Salento is a municipality in the northeastern part of the department of Quindio, Colombia. It was the first settlement in Quindio of the modern era, and the first municipality founded in the department. Salento is located 24 km northeast of the departmental capital Armenia.
In 2005 it had an estimated population of 9,400, of which 4,100 live in the main urban zone.
Salento is located in the northeastern corner of the department. It borders the departments of Risaralda (to the north) and Tolima (to the east).
In the colonial era, the main route from Popayan to Bogota travelled over the Quindio Pass, going through the current-day site of Salento. In 1830, Simon Bolivar travelled the route and, for its poor condition and strategic importance, ordered that it be upgraded. However, work did not start until 1842 after the Guerra de los Supremos. Political prisoners from that war were sent from Panama, Antioquia and Cauca to upgrade and maintain the road. After completing their sentences they were given a block of land in the region.
The site of the penal colony was known as Barcinales, located where Salento is today. However, the main settlement was in Boquia, where the Boquia Stream joins the Quindio River. Families of the prisoners arrived and built their houses in Boquia and developed farms upstream along the Quindio River in the Cocora valley.
Sometime around 1854 a flood of the Quindio River destroyed the settlement of Boquia, and the survivors rebuilt their houses in Barcinales. They retained the name Boquia for the new settlement, changing the name of the original to Pueblo Viejo.
In 1864 a census showed that Boquia had 581 inhabitants. The occupational breakdown comprised: 148 farmers, 2 carpenters, 1 blacksmith, 11 doctors, 1 lawyer, 2 taylors, 4 laborers, 11 merchants and 11 watchmakers.
In 1865 Boquia was officially declared a municipality and its name was changed again to Villa de Nueva Salento. The name was given in memory of Salento, a region of Magna Grecia in the south of Italy. This year is considered the official foundation date.
Salento - Paraiso ecologico. Extensive general and tourist information about Salento (in Spanish).
Hosteria Las Nubes. One of the most beautiful places to stay during your visit to Salento, Quindio. Bead and breakfast hostel with excellent landscapes and services. Visit us at www.hosterialasnubes.com.
Loaiza Piedrahita, Oscar (2004), Los corredores del tiempo: Guia turistica por la historia del Quindio. ISBN 958-33-7088-6. Book in Spanish on the history of the municipalities of Quindio until the foundation of the department in 1966. The local history is placed in the context of wider events in Colombia.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Salento, Quindio