Background

The city of Santa Fe de Bogotá (also written Santafé and with or without accent) was founded by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada on 6 August 1538 in territory inhabited by the indigenous Muisca. The name of the king, Bacatá, was adopted for the new city. In 1575, Philip II of Spain confirmed the city's title as the 'very noble and very loyal city of Santafé de Bogotá', adopting the name of Jiménez de Quesada's birthplace of Santa Fe in Andalucía. It was the capital of the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada in 1740. After independance in 1819, Bogotá became the capital of Gran Colombia, a confeder- ation of what is today Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama and Colombia and remained capital of Colombia as the other republics separated.

For much of the 19th century, Bogotá suffered from isolation in economic terms mainly due to distance and lack of good transport. Population in 1850 was no more than 50,000. By 1900, however, a tram system unified the city and railways connected it to the Río Magdalena. Migrants from the Colombian countryside flocked to the city and by 1950, the population was 500,000, and the move to develop the north of the city accelerated. Since then it has re-emphasised its position as the dominant city in Colombia.

The official name of the city is now simply Bogotá, the urban area of the metropolis is known as the Distrito Capital (DC), and it is also the capital of the surrounding Department of Cundinamarca.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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