89 1966 Flag of Sucre (Colombia).svg SU
29 Tolima José Ricardo Orozco Conservative Ibagué 23,562 1,330,187 56.45 1886 Flag of Tolima Department.svg TO
30 Valle del Cauca Clara Luz Roldán Coalición 'Todos por el Valle del Cauca' Cali 22,140 4,475,886 202.16 1910 Flag of Valle del Cauca.svg VC
31 Vaupés Elícer Pérez CD Mitú 54,135 40,797 0.75 1991 Flag of Vaupés.svg VP
32 Vichada Álvaro Arley León Coalición 'Álvaro León Sabe Como Es' Puerto Carreño 100,242 107,808 1.08 1991 Flag of Vichada Department.svg VD

Indigenous territories[edit]

The indigenous territories are at the third level of administrative division in Colombia, as are the municipalities. Indigenous territories are created by agreement between the government and indigenous communities. In cases where indigenous territories cover more than one department or municipality, local governments jointly administer them with the indigenous councils, as set out in Articles 329 and 330 of the Colombian Constitution of 1991. Also indigenous territories may achieve local autonomy if they meet the requirements of the law.

Article 329 of the 1991 constitution recognizes the collective indigenous ownership of indigenous territories and repeats that are inalienable. Law 160 of 1994 created the National System of Agrarian Reform and Rural Development Campesino, and replaced Law 135 of 1961 on Agrarian Social Reform; it establishes and sets out the functions of INCORA, one of the most important being to declare which territories will acquire the status of indigenous protection and what extension of existing ones will be allowed. Decree 2164 of 1995 interprets Law 160 of 1994, providing, among other things, a legal definition of indigenous territories.[2]

Indigenous territories in Colombia are mostly in the departments of Amazonas, Cauca, La Guajira, Guaviare, and Vaupés.[1]


The Republic of Gran Colombia[edit]

When it was first established in 1819, The Republic of Gran Colombia had three departments. Venezuela, Cundinamarca (now Colombia) and Quito (now Ecuador).[3] In 1824, the Distrito del Centro (which became Colombia) was divided into five departments and further divided into seventeen provinces. One department, Istmo Department, consisting of two provinces, later became Panama.[4]

Republic of New Granada[edit]

With the dissolution of Gran Colombia in 1826 by the Revolution of the Morrocoyes (La Cosiata), New Granada kept its 17 provinces. In 1832 the provinces of Vélez and Barbacoas were created, and in 1835 those of Buenaventura and Pasto were added. In 1843 those of Cauca, Mompós and Túquerres were created. At this time the cantons (cantones) and parish districts were created, which provided the basis for the present-day municipalities.[4][5]

By 1853 the number of provinces had increased to thirty-six, namely:Antioquia, Azuero, Barbacoas, Bogotá, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Casanare, Cauca, Chiriquí, Chocó, Córdova, Cundinamarca, García Rovira, Mariquita, Medellín, Mompós, Neiva, Ocaña, Pamplona, Panamá, Pasto, Popayán, Riohacha, Sabanilla, Santa Marta, Santander, Socorro, Soto, Tequendama, Tunja, Tundama, Túquerres, Valle de Upar, Veraguas, Vélez and Zipaquirá.[5] However, the new constitution of 1853 introduced federalism, which lead to the consolidation of provinces into states. By 1858 this process was complete, with a resulting eight federal states: Panamá was formed in 1855, Antioquia in 1856, Santander in May 1857, and Bolívar, Boyacá, Cauca, Cundinamarca and Magdalena were formed in June 1858. 1861 saw the creation of the final federal state of Tolima.[6]

Republic of Colombia[edit]

The Colombian Constitution of 1886 converted the states of Colombia into departments, with the state presidents renamed as governors. The states formed the following original departments:

Maps gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Division Política de Colombia" (in Spanish). Portal Archived from the original on 10 March 2009.
  2. ^ Decree 2164 of 1995 provides "Reserva Indígena. Es un globo de terreno baldío ocupado por una o varias comunidades indígenas que fué delimitado y legalmente asignado por el INCORA a aquellas para que ejerzan en él los derechos de uso y usufructo con exclusión de terceros. Las reservas indígenas constituyen tierras comunales de grupos étnicos, para los fines previstos en el artículo 63 de la Constitución Política y la ley 21 de 1991. […] Territorios Indígenas. Son las áreas poseidas en forma regular y permanente por una comunidad, parcialidad o grupo indígena y aquellas que, aunque no se encuentren poseidas en esa forma, constituyen el ámbito tradicional de sus actividades sociales, económicas y culturales. " Art. 21: "Los resguardos son una institución legal y sociopolítica de carácter especial, conformada por una o más comunidades indígenas, que con un título de propiedad colectiva que goza de las garantías de la propiedad privada, poseen su territorio y se rigen para el manejo de éste y su vida interna por una organización autónoma amparada por el fuero indígena y su sistema normativo propio."
  3. ^ Guhl Nannetti, Ernesto (1991). "Capítulo XII: División Política de la Gran Colombia". Las fronteras políticas y los límites naturales: escritos geograficos [Political Boundaries and Their Natural Limits: Geographic writings] (in Spanish). Bogotá: Fondo FEN. ISBN 978-958-9129-22-7.
  4. ^ a b Aguilera Peña, Mario (January 2002). "División política administrativa de Colombia". Credential Historia (in Spanish). Bogotá: Banco de la República. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011.
  5. ^ a b Oficina Nacional de Estadística (Office of National Statistics) (1876). "Estadística de Colombia" [Colombian Statistics] (PDF) (in Spanish). Bogotá: Oficina Nacional de Estadística. Retrieved 23 November 2016.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Domínguez, Camilo; Chaparro, Jeffer; Gómez, Carla (2006). "Construcción y deconstrucción territorial del Caribe Colombiano durante el siglo XIX". Scripta Nova (Revista Electrónica de Geografía y Ciencias Sociales). 10 (218 (75)).

External links[edit]