Antioquia is Colombia’s most populated state and one of the most important economic centers of the country.
The state has approximately 6.5 million inhabitants of which more than half live in the metropolitan area of the state capital Medellin.
Antioquia is Colombia’s second largest economy due to a long history of international economic activity due to its production of coffee and flowers, both among the country’s top export products.
The city of Medellin stimulated this economic development in the first half of the 20th century when converting itself to a major exporter of textiles.
Governor: Sergio Fajardo
Territory: 24,561 sq mi
Population density: 260/sq mi
GDP: $43.1 billion
Poverty level: 29.3%
GINI coefficient: 0.506
Archaeologists have found evidence that the region now called Antioquia was first inhabited by humans around 13,000BC in the northern region and 8,000BC in the mountainous south of the state.
The region traditionally was inhabited by tribes belonging to the Caribe and Chibcha peoples.
At the time of the Spanish conquest of Colombia in the 16th century, particularly the Chibcha people gained notoriety for their alleged homosexual and cannibal practices.
The Spanish explorer Rodrigo de Batistas was the first foreigner to set foot on the territory now called Antioquia.
The Spaniards used the northern Uraba region, bordering Panama, as base for their exploration and exploitation of the area’s riches. In Uraba, the state’s first city, Santa Maria la Antigua del Darien was founded in 1520. The conquerors later lost their interest in the city, which has since disappeared.
There are several explanations of how the Spaniards gave name to Antioquia; The most credible is that the name was derived from the ancient Turkish city of Antioch, now called Antakya, that played a mayor role in the Crusades that took place three centuries before Spain’s expansion to the western hemisphere..
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