A country of northwest South America with coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Previously inhabited by the Chibchas, it was settled by the Spanish in 1530s and formed the nucleus of the viceroyalty of New Granada after 1740. The area gained its independence from Spain in 1821 under the leadership of Simón Bolívar, but the modern state of Colombia did not emerge until after Venezuela and Ecuador (1830) and later Panama (1903) had become separate nations. Bogotá is the capital and the largest city. Population: 44,400,000.