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Cali History, Colombia

Cali History – Early Colonial Period

Cali history starts with the indigenous tribes that inhabited the region, some of which were cannibals, but had well established trade routes with nearby populations. The Spaniards who came in search of gold met strong resistance from the Amerindians, which fought back with poisonous darts and gave them a very hard time before reaching the current territory of Cali, through what is now the city of Ibague. Sebastian de Belalcazar, the man who led the expedition in the territory, encouraged his men and to mix with the local women, and he himself had seven children on the grounds he conquered, thus establishing a unitary community which was to rebel later against Spain during the War of Independence. Belalcazar’s expedition was started in Peru along with Francisco Pizzaro, but their tracks separated and he came to found Santiago de Cali on July 25, 1536. The town was strategically placed on the commercial routes and its population was made up of black slaves and white nobles who preoccupied themselves with cattle farms and sugar cane.

Cali History – Obtaining Independence

The year 1810 is of great importance in Cal’s history, as it is when the city refused to recognize the Spanish rule and started an uprising seventeen days before it also broke in Bogota. In order to better protect its interests, the city allied with neighboring communities and requested military help from the capital, managing to gain its independence on March 28, 1811. Battles still continued for many years and Cali remained one of the most important military contributors to the wars of independence that finally gave all the south nations their liberty.

Cali History – Modern Development

The beginning of the 20th century saw Cali as a modest quiet urban settlement with approximately 20.000 inhabitants, which based their living on agriculture. The city limits were surrounded by mango plantations and all the food supplies the population needed came from their own crops that they recuperated from the Spanish Crown. They grew sugar cane and ate mostly beef and cheese, but the mines in the Pacific started bringing together a more and more relevant industrial sector in their economy. A commercial centre was built in 1890 that organized the trades around the city and started linking the population from the suburbs in the city centre. In 1971, Cali was declared the Sports Capital of Columbia and the inauguration of the third largest building in Columbia, La Torre de Cali, soon after gave the city urban confidence and a more and more vigorous look into the future.

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