Cartagena de Indias is a city that since its origin until today has highly influenced the events in Colombia. In pre columbian times its coasts were inhabited by warrior indians of the Caribe race which would give problems to more than one colonizing expedition that dared to disembark in its beaches.
The honor of the foundation was given to Don
Pedro de Heredia, on June 1st of 1533 with the name of "Cartagena de Poniente", to make it different from "Cartagena de Levante",
in Spain; both with similar bays.
The rising population would be target of the greed of English and French invaders, and the fact is that its quality of slave trade port and commercial port made it very appealing to foreign eyes. Therefore their protection and defense were more than urgent, beginning with the Fuerte del Boquerón in the XVIth century
(where today stands the Fuerte del Pastelillo). Then, slowly would come the different forts that would surround the city according to the requirements and the evolution of the military art in the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries.
Nevertheless, this would not save the city from demolishing invasions like the one of Barón
de Pointis en 1697, that left it in ruins.
In 1610 would arrive the first friars of the Tribunal
de Penas del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición, (The Inquisition) that would extend its power of repression and vigilance until the time of the Independence.
Cartagena de Indias was in occasions seat of viceroys such as Don
Sebastián de Eslava, that governed almost ten consecutive years, replacing Santa Fe as the capital of the Nuevo Reino de Granada.
On November 11th of 1811 the Acta
de Independencia Absoluta (Act of Absolute Independence) from Spain would be signed, starting with this, ten long years to finally achieve the definite emancipation. Of the many blockades and sieges that the Villa of Heredia suffered it is necessary to emphasize the one imposed by Pablo
Morillo, El Pacificador, in 1815, who had the task of recovering this important plaza for the Spanish Crown. "Cartagena
de Indias, Ciudad Heroica", was the title it would win after holding up for more than three months of intense siege.
In the Republican Period, the city would enter a long stagnant period product of its loss of strategic and commercial interest. The cartagenero Rafael Núñez can be mentioned, as one that during this time of "recession" of Cartagena de Indias, was elected President of the Republic in four occasions, directing the destinies of the Nation from the Heroic City, as some viceroys did in the Colony .
The rebirth of Cartagena de Indias as a determinant city in Colombia is given well into the XXth Century with the reactivation of its economy, when its history and its legends are only recollections of the glorious past of a tourist city that receives the 21st century full of hopes and dreams for the future.