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They farmed maize, potato, quinoa and cotton, and traded gold, emeralds, blankets, ceramic handicrafts, coca and especially rock salt with neighboring nations.The Tairona inhabited northern Colombia in the isolated mountain range of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.Nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes at the El Abra, Tibitó and Tequendama sites near present-day Bogotá traded with one another and with other cultures from the Magdalena River Valley.Between 50 BCE, hunter-gatherer tribes transitioned to agrarian societies; fixed settlements were established, and pottery appeared.
The urban centres are mostly located in the highlands of the Andes mountains.
In 1508, Vasco Núñez de Balboa accompanied an expedition to the territory through the region of Gulf of Urabá and they founded the town of Santa María la Antigua del Darién in 1510, the first stable settlement on the continent.
Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada led an expedition to the interior in April 1536, and christened the districts through which he passed "New Kingdom of Granada".
In 1547, New Granada became the Captaincy-General of New Granada within the viceroyalty.
In 1549, the Royal Audiencia was created by a royal decree, and New Granada was ruled by the Royal Audience of Santa Fe de Bogotá, which at that time comprised the provinces of Santa Marta, Rio de San Juan, Popayán, Guayana and Cartagena.
At Puerto Hormiga and other sites, traces from the Archaic Period (~8000–2000 BCE) have been found.