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Cartagena History

The first humans to live in the area were the Puerto Hormiga settlements (7,000-3,000 BC), which produced some of the oldest pottery in the Americas, followed by the much more developed Monsú culture. By the time the Europeans came, various Carib-Arawak nations lived on the coast and off-shore islands.

On an island separated from the mainland by marshes and lagoons, Pedro de Heredia founded Cartagena de Indias in 1533. For years, it served as a storage point for items sent from Spain, and for treasure extracted from the Americas. Over the next 200 years, Cartagena experienced several sieges. The most notable attacks were by Sir Francis Drake in 1586, Baron de Pointis and Ducasse in 1697, and Sir Edward Vernon in 1741. This latter assault was repelled by the famous one-eyed, one-armed, and one-legged hero Blas de Lezo, whose statue stands at the entrance of the San Felipe fortress. These severe attacks led to the building of the old city’s protective wall and forts, such as San Fernando, San Sebastián del Pastelillo and San Felipe de Barajas.

In 1811, Cartagena declared independence from Spain. The following year, Simón Bolívar used the city as a jumping-off point for his Magdalena campaign. Pablo Morillo and the royalists re-took control in 1815. Cartagena gained full independence in 1821.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Cartagena: Cartagena Neighborhoods,

By Brenda Yun
I am a creative writer / surfer chick in need of adventure all the time. The only thing that keeps me grounded is my non-traveling, non-surfing pug...
03 May 2011

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