Ibague is the capital of the department of Tolima in Colombia. It is situated 1,235 m above sea level, on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera Central between the Chipalo and Combeima rivers, tributaries of the Coello River. It is on the road from Armenia to Bogota, near the high mountain pass known as "La Linea" ("The Line") which connects the interandean valleys of Magdalena and Cauca rivers and, as a result, is an important commercial center and road transport hub. The fertile surrounding countryside produces coffee, cacao, tobacco, sugarcane, and rice. Ibague is widely regarded as the "Musical City of Colombia" due to its commitment for the improvement of musical education in the country and its rich schedule of musical events during the year.
Ibague was founded by Spaniard Andres Lopez de Galarza on October 14 1550 as "Villa de San Bonifacio de Ibague del Valle de las Lanzas" ("Town of Saint Boniface of Ibague of the Valley of the Spears") in the place where today is located the urban area of the neighbouring municipality of Cajamarca, which lies 42 Km to the west of the modern city of Ibague. Due to the frequent attacks by the indigenous Pijaos commanded by cacique Ibague, the city was founded once more in its current location on February 7 1551. From April to December 1854 Ibague was briefly the capital of the New Granada following a coup d'etat promoted by Jose Maria Melo, a general and politician coincidentally born in Chaparral, Tolima. In 1908, when the department of Tolima was created, Ibague became its capital. Tolima University was founded in 1945, and was raised to state university status in 1954.
The city is also the home of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ibague.
The total population of the municipality of Ibague (including urban and rural zones) is comprised by 498,401 inhabitants from which, 468,647 reside in the urban area.
Ibague is the birthplace of boxer Oscar Escandon and soprano Patricia Caicedo.
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