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Mahates is a river town and municipality located in the Bolivar Department, northern Colombia. The town of Mahates was founded on April 17, 1533 by Spanish conquistador Pedro de Heredia.

The municipality of Mahates also covers the village of Palenque de San Basilio, inhabited mainly by Afro-Colombians which are direct descendants of African slaves brought by the Spanish during the Colonization of the Americas and have preserved their ancestral traditions. In 2005 the Palenque de San Basilio village was proclaimed Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.


The town of Mahates was founded in 1533 by Pedro de Heredia after founding Cartagena de Indias. In 1538 is given in encomienda to his son, Antonio de Heredia who transfer the property to Luis Pelo de Aguila who finally erected the parish. Due to its rapid increase on population Mahates quickly became a village and political chiefdom of the municipality and First Instance Court until the end of the 19th Century.

In 1650 the Canal del Dique was built and Mahates became an obligued pass for commercial routes passing by the area. Through the history of Colombia Mahates has been a division, named as Partition, Canton, Province, District of Province and Municipality.

In 1860 two thirds of the village of Mahates were destroyed by a fire when Mahates was part of the Sovereign State of Bolivar, Granadine Confederation and capital of the Province of Mahates, which also included today's municipalities of Calamar and Arjona, then districts.

In 1865 the Province of Mahates is demoted to a lower terrotorial category, also losing territory. With the construction of the railway between Cartagena de Indias and Calamar in 1894 the transportation of commercial goods over the river lost importance and Mahates became less strategically important. Later, with the construction of the highway set to pass through the town of Mahates is then deviated 10 km away from the town.


The municipality of Mahates is located in the northern part of the Bolivar Department, bordering with the municipalities of Calamar and Arroyo Hondo to the east, the municipality of Soplaviento to the northeast, San Estanislao to the north, Arjona to the west, Maria La Baja to the southwest and the municipality of San Juan Nepomuceno covering a total of 466 km.


Ethnic composition

The population in the municipality of Mahates is mostly mestiza, produced by Afro-Colombians, Whites and indigenous people. In the village of Palenque de San Basilio the totallity of its inhabitants are purely black and still preserve customs and language from their African ancestors.


Because the municipality has and agricultural economy, the majority of the population lives in the rural area (%62.39) the rest in the urban area (%37.61). In 1985 the population of the municipality totalled 18,831 people. In the 1993 general census, Mahates decreased its population to 18,412 people.


The municipality of Mahates is governed by a popularly elected Mayor and represents the maximum authority of the executive branch of power in the municipality. The mayor is a direct representative of the Governor of Bolivar Department for the municipality. The legislative branch is represented by a popularly elected Municipal Council. The judicial branch is represented by sectional courts, judges and attorneys.

The Major of Mahates's main functions include:

Abide and make abide by the Colombian Constitution of 1991, the law, decrees by the government, ordenances and accords with the municipal council.

Preserve the public order in accordance with laws and instructions ordered by the President of Colombia.

Suppress or fusion municipality entities and dependencies in accordance with respective needs.

Administrative divisions

Town of Mahates Neighborhoods

12th of October

16th of May

August 7th


El Campo

El Puente

La Concepcion

La Guayana

La Loma

La Vera

Remanso de Paz







San Basilio de Palenque

San Joaquin


Cruz del Vizo

La Manga





Todo Sonrisa

External links

Mahates official website

Mahates municipality official website

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

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