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Cartagena has played a major part in Colombia’s history, protecting the country from a number of invasions, as well as battling pirates who desired the city’s treasure and riches.

The city was founded on the 1st June 1533, by Spanish Commander Pedro de Heredia, who took over an abandoned Amerindian Caribbean village known as Calamarí and started building a settlement of his own. The first Spanish settlers were sailors who had arrived from Cartagena, Spain to start a new life; they established the town as Cartagena de Indias in reference to its Spanish counterpart.


At this time there were about 200 inhabitants and a church. In 1552 a fatal fire flattened all the wooden buildings, after which the governor ordered all the replacements to be made from stone.


Treasures were discovered in the tombs of the Sinus Amerindian tribe, who buried their dead with all their riches, this led the city to prosper.