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Lying deep in the Valle de Aburrá, Medellín was founded in 1616 by Spanish explorer and conquistador Francisco Herrera y Campuzano. The city’s name was changed from the original San Lorenzo de Aburrá to Villa de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de Medellín in 1675 and was subsequently granted city status in 1813.

Populated for the most part by Spanish settlers from the province of Extremadura, known for their work ethic and hardy lifestyles, Medellín became a major hub for commerce and industry over the years, particularly in textiles, making the city one of the fashion centers of South America.

In spite of Medellín’s best efforts to alter its image, it has been a city tainted by death. One of the most infamous incidents was the murder of the Colombian soccer player Andrés Escobar in 1994. Escobar was gunned down in front of a nightclub for accidentally kicking in the self-goal that resulted in the national team’s elimination from the World Cup.

In a history that remains, unfortunately, too well known throughout the world, Medellín gained a justifiably terrible reputation in the 1980s and 1990s as the world capital of

murder, kidnapping and crime. Pablo Escobar’s cartel and its rivals were responsible for countless deaths, making the city one of the most dangerous on earth.

In December of 1993, the godfather of the international cocaine trade was hunted down and shot in his hometown of Medellín. In the years since, violence in the city has decreased considerably.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Medellín: The Legend of Pablo Escobar,

By Richard McColl
With over five years travelling and working in Latin America, Richard feels most at home here in the big Continent. From the former Scottish...
15 Feb 2012

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