Putumayo is a department of Colombia. It is in the south-west of the country, bordering Ecuador and Peru. Its capital is Mocoa.
The word putumayo comes from the Quechua languages. The verb putuy means "to spring forth" or "to burst out", and mayo is a variant of mayu, meaning river. Thus it means "gushing river".
Originally, the south west of the department was territory of the Cofán Indians, the north west of the Kamentxá Indians, and the center and south belong to tribes that spoke Tukano languages (such as the Siona), and the east to tribes that spoke Witoto languages. Part of the Kamentxá territory was conquered by the Inca Huayna Cápac in 1492, who after crossing the Cofán territory, established a Quechua population on the valley of Sibundoy, that is known today as Ingas. After the Inca defeat in 1533, the region was invaded by the Spanish in 1542 and since 1547 administered by catholic missions.
The current territory of Putumayo was linked to Popayan during the Spanish Colony and on the firsts Republican decades belonged to the "Azuay Department", that included territories in Ecuador and Perú. Later starts a long process of territorial redistributions:
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