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Many aspects of Colombian culture can be traced back to the early culture of Spain of the 16th century and its collision with Colombia's native civilizations (see: Muisca, Tayrona). The Spanishbrought Catholicism, African slaves, the feudal encomienda system, and a caste system that favored European-born whites. After independence from Spain, the criollos struggled to establish a pluralisticpolitical system between conservative and liberal ideals. The conservatives supported the involvement of the Catholic Church in the state while liberals favored the separation of these. The conservativesmanaged to outsource public education to the Catholic Church and for many years the church controlled the country's education system. Both parties engaged in multiple civil wars resulting in a slowdevelopment of the country and the isolation of regions until the end of the 19th century. Ethno-racial groups maintained their ancestral heritage culture: whites tried to keep themselves, despite thegrowing number of illegitimate children of mixed African or indigenous ancestry. These people were labeled with any number of descriptive names, derived from the casta system, such as mulatto andmoreno. During this time it was normal for white individuals to marry a sibling or close cousin to maintain their inheritance within the family. Blacks and indigenous people of Colombia also mixed to formzambos creating a new ethno-racial group in society. This mix also created a fusion of cultures. Carnivals for example became an opportunity for all classes and colors to congregate withoutprejudice. The introduction of the bill of rights of men and the abolishment of slavery (1850) eased the segregationist tensions between the races, but the dominance of the whites prevailed and prevails tosome extent to this day.
The industrial revolution arrived relatively late at the beginning of the 20th century with the establishment of the Republic of Colombia. Colombians had a period of almost 50...
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