Cartagena, Colombia, the capital of Bolívar department. It lies on the shore of the Caribbean Sea, some 400 miles (640 km) north-northwest of Bogotá, the national capital. Cartagena is one of Colombia's leading ports and is an important center of manufacturing and commerce.
Cartagena is an old and picturesque city. Its chief attraction is the old walled section with adjoining massive fortifications, parts of which date back more than 400 years.
Cartagena was founded by Pedro de Heredia in 1533 and became a storage point for treasure awaiting shipment to Spain. For more than 200 years it was periodically attacked by pirates and by English and French buccaneers. The city declared its independence from Spain in 1811 and was set up as an independent republic; it was captured by Spanish forces in 1815 after a long, bloody siege. The Spanish were expelled in 1821, and the city became part of Colombia.