TOPOGRAFIIY. The bulk of Colombia may be divided into two physiograpliic regions, the An dean Cordilleras, and the great plains or Banos of the east. The highlands of Panama and Darien are only indirectly connected with the Andes. Entering Colombia from Ecuador, the Cordilleras are continued in a general northerly direction by three diverging ranges, which spread out over the entire western section of the coun try. The Western Cordillera constitutes a long mountain ridge, with summits 10,000 to 11,000 feet in altitude, which is defined on the east by the valley of the Cauca River. In the northern part the chain is flanked on the west by the Cordillera del Chocd. The Central Cordillera, the continuation of the Eastern Cordil lera of Ecuador, contains the highest peaks in Colombia, including the volcanoes Huila, Purace. and Tolima, the last reaching an altitude of over 18,000 feet. The Eastern Cordillera. sepa rated from the central range by the Magdalena River, attains an extreme elevation of about 16,000 feet. and has great table-lands that are the most thickly populated regions in the Re public. This chain divides at the north, the eastern range extending into Venezuela, and the western, known as the Sierra de Perijd, running northward and merging into the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, near the coast. There are a number of high passes, amougwhieh is the famous Inca or Quindia Pass, across the Central Cordil lera, 11,500 feet. The Danes east of the Cordil leras have a surface tilted toward the Atlantic. Here there are great stretches of nearly level ground, covered with luxuriant growths of grasses in the north and heavily forested in the south.
Colombia has a coast line of over 3600 miles, of which more than 1600 miles are on the Pacific. The shores are very irregular and form a number of good harbors both on the west and north. Notwithstanding the mountainous sur face, the region 'abounds in long navigable rivers. The Magdalena traverses the country northward through almost its entire length, and receives numerous tributaries, the Cauca being the most important. The Atrato also flows north not far from the west coast and enters the Gulf of Darien. The eastern plain belonging to the basins of the Orinoco (which forms part of the eastern boundary) and the Amazon is crossed by many long rivers. The chief affluents of the Orinoco are the Onaviare and the Meta; of the Amazon, the liaupes, and the Japur5 (or Ca (pieta).
The climate is of extraordinary variety. In the Cordilleras it is moderate in the upper regions, but very hot in the valleys. Along the valley of the Magdalena the thermometer is frequently above 100°. The Banos have an exceedingly hot climate, while on the Pacific coast the tempera ture is greatly modified by sea-breezes. On the table-lands of the Cordilleras the mercury occa sionally falls as low as 44°. In the mountainous parts there are two rainy seasons: on the coast. rains occur at any time of the year. Generally speaking, the country is healthful.