The Republic of Colombia, which in colonial days was called ‘Vice-royalty of New Granada,’ gained its independence of Spain in 1819, and was officially constituted December 27, 1819. Soon after it formed with Venezuela and Ecuador the State of ‘Greater Colombia,’ which continued for about ten years. It then split up into Venezuela, Ecuador, and the Republic of New Granada, on February 29, 1832. The Constitution of April 1, 1858, changed New Granada into a confederation of eight States, under the name of Confederation Granadina. On September 20, 1861, the convention of Bogotá brought out the confederation under the new name of United States of New Granada, with nine States. On May 8, 1863, an improved Constitution was formed, and the States took the name of the United States of Colombia. The revolution of 1885 brought about another change, and the National Council of Bogotá, composed of two delegates from each State, promulgated the Constitution of August 4, 1886. The sovereignty of the States was abolished, and they became simple departments, with governors appointed by the President of the Republic, though they have retained some of their old rights, such as the management of their own finances. At present there are 14 departments, 2 “Intendeucies,” and 7 commissaries.
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