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Arab diaspora in Colombia: Wikis


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Shakira is well-known Colombian of Arab descent. Her father is of Lebanese descent.[1] In fact, Shakira means "thankful" (شاكِرة) in Arabic.

The Arab diaspora in Colombia refers to the Arab immigrants and their offspring in the Republic of Colombia. Most of the Middle Easterners came from Syria, Lebanon and Palestine escaping from the repression of the Ottoman Empire and financial hardships.[2]

Most of the Syrian-Lebanese established in the Caribbean Region of Colombia in the towns of Santa Marta, Lorica, Fundación, Aracataca, Ayapel, Calamar, Ciénaga, Cereté, Montería and Barranquilla near the basin of the Magdalena River. It later expanded to other cities and by 1945 there were Middle Easterners moving inland like Ocaña, Cúcuta, Barrancabermeja, Ibagué, Girardot, Honda, Tunja, Villavicencio, Pereira, Soatá, Neiva, Buga, Chaparral and Chinácota. The four major hubs of Middle Eastern population were present in Barranquilla, Cartagena, Bogotá and Cali. The number of immigrants entering the country vary from 5,000 to 10,000 in 1945. Some of these immigrants were Christian-Lebanese and others were adept to Islam.[2]

Another large wave of immigrants came later from the Middle East in the 1940s this time establishing in the town of Maicao, La Guajira in northern Colombia. This immigrants were mostly Muslim and were attracted by the thriving commerce of the town which was benefiting from the neighboring Venezuelan oil bonanza and the usual contraband of goods that flowed through the Guajira Peninsula.[3] It is estimated that Colombia has a population of 840,000 Lebanese immigrants.

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