White Colombian

White Colombian

White Colombians are the Colombian descendants of European and Middle Eastern peoples. Colombia does not query for race in its census, but according to external sources, whites make up 20% to 25% of Colombia's population. Per these figures, whites constitute the second largest ethnic group in the country, after Mestizos.



Colonial period

The presence of Whites in Colombia began in 1510 with the colonization of San Sebastián de Urabá. In 1526, settlers founded Santa Marta, the oldest Spanish city still in existence in Colombia.[1] Many Spanish began their explorations searching for gold, while others Spanish established themselves as leaders of the native social organizations teaching natives the Christian faith and the ways of their civilization. Catholic priest would provide education for Native Americans that otherwise was unavailable.[1] Within 100 years after the first Spanish settlement, nearly 95 percent of all Native Americans in Colombia had died.[1] The majority of the deaths of Native Americans were the cause of diseases such as measles and smallpox, which were spread by European settlers.[1] Many Native Americans were also killed by armed conflicts with European settlers.[1]

Immigration from Europe

Colombia was one of early focus of Basque immigration. Between 1540 and 1559, 8.9 percent of the residents of Colombia were of Basque origin. It has been suggested that the present day incidence of business entrepreneurship in the region of Antioquia is attributable to the Basque immigration and Basque character traits.[2] Few Colombians of distant Basque descent are aware of their Basque ethnic heritage.[2] In Bogota, there is a small colony of thirty to forty families who emigrated as a consequence of the Spanish Civil War or because of different opportunities.[2] Basque priests were the ones that introduced handball into Colombia. [3]Basque immigrants in Colombia were devoted to teaching and public administration.[3]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.[3] In December 1941 the United States government estimated that there were 4,000 Germans living in Colombia.[4] There were some Nazi agitators in Colombia, such as Barranquilla businessman Emil Prufurt.[4]Colombia invited Germans who were on the U.S. blacklist to leave.[4] SCADTA, a Colombian-German air transport corporation which was established by German expatriates in 1919, was the first commercial airline in the western hemisphere.[5]

Immigration from the Middle East

The first and largest wave of immigration from the Middle East began around 1880, and remained during the first two decades of the twentieth century. They were mainly Maronite Christians from Greater Syria (Syria and Lebanon) and Palestine, fleeing the then colonized Ottoman territories.[6] Syrians, Palestinians, and Lebanese continued since then to settle in Colombia.[7] Due to poor existing information it's impossible to know the exact number of Lebanese and Syrians that immigrated to Colombia. A figure of 5,000-10,000 from 1880 to 1930 may be reliable.[7] Whatever the figure, Syrians and Lebanese are perhaps the biggest immigrant group next to the Spanish since independence.[7] Those who left their homeland in the Middle East to settle in Colombia left for different reasons such as religious, economic, and political reasons.[7] Some left to experience the adventure of migration. After Barranquilla and Cartagena, Bogota stuck next to Cali, among cities with the largest number of Arabic-speaking representatives in Colombia in 1945.[7] The Arabs that went to Maicao were mostly Sunni Muslim with some Druze and Shiites, as well as Orthodox and Maronite Christians.[6] The mosque of Maicao is the second largest mosque in Latin America.[6] Middle Easterns are generally called Turcos (Turkish).[6]

Ethnic breakdown

White Colombians are mainly Spanish descents who arrived since 16th century when Colombia was part of the Spanish Empire. During 19th and 20th centuries another European peoples migrated to Colombia: Germans, Italian, French, Swiss, Belgian, Lithuanian, Dutch, British and Slavs.


  1. ^ a b c d e http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/281/Colombia-HISTORY-BACKGROUND.html
  2. ^ a b c Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World by William A. Douglass, Jon Bilbao, P.167
  3. ^ a b c Possible paradises: Basque emigration to Latin America by José Manuel Azcona Pastor, P.203
  4. ^ a b c Latin America during World War II by Thomas M. Leonard, John F. Bratzel, P.117
  5. ^ http://www.stampnotes.com/Notes_from_the_Past/pastnote248.htm
  6. ^ a b c d (Spanish) webislam.com: La comunidad musulmana de Maicao (Colombia) webislam.com
  7. ^ a b c d e (Spanish) Luis Angel Arango Library: Los sirio-libaneses en Colombia lablaa.org

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.