- Caribbean Region of Colombia
The Caribbean Region or Caribbean Coast Region is a natural region of
Colombiamainly composed of eight Departments located contiguous to the Caribbean Sea. [http://www.memo.com.co/fenonino/aprenda/geografia/regiones.html es icon MEMO: Natural Regions of Colombia] Memo.com.co Accessed 22 August 2007.] The area covers a total land area of 132,288 km² including the San Andres Island in the Caribbean sea and corresponding to approximately 1/10 of the total territory of Colombia. The Caribbean region of Colombia is home to approximately 9 million people according to the Colombian Census 2005. [http://www.ocaribe.org/region/region.htm]
The area is characterized for having a massif plain that extends from the Colombian Andean Mountain range, surrounds the
Sierra Nevada de Santa Martamountain range and covers the Guajira Peninsulato border the Caribbean sea. In the western side of the region there is also a relative low altitude mountain range, the Montes de Mariawhich are also separate from the Andean mountain range. The Caribbean region is crossed by many rivers and contains one of the largest marshes in Colombia, the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Martamarsh among many others. The main river is the Magdalena Riverwhich is fully navigable in the region and a major path for the flow of shipments from and for inland Colombia. The Madgalena river has numerous sub basins within its basin.
The Caribbean region coast extends from the
Gulf of Urabato the Gulf of Venezuelawith the main port cities of Barranquillaand Cartagena bordering it. The administration of the region is covered by eight department governments; Atlántico, Bolívar, Cesar, Sucre, Córdoba, Magdalena, La Guajiraand San Andrés y Providencia. These 8 departments also cover approximately 182 municipalities, 1093 " corregimientos" and 493 "caserios" according to the 2005 Censusby DANE. Most of its inhabitants speak a dialect of Caribbean Spanishwith variations within its subregions.
The Caribbean region contains 6 subregions which differ in certain natural aspects. [ [http://web.minambiente.gov.co/ecorre/peramb9/resumen.htm Ecorregiones Estratégicas, Proceso de Concertación Nacional ] ]
Guajira Peninsula region
The Guajira Peninsula is the most septentrional point of
South America, also mostly desertic, only crossed by the Ranchería Riverwith no other major water stream in the area, water is scarce. The Guajira is inhabited mostly by the wayuuethnic group, mixed from Europeans, Indigenous and Black and also houses one of the largest population of muslims in Colombia. La Guajira. The peninsula forms most of the territory of the La Guajira Departmentand is rich in mineral resources such as coaland natural gas. The region also contains a large reserve of saltnear the town of Manaure. The largest city is Riohacha.
ierra Nevada de Santa Marta region
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range region rises isolated in the middle of the
Caribbean Savannaand the Caribbean sea with a tetrahedral shape. The region presents a very rough terrain with mountain climatevariations on its three faces; the northern area facing the Caribbean sea near the city of Santa Martaat sea level presents a semi-arid hot ecosystem. As the altitude increases vegetation increases and temperature drops. The vegetation becomes scarce once again at the " páramo" altitude terrains as temperature continues to drop. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta has one of the highest peaks in Colombia, the Simón Bolívar peak at 5,775 meters (18,947 ft) above sea level contains glaciers. The area is shared by the Departments of Magdalena, Cesar and La Guajira.
Magdalena river mouth
The Magdalena river basin extends from the Andean region through the Magdalena river valley and crossing into the Caribbean region where major sub-basins integrate to form this sub-region. The region constitute a very rich ecosystem for numerous fauna and flora species as well as a fertile ground for human subsistence agriculture and livestock raising. The river flows into the Caribbean sea were the port city of
Barranquillais located by the mouth. It is also the largest and most populous city in the Caribbean region.
Valley of the Sinú River
Valley of the San Jorge
Administrative divisions within region
The Caribbean region is formed by the Departments of:
;partial territory pertaining to:
Antioquia Department: in the Gulf of Urabámost of the territory of the subregion of Urabá Antioquia.
Chocó Department: covering a small territory in the Gulf of Urabá. Chocó is the only Department of Colombia with coasts on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Protected areas in the Caribbean region
Parque Nacional Natural corales del Rosario y San Bernardo:Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta Fauna and Flora Sanctuary: Tayrona National Natural Park:Parque Nacional Natural Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta:Parque Nacional Natural Macuira: Santuario de Fauna y Flora los Colorados: Flamingos Fauna and Flora Sanctuary: El Corchal Fauna and Flora Sanctuary: Island of Salamanca Park Way
The predominant ethnic group in the region is the
mestizo, a mixture of white peopleof European descent, mainly Spanish, the indigenous peoples and black people. The region also presented human immigration coming from Europe and the Middle East mostly from Lebanon, Syriaand Turkeyduring the early 20th Century which was followed by a second wave during World War II. Most of the immigrants settled in the main urban centers or trade port towns such as in Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Cartagena, Sincelejo, Mompox, El Banco, etc. The two most populated indigenous ethnic groups are the wayuuin the Guajira Peninsulaand the Arhuacos, Koguisand Arsarios. Black population is mostly concentrated near Cartagena predominantly in the town of San Basilio de Palenquewhich was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanityby UNESCOfor preserving its African heritage.
The economy of the Caribbean region is based mainly in the exploitation of natural resources such coal and natural gas, salt, agricultural products mainly bananas, coffee and
oil palm, cotton, tropical fruits among many other products, livestock raising which is practiced extensively in almost all the territory, in Córdoba, Sucre, Atlántico, Magdalena, Bolívar, Cesar and southern La Guajira. There is also a service industry and a local import-export industry mainly in the ports of Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta. Another major part of the economy is tourism, which concentrates also in Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta along with San Andres and Providencia Islands.
Music and dances
The most popular local rhythms are the
cumbiaand vallenatohowever, there is a great musical influence from the rest of the Caribbean nations with Salsa, merengue, more recently reggaetonand many Afro-Caribbeanrhythms. This influence also developed the " Champeta" which has similarities with reggaeton. Other genres include " porro.
Traditional dances are mostly of
Afro-Colombianorigin with the influence in cumbiaand the mapalé.
Myths and legends
The Caribbean region has a rich tradition of myths and legeds that include "
La Llorona", " El Hombre Caimán", " La Ciguapa", the Vallenato Legend, " La Madre Monte", " El Simborcito", la Mojana Legend, " El Lucio", etc [http://www.colombiaaprende.edu.co/html/familia/1597/propertyvalue-33413.html]
The most popular and known celebration in the Caribbean region is the Carnival of Barranquilla celebrated every year in February. The Miss Colombia Pageant in Cartagena, the
Vallenato Legend Festivalin Valledupar, Feast of the Seain Santa Martaand the Corralejas Festivitiesin Sincelejo.
The typical food of the Caribbean region is the
sancochomade with sabalo fish (locally known as "bocachico") accompanied with Coconut rice. The soup is also prepared with the head of the Sabalo, yuca, plantain, coconut water, lime and salt. The " arepa" is also a popular dish with numerous variations like "arepa limpia" (plain arepa), "arepa e' queso" (arepa with cheese) and "arepa e'huevo" (arepa with egg).
*es icon [http://www.lablaa.org/blaavirtual/geografia/carcol/vegcar1.htm Luis Angel Arango Library: Colombian Caribbean]
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