The general introduction explains the organization of the anthology and provides an outline of recent history. Volume editors explore the multiple ways Colombians themselves understand the nation and discuss the gap between homegrown images of nationhood and those that circulate internationally. Themes that extend through the volume are introduced, including the significance of the Magdalena River to national geography, the country’s history of bitter violence, and the tensions that have shaped Colombian politics in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The focus is on bringing English readers into a cultural geography that Colombians have already worked to describe for themselves. As an introduction to this wide-ranging anthology, it frames the varied and creative ways that voices from within the nation describe Colombia.