|Foundation||August 16, 1748|
|• Mayor||Alfredo Vega Quintero|
|• Total||976.26 km2 (376.94 sq mi)|
|Elevation||162 m (531 ft)|
|• Density||110/km2 (280/sq mi)|
|Area code(s)||57 + 5|
|Website||Official website (in Spanish)|
Aguachica (Spanish pronunciation: [aɣwaˈtʃika]), is a small city and municipality in the southern region of the Cesar Department, Colombia. It was officially founded on August 16, 1748, by José Lázaro de Rivera.
The municipality is located south of the Cesar Department, between the Cordillera Oriental Andean mountains and the Magdalena River. The municipality of Aguachica borders to the north with the municipality of La Gloria and the Department of North Santander (municipality of El Carmen); to the east with the municipality of Rio de Oro; to the south with Rio de Oro once again, with the municipality of San Martín and the Department of Santander (municipality of Puerto Wilches) and to the west with the municipality of Gamarra and the Department of Bolívar (municipality of Morales) covering a total area of 876 km², 3.8% of the total area of the Department of Cesar.
The northern area of the municipality is mountainous part of the Cordillera Oriental mountain range with altitude varying between the 200 m and 2,150 m over sea level. The southern area of the municipality of Aguachica is predominantly flat with two major rivers flowing through the region; the Magdalena River and the Lebrija River.
Spanish conquest and colonization
During the first decades of the 18th century, the area was established as the Hacienda de San Roque by the Spanish and was owned by Don Antonio Garia de Bonilla, but due to pests and illnesses the settlement was moved a few hundred meters to the south. By 1722 the settlement had grown in the middle of an hacienda predominantly owned by Don Casimiro Ramos de Barahoja. The settlement was serving now as a rest area for merchants traveling to and from the nearby fluvial port town of Gamarra and Ocaña (present-day Department of North Santander).
On August 17, 1748, the settlement was officially founded by Jose Lazaro de Rivera and established as a Roman Catholic parish. By this time the Spanish conqueror Jose Fernando de Mier y Guerra was ordered to "pacify" the Chimila indigenous groups and to reorganize some villages in the basin of the Magdalena river. These foundations and re-foundations were approved back then by José Alfonso Pizarro viceroy of the Viceroyalty of New Granada between 1749 and 1753. In 1753 the Spanish ordered the construction of houses in Aguachica and was made part of the Government of Santa Marta.
By 1850 the first migrants arrived to Aguachica largely attracted by the plantations of coffee in neighboring Ocaña, Sovereign State of Santander and also introduced agricultural and farming practices for commerce in the region. During the 1920s, Petroleum deposits were found in the area triggering another wave of migrants mostly from the neighboring departments of Colombia; Antioquia, Caldas, Santander, North Santander and Boyaca.
During the 1950s the construction of the highway and the Magdalena railroad turned Aguachica into a strategic area between the Andean region and Caribbean region. The 1960s were marked by the migration of people from the Department of Tolima mostly farmers interested in exploiting the land, developing large plantations of cotton, sorghum, rice, among other products. The economy grew, developing an economy based on agricultural products, commerce and services.
Colombian armed conflict
During the 1980s and early 1990s the region was influenced by the Colombian armed conflict producing the displacement of people from the countryside and from neighboring regions of the southern Department of Bolívar and the Department of Cesar into the municipality seat.
The municipality of Aguachica is subdivided into 22 Corregimientos:
- Barranca Lebrija
- Cerro Bravo
- Cerro Redondo
- Cuatro Rocas
- El Juncal
- La Morena
- Las Adjuntas
- San Miguel
- Santa Lucia
- Villa Nueva
- La Campana
- Las Juntas
- La Yegüera
- Loma de Corredor
- Puerto Amalia
- San Andres de Totumal
- San Francisco
- Santa Barbara
- Santa Rosa
- Villa de San Andres
- Cañada Ospina
- Costa Rica
- El Corral
- El Tope
- Esmeralda Alta
- La Pajuila
- La Ye
- Las Bateas
- Bella Vista
- Caño Caracoli
- Cerro de los Bustos
- El Carbon
- El Faro
- La Bocatoma
- La Ceiba
- La Union
- La Yeguerita
- Las Latas
87% of these 80,789 people living in houses, while 2.1% lived in apartment buildings and 10% in rented rooms. 4.8% of these homes were also used for home businesses. 90% of the municipality of Aguachica had electricity, 73% with sewage service, 87% had aqueduct services, 50% had natural gas services installed at home while 30% percent had a telephone line.
- Colombiassh.org: Census 2005: Aguachica
- DANE 2005 Census: Aguachica (in Spanish)
- Townhall of Aguachica: Generalities: Geography Archived July 31, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Townhall of Aguachica: Generalities: History Archived July 31, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- (in Spanish) Cesar 30 Años de Progreso – Gobernación del Cesar (1997). -Page 19-
- 2005 DANE Census: Demographic statistics Municipality of Aguachica (in Spanish)
- (in Spanish) Aguachica official website
- (in Spanish) 2005 Census: Aguachica
- (in Spanish) Luis Angel Arango Library: Aguachica y algodón: historias paralelas