The colonial city of Cartagena, on the north Caribbean coast of Colombia, is packed with history. Today, the old walled city remains (alongside the skyscraper-filled Bocagrande), as does the ancient fortresses, including the Spanish-built Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. But there’s plenty more to know about this storied Colombian destination. Here is a brief history of Cartagena.
The city of Cartagena was founded on 1 June 1533 by Spanish commander Pedro de Heredia, who took over an abandoned Amerindian Caribbean village known as Calamarí and started building a settlement of his own. The first Spanish settlers were sailors who arrived from Cartagena in Spain to start a new life; they established the town as Cartagena de Indias in reference to the Spanish counterpart.