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In the organization of its kingdoms and empires, the sophistication of its monuments and cities, and the extent and refinement of its intellectual accomplishments, the Mesoamerican civilization, along with the comparable Andean civilization farther south, constitutes a New World counterpart to those of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China., hunting-and-gathering peoples occupied most of the New World south of the glacial ice cap covering northern North America.
The cooler climate of this period as compared with that of the present day supported a grassland vegetation, especially in the highland valleys, that was ideal for large herds of grazing animals.
It contains several small islands in the Atlantic, including San Andrea and Providencia, and in the Pacific, the Malpelo and Gorgona islands have been set aside as natural wildlife reserves.
Colombia borders Ecuador and Peru to the south, Brazil and Venezuela to the east, and Panama to the northwest.
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Mesoamerican civilization, the complex of indigenous cultures that developed in parts of Mexico and Central America prior to Spanish exploration and conquest in the 16th century.
Struggles for control of this rich but limited farmland resulted in a dominant landowning class that shaped the first great Mesoamerican civilization, the , a time when the rest of Mesoamerica was at best on a Neolithic level.
Most of the population lives in the inland Andean region, which begins along the Caribbean coast near Venezuela.
Climatic effects are accentuated on the high elevations of these mountain ranges.
Lowland coastal areas give way to rain forest, the Andes, and the Inland Ilanos (plains).
Colombia is connected to Central America by the Isthmus of Panama.