There is archaeological evidence of human settlement in the Aburrá Valley from 10,500 years ago.In August 1541, Marshal Jorge Robledo was in the place known today as Heliconia when he saw in the distance what he thought was a valley. He sent Geronimo Luis Tejelo to explore the territory, and during the night of August 23 Tejelo reached the plain of what is now Medellin.

Medellín was founded in 1615 by the Spaniard Francisco Herrera Y Campuzano Saint Lawrence Town in what is known currently as El Poblado. In 1826 the city was named the capital of the Department of Antioquia by the Spanish colonial administration.

In 1803 the University of Antioquia, one of the most prestigious in Colombia, was founded. After Colombia won its independence from Spain, Medellín became the capital of the Federal State of Antioquia until 1888, with the proclamation of the Colombian Constitution of 1886. During the 19th century Medellín was a dynamic commercial center, first exporting gold, then producing and exporting coffee.

After the Thousand Days War (1899 — 1902), Medellín was the first Colombian city to take part in the Industrial Revolution with the opening of textile companies, and transport projects like railways that allowed its export business to develop, and the founding of several universities and vocational training institutions, which created a petite bourgeoisie.


At the beginning of the 21st century the city regained its former industrial dynamism, with the construction of the Metro de Medellín railway, and liberalized development policies, improved security, improved education, and promoted the city internationally as a tourist destination.

The Medellín Metropolitan Area is responsible for 67% of the Department of Antioquia’s GDP and for 11% of the economy of Colombia. Medellín is important to the region for its universities, academies, commerce, industry, science, health services, flower-growing, festivals and nightlife.

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