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Cesar Department


Department of Cesar or simply Cesar is a department of Colombia located in the north of the country in the Caribbean region, bordering to the north with the Department of La Guajira, to the west with the Department of Magdalena and Department of Bolivar, to the south with Department of Santander, to the west with the Department of North Santander, and to the east with the country of Venezuela (State of Zulia). The department capital city is Valledupar.

The region was first inhabited by indigenous peoples known as Euparies in the Valley of Upar and Guatapuries in the Valley of the Cesar river, among these were the Orejones pertaining to the Tupe, Acanayutos pertaining to the Motilones and Alcoholados pertaining to the Chimilas. The first European to explore the area was Spanish Captain Pedro de Vadillo, but German Ambrosio Alfinger savagely conquered the region in 1532. In 1550 the village of Valle de Upar was founded by Hernando de Santana and Juan de Castellanos.

In 1813, Maria de la Concepcion Loperena proclaimed the independence of Valledupar and donated 300 horses to Simon Bolivar. In 1829 Valledupar became a Canton of the Province of Santa Marta. By Law 15 of 1850, Valledupar was segregated from Santa Marta becoming the Province of Valledupar. In 1857 became a province of the State of Magdalena and by Law of December 29, 1864 became the Department of Valledupar pertaining to State of Magdalena. On December 27, 1967 the Department of Cesar was created officially.

Etymology

The "Cesar" name is an adaptation from the Chimila indigenous word Chet-tzar or Zazare into the Spanish language which means "calm water", in reference to the Cesar River. The valley that its basin covers is also named after the river and extends through most of the department. The Department of Cesar was created in 1967 by decree and the name officially adopted.

Geography

The Department of Cesar is located in northern Colombia bordering to the north with the Department of La Guajira, to the east with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, to the west with the Department of Magdalena, to the southwest with the Department of Bolivar and to the south with the departments of North Santander and Santander covering a total area of 22.905 km.

The majority of the Department is flat in 57% of the total area and 43% mountainous mainly in the Serrania del Perija and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain ranges.

Ecoregions

The Department of Cesar contains five Ecoregions; the Serrania del Perija mountain range, the valley of the Cesar River, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, the valley of the Magdalena River and the Cienaga de Zapatosa marshes complex.

Serrania del Perija mountain range

The Serrania del Perija mountain range covers most of the eastern side of the Department of Cesar between its border with Venezuela and the Department of North Santander, approximately 300 km in length penetrating into the Department of La Guajira to the north and covering 27% of the total area of Cesar. The Serrania del Perija covers, partially or totally the area of 17 municipalities in the Department of Cesar; Aguachica, Codazzi, Becerril, Chimichagua, Chiriguana, Curumani, Gonzalez, La Gloria, La Jagua de Ibirico, Los Robles La Paz, Manaure, Pailitas, Pelaya, Rio de Oro, San Alberto, San Diego and San Martin. There are also the indigenous reserves pertaining to the Yukpas people; Iroka, Socorpa and Menkue-Misaya-La Pista; and to the Wiwas people; Cano Padilla, El Rosario-Bella Vista-Yucatan and Campoalegre.

Approximately 70% of the mountain range preserves unique flora and fauna and some 20 rivers are born in the mountain range among other minor streams, flowing into the Department of Cesar and feeding the Magdalena and Cesar river basins and the Cienaga de Zapatosa marshes. The Colombian government declared it a National Forest Reserve.

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range

The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range is an isolated mountain range located in the northwestern region of the Department of Cesar. The mountain range is shared with by Department of La Guajira, which covers the northern area, the Department of Magdalena to the western side and the Department of Cesar which covers the southern face, covering a total area of 16,615 km of which 380,000 ha pertain to the Department of Cesar. The Cesar River and the western side of its basin is born on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, including the Guatapuri, Badillo, Ariguani, Cesarito, Los Clavos, Garupal and Rio Seco rivers. The mountains are within the boundaries of the municipalities of Pueblo Bello, Valledupar, El Copey and Bosconia.

The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta was declared by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve on October 29, 1993.

Valley of the Cesar river

Valley of the Magdalena river

Cienaga de Zapatosa marshes

Climate

Climate in the Department of Cesar presents variations in climate depending on altitude, as well as rainfall precipitations. Mountain climate in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Serrania del Perija cools downs the higher the altitude reachin freezing low temperatures at the snowy peaks and the region has two rainy seasons and two dry seasons, averaging a temperature through out the year of 28C. Lower lands present a warm and dry climate, annual precipitations are less than 1,300 mm a year. The mountainous regions are characterized by low temperatures with snow at high altitude peaks and precipitations ranging more than 2,000 mm a year.

History

Pre-Columbian

The region was first inhabited by indigenous peoples known as Euparies in the Valley of Upar and Guatapuries in the Valley of the Cesar river, among these were the Orejones pertaining to the Tupe, Acanayutos pertaining to the Motilones and Alcoholados pertaining to the Chimilas.

Spanish chronicles describe the tribes as being part of a federation of tribes led by Caciques, with the village of Eupari as the largest and central to the other villages. These tribes are believed to be related to the Mesoamerican culture, the Caribs and Arawaks, directly associated to the Muisca culture in the Colombian eastern branch of the Andes.

Archeological findings has shown that the indigenous in the area worked with stones and wood, including a boomerang shaped weapon found in a cemetery at Los Robles La Paz.

Spanish conquest and colonization

The first European to explore the area was Spanish Captain Pedro de Vadillo, but German Ambrosio Alfinger savagely conquered the region in 1531. In 1550 the village of Valle de Upar was founded by Hernando de Santana and Juan de Castellanos.

Republican era

In 1813, Maria de la Concepcion Loperena proclaimed the independence of Valledupar and donated 300 horses to Simon Bolivar. In 1829 Valledupar became a Canton of the Province of Santa Marta. By Law 15 of 1850, Valledupar was segregated frim Santa Marta becoming the Province of Valledupar. In 1857 became a province of the State of Magdalena and by Law of December 29, 1864 became the Department of Valledupar pertaining to State of Magdalena. On December 27, 1967 the Department of Cesar was created officially.

Politics

Government and Politics

Governors

Department Assembly

Administrative Divisions

Municipalities

The Department of Cesar is formed by 25 municipalities, some 171 corregimientos, 990 veredas and 10 indigenous reserves. For administrative reasons the Department of Cesar is subdivided into 4 strategic regions; the Northern Subregion covering the municipalties of Valledupar, Codazzi, Pueblo Bello, La Paz, Manaure and San Diego. The Northwestern Subregion covering the municipalities of Bosconia, El Copey, El Paso and Astrea. The Central Subregion covering the municipalities of Curumani, Becerril, Chiriguana, La Jagua de Ibirico, Chimichagua, Tamalameque and Pailitas; and the Southern Subregion covering the municipalities of Aguachica, Gamarra, Gonzalez, La Gloria, Pelaya, Rio de Oro, San Alberto and San Martin.

Economy

The economy of the Cesar Department is sustained by the agricultural sector, secondly by a services industry following with commercial industry and mining. Cattle raising is exploited extensively (using large farms), and for this reason large portions of forests have been chopped off to create corrals. In agriculture, plantations of cotton, rice, sugar cane, oil palm, cassava and plantain. Services are centered on commerce and the industry is represented by oil products, fats and milk derived products. As one of the biggest water resources areas of Colombia, if not America, part of the Magdalena River crosses the Department and helps create the Cienaga de Zapatosa (Zapatosa Marsh) along with the Cesar river. It has a great potential to develop a fishing industry also, but it is practiced at a minimum. Most of the territory has not been explored in the search of more minerals due to violence, but because of recent findings, it became a potential source. [*]

External links

Cesar 30 Anos de Progreso - Gobernacion del Cesar (1997) booklet

Cesar Department official website

INGEOMINAS: Geography of the Department of Cesar

Poverty in the Department of Cesar

Forced displacement in the Department of Cesar

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Cesar Department


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