About Bogota

Bogotá, Distrito Capital, formerly called Santa Fé de Bogotá, is the capital city of Colombia, as well as the most populous city in the country, with an estimated 10.5 mllion inhabitants Bogotá and its metropolitan area, which includes municipalities such as Chía, Cota, Soacha, Cajicá and La Calera, have an estimated population of 12 million. In terms of land area, Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia, and its altitude - 2,740 meters - makes it the third-highest capital city in the world, after La Paz and Quito. With its many universities and libraries, Bogotá has become known as "The Athens of South America".

 

Bogotá was originally called "Bacatá" - which means "planted fields" - by the Muiscas. It was the center of their civilization before Spanish explorers colonized the area, and it sustained a large population. The European settlement was founded on August 6, 1538 by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and was named "Santa Fé de Bacatá" after his birthplace Santa Fé and the local name. "Bacatá" had become the modern "Bogotá" by the time it was made the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada, which was then part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, and later of the Viceroyalty of New Granada. The city soon became one of the centers of Spanish colonial power and civilization in South America.

In 1810-11 its citizens revolted against Spanish rule and set up a government of their own, but had to contend with internal divisions and the temporary return to power of Spanish military loyalists who regained control of the city in 1816. In 1819 Simón Bolívar liberated Bogotá after his victory at Boyacá. Bogotá was then made the capital of Gran Colombia, a federation combining the territories of modern Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. When Gran Colombia was broken up, Bogotá remained the capital of New Granada, which later became the Republic of Colombia.

In 1956 the municipality annexed neighboring municipalities forming a "Special District" (Distrito Especial). The Constitution of 1991 confirmed Bogotá as the Capital of Colombia, gave it the name - Santafé de Bogotá - and changed the category from Special District to "Capital District" (Distrito Capital). Finally, in August 2000 the official name was changed back to simply - Bogotá.