About Santa Marta

Santa Marta is a city and municipality located in northern Colombia by the Caribbean sea and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, capital of the Magdalena Department. The city is an important maritime port and hub for tourism, history and culture. It was founded on July 29, 1525 by Spanish conqueror Rodrigo de Bastidas, who named the city after the Catholic day for Saint Martha, which in Spain was celebrated with festivities. However many historians argue that he named it after the Spanish city of Santa Marta de Astorgas, which he had also visited. It was one of the first cities to be founded in Colombia. The first one was Santa María la Antigua del Darién.

El Libertador Simón Bolívar died at a ranch named Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino on the outskirts of Santa Marta on December 17, 1830. The city has been affected to some extent by the Colombian Armed Conflict.

History

Prior to the Arrival of Spanish explorers, the area where Santa Marta lies was inhabited by Amerindians from the Tairona culture, and its subsequent families: Arhuacos and Koguis, among others.

The city was founded in July 29, 1525 by Spanish conqueror Rodrigo de Bastidas, accompanied by some two hundred of his men and a few Amerindians. He named the city after the Catholic day for Saint Martha, which in Spain was celebrated with festivities. However, many historians argue that he named it after the Spanish city of Santa Marta de Astorgas, which he had visited.[2] With its foundation, the Spanish colonization also started the conquering of lands from this region, and the set up of administrative functions for the colony, including a maritime port and the construction of defenses to prevent pirate raids.

During the Colonial times the city started losing its importance as maritime port to nearby city port of Cartagena.

During the mid-19th century, French, English and North American immigrants along with some locals started to introduce industrial ways of productions and founded trade associations among industrials and the farmers. As a result they built railways which would connect productive networks.

In 1871, the University of Magdalena was founded, initially with two faculties: law and medicine.

During the 20th century the city served as a main port for massive exports of bananas and coal, produced inland with the assistance of major multinational corporations.

In 1968 the government decentralized the Port Authority, leaving Santa Marta with its own Port Authority (Capitania de Puerto).[3]

In recent years, Santa Marta has attracted large numbers of people displaced by the paramilitary groups operating in the area. The warm climate and the possibility of occasional work serving the tourist industry has increased the city's population drastically.

Information from Wikipedia