Arauca Department

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Arauca Department
Departamento de Arauca
Flag of Arauca Department
Coat of arms of Arauca Department
Coat of arms
Motto: Vamos Arauca
(Spanish: Let's Go Arauca)
Arauca shown in red
Arauca shown in red
Topography of the department
Topography of the department
Country  Colombia
Region Orinoquía Region
Established July 4, 1991
Capital Arauca
 • Governor Ricardo Alvarado Bestene (2016–2019)
 • Total 23,818 km2 (9,196 sq mi)
Area rank 18th
Population (2013)[1]
 • Total 256,527
 • Rank 27th
 • Density 11/km2 (28/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-05
ISO 3166 code CO-ARA
Municipalities 7

Arauca Department (Spanish: Departamento de Arauca) is a department of Colombia located in the extreme north of the Orinoco part of Colombia (the Llanos Orientales), bordering Venezuela. To the south it borders the Casanare River and the Meta River, which separate it from the departments of Casanare and Vichada. To the west it borders the Boyacá Department. The Caño Limón oil fields located within its territory accounts for 30% of the Colombian oil output. Its capital is the town of Arauca.


The first conqueror to arrive to Arauca was Nikolaus Federmann in the year 1539, accompanied by Georg von Speyer, passing through the eastern mountains. In 1659, the mission moved into the forest in tribal lands Guahibos, TuneBase, Aeric and Chirico, where they founded new towns.

In the eighteenth century, being expelled from the Jesuits, being Viceroy Pedro Mesia de la Zerda, were succeeded in their mission of evangelization by the Augustinian Recollect, who founded five centers catechists: Solitude of Cravo, Cuiloto San Javier, San Jose del Ele, Lipa San Joaquin and San Fernando de Arauca.

In 1810 the Araucanian territory became part of the newly created province of Casanare, in 1819 became part of the department of Cundinamarca, and thereafter, by the year 1857 was annexed to the Sovereign State of Boyacá, later to be so Boyaca department. In 1891 he created the Arauca police station and had the chief executive of General Pedro Leon Acosta. By decree 113 of January 20, 1955, the territory was elevated to national quartermaster, and finally with the Constitution, 5 July 1991 as a department erected along with other municipal and City comisarías. Arauca is the regional capital since 1911.

Political and administrative evolution[edit]

  • 1550: He creates the New Kingdom of Granada.
  • 1810: With the division into new units, the Araucanian territory became part of the province of Casanare.
  • 1818: As President Gen. Fernando Serrano and Santander General Commander of the patriotic forces, Arauca was provisional capital of the Republic.
  • 1819: The province of Casanare became part of the Department of Cundinamarca.
  • 1831: With the dissolution of Gran Colombia, Arauca remains part of the province of Casanare.
  • 1886: With the creation of the Departments, Arauca is part of the Department of Boyaca.
  • 1911: Creation of the Special Commissioner of Arauca, Arauca capital.
  • 1955: The Araucanian territory acquired the status of National Quartermaster.
  • 1960: Boyacá Arauca is secreted, as part of the.


Its territory covers an area of 23,818 km2, predominantly composed of plains.


Note these are estimates, the Colombian census does not collect data on race and ethnicity, but complied population estimates of the five groupings.

There are small numbers of descendants of European immigrants: the Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, French, British, Dutch, Polish, Greek and Arab (i.e. Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian) nationalities.

Many Venezuelan-born nationals live in the department, and around 10-15 percent of the population is of Venezuelan origin.

It is unclear whether or not the name "Arauca" is connected with the "Araucanian" or Mapuche Indians of Chile and Argentina, unless one tracks the thousand-year old migratory patterns of indigenous Andean peoples in South America.

Indigenous Population[edit]

The department's total indigenous population amounts to 3591 people. Its territory is located 26 guards in an area of 128,167 hectares. Here are 6 indigenous peoples, with the following people: U'wa, 1,124 members; Betoyes 800; Sikuani, 782; Hitnü, 441; Kuiba, 241; Hitanü, 110; Chiricoa, 63 and Piapoco with 30. U'wa: The predominant ethnic group in the department. They are located in the north eastern abutment of the Cordillera Oriental, to the Nevado del Cocuy. Its total population is estimated at 7231 people, belong to the Chibcha language family. In 1124 there U'wa Arauca, i.e. 15%. Its name means "intelligent people who can speak". Betoyes:: by its people constitute the largest ethnic group in the department. Living on the River Cravo and the municipality of Tame. The area of its territory is 702 hectares. Its population is estimated at 800 people. Their language comes from the Chibcha language family. Although not retain their original language, speak a Betoyes mixed with Spanish, where they remain certain grammatical structures of this. Guahibos: appellation by which they are known Sikuani, Kuiba, Chiricoa, Hitanü (iguana) and Hitnü (Macaguane), who speak languages Guajiboan.


Its economy is based on the oil industry. The soils of the region have shown good conditions for growing cacao, banana, cassava, rice, corn and fruit trees, as well as industrial crops such as African palm, sorghum, soybeans and sesame. Livestock is another important item in the department's economy.


Map of the Municipalities in Arauca Department

Arauca department consists of seven municipalities.

  1. Arauca
  2. Arauquita
  3. Cravo Norte
  4. Fortul
  5. Puerto Rondón
  6. Saravena
  7. Tame



  1. ^ "DANE". Retrieved February 13, 2013. 


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 7°05′N 70°45′W / 7.083°N 70.750°W / 7.083; -70.750