(37% of Colombians)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Throughout the nation, especially in the Andean Region, Caribbean Region and the major cities.|
|Predominantly Colombian Spanish|
(German · English · French · Italian and some other languages are spoken by minorities)
|Predominantly Christianity (Roman Catholic, Protestant, other Christians), Irreligion, Islam, and Judaism|
White Colombians are the Colombian descendants of European people. According to the 2005 Census 85% of Colombians do not identify with any ethnic group, thus being either White or Mestizo, which are not categorized separately. It is nevertheless estimated that 37% of the Colombian population can be categorized as white, forming the second-largest racial group, after Mestizo Colombians.
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. Whites tend to live all throughout the country, mainly in the urban centers and the burgeoning highland and coastal cities. The Paisa Region and Bogotá, the country's capital and largest city metropolitan region, have a large percentage of White Colombians.
The presence of Whites in Colombia began in 1510 with the colonization of San Sebastián de Urabá. In 1525, settlers founded Santa Marta, the oldest Spanish city still in existence in Colombia. Many Spaniards came searching for gold, while others established themselves as leaders of the social organizations teaching the Christian faith and the ways of their civilization. Christian priests would provide education to American Indians.
Immigration from Europe
Basque priests introduced handball into Colombia. Besides business, 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. In Bogota, there is a small colony of thirty to forty families who emigrated as a consequence of the Spanish Civil War.
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. SCADTA, a Colombian-German air transport corporation which was established by German expatriates in 1919, was the first commercial airline in the western hemisphere.
A wave of Ashkenazi immigrants came after the rise of Nazism in 1933, followed by as many as 17,000 German Jews. From 1939 until the end of World War II, immigration was put to a halt by anti-immigrant feelings in the country and restrictions on immigration from Germany.
There were some Nazi agitators in Colombia, such as Barranquilla businessman Emil Prufurt, but the majority was apolitical. Colombia asked Germans who were on the U.S. blacklist to leave and allowed German and Jewish refugees in the country illegally to stay.
Immigration from the Middle East
Colombia was one of early focus of Sephardi immigration. Jewish converts to Christianity and some crypto-Jews also sailed with the early explorers. It has been suggested that the present day culture of business entrepreneurship in the region of Antioquia and Valle del Cauca is attributable to Sephardi immigration.
The largest wave of Middle Eastern immigration began around 1880, and remained during the first two decades of the 20th century. They were mainly Maronite Christians from Lebanon, Syria and Ottoman Palestine, fleeing financial hardships and the repression of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. When they were first processed in the ports of Colombia, they were classified as Turks.
During the early part of the 20th century, numerous Jewish immigrants came from Greece, Turkey, North Africa and Syria. Shortly after, Jewish immigrants began to arrive from Eastern Europe. Armenians, Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians and some Israelis continue since then to settle in Colombia.
More than 700,000 Colombians have partial Middle Eastern descent. Due to poor existing information it's impossible to know the exact number of people that immigrated to Colombia. A figure of 50,000-100,000 from 1880 to 1930 may be reliable. Whatever the figure, Lebanese are perhaps the biggest immigrant group next to the Spanish since independence. Cartagena, Cali, and Bogota were among the cities with the largest number of Arabic-speaking representatives in Colombia in 1945.
White Colombians are mainly of Spanish descent, who arrived in the beginning of the 16th century when Colombia was part of the Spanish Empire. During the 19th and 20th centuries, other European and Middle Eastern peoples migrated to Colombia, notably Lebanese as well as Germans, Italians, Lithuanians, French, and British among others.
The most predominant religion is Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism. Under 1% practice Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Despite strong numbers of Christian adherents, 35.9% of Colombians reported that they did not practice their faith actively.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Francisco de Paula Santander — first President of Colombia (1832-1837), known as "the man of the laws".
- Juan Manuel Santos — President of Colombia (2010-2018) and Nobel prize winner
- Álvaro Uribe - Former president of Colombia (2002-2010)
- Antanas Mockus — former Bogota mayor (Lithuanian ancestry)
- Juanes — musician (Basque ancestry)
- Andrés Mercado — singer
- Shakira — singer (Lebanese, Spanish and Italian ancestry)
- Sebastián Yatra — singer
- Camilo Echeverry — singer
Arts and entertainment
- Manolo Cardona — actor
- María Helena Doering — actress (German ancestry)
- Juan Pablo Gamboa — actor (British American ancestry)
- Aura Cristina Geithner — actress and model (German ancestry)
- Diana Golden — telenovela actress
- Miguel Gómez — photographer (Spanish and French ancestry)
- Mauricio Henao — actor
- Natasha Klauss — actress (Lithuan ancestry)
- Kristina Lilley — American-born, Colombian-raised actress (European-American and Norwegian ancestry)
- Maritza Rodríguez — actress
- Isabella Santo Domingo — actress
- Silvia Tcherassi — fashion designer (Italian ancestry)
- Geraldine Zivic — Argentine-born, Colombian-raised actress (Serbian ancestry)
- Rufino José Cuervo — writer.
- Jorge Isaacs — writer and politician.
- Nicolás Gómez Dávila — writer (Spanish roots).
- Rafael Pombo — writer.
- José Asunción Silva — poet.
- Sergio Esteban Vélez — journalist (Spanish ancestry).
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez — writer and Nobel prize winner
- Rodolfo Llinás — neuroscientist.
- Race and ethnicity in Colombia
- Mestizo Colombians
- White Latin Americans
- Lebanese Colombians
- White Americans
- History of the Jews in Colombia
- Spanish Colombian
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- de Posada, Louise Fawcett; Eduardo Posada-Carbó (1992). "En la tierra de las oportunidades: los sirio-libaneses en Colombia" [In the land of opportunity: the Syrian-Lebanese in Colombia]. Boletín Cultural y Bibliográfico (in Spanish). XXIX (29). Archived from the original on 3 August 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
- Fawcett, Louise; Posada‐Carbo, Eduardo (21 June 2010). "Arabs and Jews in the development of the Colombian Caribbean 1850–1950". Immigrants & Minorities. 16 (1–2): 57–79. doi:10.1080/02619288.1997.9974903.
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- Mingo, Enrique (24 October 2012). "Juanes encuentra sus raíces" [Juanes finds his roots] (in Spanish). Diariovasco.com. Retrieved 20 March 2017.