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History of Valledupar

When Spaniard Hernando de Santana and his legions arrived here in 1550, Tupe and Chimila indigenous occupied this valley of the Río Guatapurí, Cold Water River. The invaders called their new city Ciudad de los Santos Reyes del Valle del Cacique Upar — or, to make it short, Valle de Upar: Valledupar today. According to legend, the Tupe set Valledupar afire and poisoned the water supplies in revenge for the Spaniards’ ill treatment. The Virgen del Rosario miraculously resuscitated the Europeans. The settlement was founded again in 1550; the Spaniards promptly hung 15 Tupe caciques on La Popa hill in retaliation. In 1813, María Concepción Loperena Fernández de Castro declared Valledupar’s Independence from Spain and sent 300 horses from her haciendas to Simón Bolívar. During the 1000-Day War (end 18th / beginning 19th centuries), Valledupar was witness to some of the battles. In the late 20th century, this region became a hot spot in the country’s civil war, with clashes first between the ELN and government forces, then a cleansing by paramilitaries. In 2008, the departmental government faced charges of connections with paracos, or paramilitaries.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

18 Mar 2011

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