Situated in the Northwest of South America, Colombia was inhibited by indigenous tribes until the arrival of Spanish colonizers in 1499. In 1819 Colombia gained independence from Spain and experimented with several forms of government before settling on a republic in 1886. Since the 1960’s the country has experienced continued low-level warfare in the provincial areas with rebel groups including FARC and ELN. This warfare reached its peak in the 1990’s and resulted in widespread emigration out of Colombia. This warfare was often fueled by the illicit production of opium and cocaine. Criminal syndicates alternated between fighting with and fighting against the rebel groups and the security situation deteriorated. Since 2002 the security and economic situation has drastically improved. Today, Colombia is on an upward trajectory and expected to continue to make economic gains.