Caribbean region of Colombia
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The Caribbean region of Colombia or Caribbean coast region is in the north of Colombia and is mainly composed of 8 departments located contiguous to the Caribbean. The area covers a total land area of 132,288 km2 (51,077 sq mi), including the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina 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 residents according to the Colombian Census 2005.
The Caribbean region coast extends from the Gulf of Urabá to the Gulf of Venezuela. Straddling the coast are Colombia's two main Atlantic port cities of Barranquilla and Cartagena. The administration of the region is covered by 8 department governments: Atlántico, Bolívar, Cesar, Sucre, Córdoba, Magdalena, La Guajira and San Andrés and Providencia. These 8 departments also cover approximately 182 municipalities, 1093 corregimientos and 493 caserios according to the 2005 Census by DANE Colombia. Most of its inhabitants speak a dialect of Caribbean Spanish with variations within its subregions.
Eight departments form the Caribbean region:
Partial territory pertaining to:
- Antioquia Department: in the Gulf of Urabá most 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.
The predominant ethnic group in the region is the pardo, a mixture of European, mainly Spanish, the indigenous peoples and Afro-Colombian. During the 19th and 20th century, a wave of immigrants came from Europe and the Middle East a, mostly from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Italy, Germany and France. A second wave followed 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, Santa Cruz de Mompox, El Banco, etc. The two most populous indigenous ethnic groups are the wayuu in the Guajira Peninsula and the Arhuacos, Koguis and Arsarios. Black population is mostly concentrated near Cartagena predominantly in the town of San Basilio de Palenque, which was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO for preserving its African heritage.
According to DANE, the total population was 11'156.755 in 2018, if the Urabá Antioqueño region is included. The most populated city is Barranquilla, with 1'120.103 inhabitants. The initial projections for 2017 were closed to the actual behavior observed in 2018 census.
|#||Department||Projected population 2017||Capital|
|2||Bolívar||2,146,696||Cartagena de Indias|
|Caribbean region without Urabá Antioqueño||10,725,105|
|Department||2018 Census||2005 Census||Capital|
|Bolívar||1.909.460||1.836.640||Cartagena de Indias|
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 and Santa Marta along with San Andres and Providencia Islands.
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Known for its peacefulness and easygoing demeanour, the inhabitants from the region enjoy a warm climate and a clean and calm seaboard which is the main pillar of their identity. The men and women of the region are festive, easygoing and very peaceful, often choosing to ignore or refuse confrontation whilst keeping a healthy attitude of debate and passionate argumentation without violence. However, the region is known for giving the country its most prominent fighters and also for harbouring some communities which pursue human excellence through the academic and physical endeavours and undertakings. The inhabitants are also hard-working and the cities are very festive but also very committed to progress and development in several areas, particularly educational ones as the interest of the latest administrations has been to develop technology and science as a tool for increased productivity and sustenance as well as economical development and progress.
It has been always a basis of the culture the cultivation of intellectual traits and virtues. It is why taxicab drivers are known to be well-versed in many religious and/or philosophical themes and topics and why people can easily start conversations with strangers on a waiting line to debate topics that can range from politics to science, a particular point of interest to the city and especially to the last generations who are avid readers of scientific material which has propelled the social and cultural development through academia and intellectual activities. The city is known to many for this and it is said that "even the poorest man in the city is rich in wisdom in the country" for this cultural trait.
Like in the rest of Colombia, football is by far the most popular sport in the zone, with teams like Junior Barranquilla, Jaguares de Córdoba, Real Cartagena and Unión Magdalena competing in the first and second divisions of the country. The Caribbean region has been the home of successful football players, many of them world famous like Carlos Valderrama, Radamel Falcao and Carlos Bacca.
Unlike in rest of the country, but shared with Venezuela, baseball is an important sport in the region, although its popularity has been fading in the last few years. Nevertheless, the region has produced major league players like Édgar Rentería and Orlando Cabrera.
The region also is known for its love of combat sports. Boxing is a popular sport in certain zones and the region had produced many world champions, such as Antonio Cervantes, Rodrigo Valdéz, and Miguel "Happy" Lora.
Music and dance
The most popular local rhythms are the cumbia and vallenato however, there is a great musical influence from the rest of the Caribbean nations with Salsa, merengue, more recently reggaeton and many Afro-Caribbean rhythms. This influence also developed the Champeta which has similarities with reggaeton. Other genres include porro.
Myth and legend
The Caribbean region has a rich tradition of myths and legends that include La Llorona, El Hombre Caimán, La Ciguapa, the Vallenato Legend, La Madre Monte, El Simborcito, la Mojana Legend, El Lucio, etc. 
The most popular and known celebration in the Caribbean region is the Carnival of Barranquilla celebrated every year in February or March. The Miss Colombia Pageant in Cartagena, the Vallenato Legend Festival in Valledupar, Feast of the Sea in Santa Marta and the Corralejas Festivities in Sincelejo.
The typical food of the Caribbean region varies according to the geographical location in the sabanas the typical meal is the sancocho made with rabo (cow's tail) and accompanied with coconut rice. In the coast, the typical meal is fish, sometimes fried or sometimes cooked in coconut milk. A popular soup is also prepared with the head of the tarpon, yuca, plantain, coconut milk, 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).
- (in Spanish) MEMO: Natural Regions of Colombia Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine Memo.com.co Accessed 22 August 2007.
- "Observatorio del Caribe". www.ocaribe.org. Archived from the original on 13 August 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
- DANE (8 August 2019). "Censo Nacional de Población y Vivienda 2018 y desafíos socioeconómicos para la región Caribe" (PDF). DANE. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
- (in Spanish) Luis Angel Arango Library: Colombian Caribbean