History in Medellin

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This Medellin History guide will give you an overview of the events and people that shaped this great city.


Humans settled the area 10500 years ago. They were mostly hunters and gatherers and lived off the land.

5th Century

In the 5th century, the Aburra people lived in the valley and gave it its name. The Aburra were farmers who cultivated maize, cotton and beans, they wove and decorated fabrics and they were goldsmiths.

16th Century

In 1541, the Spaniards exploring the territory reached the area that is now Medellin. They first named it the valley of Saint Bartholomew, but soon renamed it Aburra for the tribe living there. The Aburra tribe were hostile to the new comers and the Spaniards did not stay long.

17th Century

In 1616, Francisco de Herrera y Campuzano founded a settlement with 80 Amerindiens on what is today El Poblabo Square. In 1646, the colonial administration built a new town in Ana and, three years later, began building the Church of our Lady of Candelaria. The Aburra valley was located between the gold mines and Santa Fe, the first provincial capital of Antioquia. Trade and prominent people started moving to the Aburra valley and in 1675, a new town was formed from the settlements.

19th Century

In 1803, in the central plaza (now Berrio Square), the Royal College of the Franciscans was founded. It was renamed Colegio de Antioquia in 1821 and became the University of Antioquia in 1901. During the 19th century, the city produced coffee and gold, and built a regional railway. The Thousand Days War (1899-1902) halted the industrial growth of the city, which restarted after the conflict ended.

20th Century

Coffee was the largest trade here in the 20th century as they began exporting worldwide. In 1949, the presidential candidate was murdered and political violence ravaged the countryside, forcing farmers to move to the cities. Medellin's population grew quickly and soon became the largest city in Columbia.

February 12, 2010 change by miss_frenchye
February 18, 2010 change by ctanios

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