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Between 50 BCE, hunter-gatherer tribes transitioned to agrarian societies; fixed settlements were established, and pottery appeared.
Beginning in the 1st millennium BCE, groups of Amerindians including the Muisca, Zenú, Quimbaya, and Tairona developed the political system of cacicazgos with a pyramidal structure of power headed by caciques.
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The urban centres are mostly located in the highlands of the Andes mountains.
Colombian territory also encompasses Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines.
The Spanish set foot on Colombian soil for the first time in 1499 and in the first half of the 16th century initiated a period of conquest and colonization, ultimately creating the New Kingdom of Granada, with as capital Santafé de Bogotá.
The Tairona inhabited northern Colombia in the isolated mountain range of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Most of the Amerindians practiced agriculture and the social structure of each indigenous community was different.
These sites date from the Paleoindian period (18,000–8000 BCE).
At Puerto Hormiga and other sites, traces from the Archaic Period (~8000–2000 BCE) have been found.
The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. Since the 1960s, the country has suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict, which escalated in the 1990s but then decreased from 2005 onward.