What Ancient Civilization Lived in Colombia?

Colombia is a country with a rich and diverse history. The region has been inhabited for thousands of years by various indigenous groups. One of the most notable ancient civilizations that lived in Colombia was the Tayrona civilization.

The Tayrona Civilization

The Tayrona civilization was one of the most advanced pre-Columbian societies in South America. They lived in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain range located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The civilization existed from 200 BCE to 1600 CE.

Religion and Beliefs

The Tayrona civilization had a complex religious system that revolved around nature worship. They believed that everything in nature was sacred and had a spirit. Mountains, rivers, and animals were worshipped as gods, and offerings were made to them.

Architecture and Engineering

The Tayrona people were skilled engineers and architects. They built their settlements on steep hillsides, using terraced farming techniques to cultivate crops such as maize, beans, and cassava. Their cities were built using stone foundations and wooden poles that supported thatched roofs.

Art and Culture

The Tayrona people were also known for their art and culture. They created beautiful gold objects such as masks, necklaces, earrings, and nose rings. These objects were used in religious ceremonies or as symbols of social status.

The Decline of the Tayrona Civilization

The decline of the Tayrona civilization is still debated among historians. Some believe that the arrival of Spanish conquistadors led to their downfall, while others argue that diseases brought by Europeans wiped out large portions of their population.

Today, descendants of the Tayrona people still live in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region. The Kogi people are one such group who have preserved many of the ancient traditions and customs of their ancestors.


In conclusion, the Tayrona civilization was one of the most advanced and sophisticated ancient societies in South America. Their religious beliefs, architecture, engineering, art, and culture continue to fascinate historians and archaeologists. The legacy of the Tayrona people lives on through their descendants and serves as a reminder of Colombia’s rich and diverse history.