A Short History of Colombia: Background information when reading Delirium

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Delirium

A Novel

by Laura Restrepo

Delirium by Laura Restrepo X
Delirium by Laura Restrepo
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2007, 336 pages

    Paperback:
    Mar 2008, 336 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

A Short History of Colombia

This article relates to Delirium

Print Review

About twice the size of Texas with a population of 44 million, Colombia is located just south of Panama (map).  ith a per capita GDP of $8,400, 49% of the population live below the poverty line. From 1510 the area that is now Colombia was part of the Spanish empire until a nine year uprising led by Simon Bolivar resulted in the formation of Gran Colombia in 1819, encompassing what is now Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela.  In 1830, Venezuela and Ecuador became separate nations, leaving the remaining territory as the republic of New Granada. 

In 1886 Colombia became a single republic following the anti-federalist revolution of 1885.  In 1899 civil war broke out killing as many as 100,000.  In 1903 the republic of Panama, with the support of the United States, declared independence from Colombia.  In return for recognizing Panama's independence in 1914, Colombia received rights in the Canal Zone and the payment of an indemnity from the USA; following this the country enjoyed over thirty years of relative peace.  However, riots broke out in 1948 following the assassination of President Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, which led to 10 years of civil war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. 

Colombia's economy began to recover in the early 1970s with economic diversification, but through the 70s and 80s the illegal drug trade grew steadily with drug cartels amassing vast amounts of money, weapons and influence.  In addition, leftist guerrilla groups grew in strength which led to considerable violence.  Although the notorious Medellín drug cartel, led by Pablo Escobar, was broken in 1993, drug traffickers and guerrilla groups remained active, perpetuating the instability.  In 1998 Misael Pastrana was elected president, promising to work with both leftist rebels and right-wing paramilitary leaders but, despite ceding a sizeable chunk of Columbia to rebel control as a goodwill gesture, the rebels continued to mount attacks and the government's energies were diverted by a recession and a major earthquake. 

In 2002, Álvaro Uribe Vélez won the presidential election and promised to crack down on the leftist rebels. Violence has been decreasing since 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its municipalities. However, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.

Filed under Places, Cultures & Identities

This "beyond the book article" relates to Delirium. It originally ran in June 2007 and has been updated for the March 2008 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Big Red
    Big Red
    by Jerome Charyn
    Jerome Charyn made his name as an author of detective novels, and over the years he has taken his ...
  • Book Jacket: If I Survive You
    If I Survive You
    by Jonathan Escoffery
    In If I Survive You, author Jonathan Escoffery portrays a family falling apart with grace. Main ...
  • Book Jacket: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    by Sidik Fofana
    'Everybody got a story, everybody got a tale / Question is: Is it despair or prevail?' ...
  • Book Jacket: Fire Season
    Fire Season
    by Leyna Krow
    Fire Season is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that touches upon multiple genres and themes. It ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
All the Lonely People
by Mike Gayle
A cozy novel for fans of A Man Called Ove. A widowed retiree will rediscover the world he’s turned his back on.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Book Club Giveaway!
Win A Minor Chorus

A Minor Chorus

A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.