May 15

It’s Colombia, not Columbia: New Campaign Fights Back

ColOmbia not ColUmbia


Dear Ozzy Osbourne/Paris Hilton/Starbucks/Virgin Mobile/Lufthansa,

I’m sure you’re all very busy, I just wanted to write to you to remind you: IT’S COLOMBIA, NOT COLUMBIA!

It’s good to get that off my chest. Some of you non-Colombian readers may be wondering why it’s such a big deal…I mean, it’s just one letter right? Well, just imagine how indignant people in England would get if their country was routinely spelt Ingland by major celebrities, at the Olympics (yep, we did that, on a BBC news feed of all things!), and by the coffee chains selling imported ColOmbian coffee…I imagine people would be a little bit ticked off by that. We’ve written about the Colombia/Columbia confusion in the past, but it’s seems that action is finally being taken on a large scale:


Bart Simpson Colombia
Even Bart Simpson’s angry about this…(source: Pinterest)


The good news is that the Colombian people aren’t just sitting around and accepting the constant misspellings of their proud and beautiful country: they’re fighting back! The ‘It’s Colombia, not Columbia’ campaign is aiming to spread the word around the world that this country deserves the respect of having its name spelt correctly. Don’t get us wrong, if Justin Bieber tweets about Colombia with a misspelling the world doesn’t explode, but it’s just a tiny bit more ignorance that contributes to a greater whole. What’s more troubling is the trend for people who call themselves journalists to fail to correctly spell the country they’re writing about. To me, it often smacks of arrogance: ‘this country isn’t as big as ours, so who needs to get it right!?’ Sometimes it’s just an honest mistake…but where’s the harm in correcting this honest mistake so it stops happening in the future?


Colombia Travel Graphic
A little graphic we made earlier to remind you…


The campaign has a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook, and has attracted attention from international publications as well. They have designed t-shirts and other merchandise, and are encouraging their followers to name and shame serial offenders on their social media forums. It’s a plan that we at See Colombia are thoroughly in support of…after all, no-one will find us if they keep googling See Columbia Travel, right!?


T-Shirt Colombia
One of the campaign’s rather fetching t-shorts


You can show your support to this campaign by liking their Facebook page here.



6 thoughts on “It’s Colombia, not Columbia: New Campaign Fights Back

  1. Jose on

    About Columbia vs Colombia, is it really a mistake? Deutschland (in German) = Germany (in English) = Alemania (in Spanish), and that’s OK. Brasil (in Spanish and Portuguese) = Brazil (in English), and it’s not wrong. Colombia (in Spanish) means “tierra de Colón”, and Columbia (in English) means “land of Columbus”. Exactly the same, because Cristóbal Colón = Christopher Columbus. So, is it really a mistake?


      Chris on

      Hi Jose,

      Thanks for your comment. The short answer is that yes, technically, it is a mistake: regardless of meaning the accepted spelling of Colombia in English (in any dictionary for example) is with an ‘o’ = Colombia. So anyone spelling Colombia as ‘Columbia’ when writing in English is, in a purely linguistic sense, wrong. That’s the difference between the Germany/Deutschland thing and the Colombia/Columbia thing – the first is a language difference (that’s what we have agreed to call that particular country in English), the second is a spelling error, as our English language dictates that we spell Colombia (the country) with two o’s.

      Having said that, I also believe there’s a balance to be had here regarding people’s outrage – I understand the anger directed at major corporations or brands selling Colombian coffee who spell the name wrong: if you are working alongside a country or selling their products etc. then it should be fairly standard practice to spell the name of the country correctly. However, when everyday people with no connection to the country spell it ‘Columbia’ I don’t see it as any huge outrage (I’ll correct them though!) – as you say, the name is taken from Columbus which is spelled with a ‘u’ in English, so the confusion is understandable. However, it does remain technically incorrect in a linguistic sense.


  2. feels song on

    Hurrah, that’s what I was looking for, what a material!
    existing here at this webpage, thanks admin of this site.

  3. Rich on

    Where can I get that Shirt. I’m always correcting people. 🙂


      Chris on

      The t-shirt can be bought through the facebook group linked at the bottom of the post. And keep on correcting people, one step at a time 🙂


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