1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Barranquilla

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BARRANQUILLA, a city and port of Colombia, South America, capital of a province of the same name in the department of Atlantico, on the left bank of the Magdalena river about 7 m. above its mouth and 18½ m. by rail from its seaport, Puerto Colombia. Pop. (est. 1902) 31,000. Owing to a dangerous bar at the mouth of the Magdalena the trade of the extensive territory tributary to that river, which is about 60% of that of the entire country, must pass in great part through Barranquilla and its seaport, making it the principal commercial centre of the republic. Savanilla was used as a seaport until about 1890, when shoals caused by drifting sands compelled a removal to Puerto Colombia, a short distance westward, where a steel pier, 4000 ft. in length, has been constructed to facilitate the handling of freight. The navigation of the Magdalena is carried on by means of light-draught steamboats which ascend to Yeguas, 14 m. below Honda, where goods are transhipped by rail to the latter place, and thence by pack animals to Bogotá, or by smaller boats to points farther up the river. Barranquilla was originally founded in 1629, but attracted no attention as a commercial centre until about the middle of the 19th century, when efforts were initiated to secure the trade passing through Cartagena. The city is built on a low plain, is regularly laid out, and has many fine warehouses, public buildings and residences, but its greater part, however, consists of mud-walled cabins supported by bamboo (guadua) framework and thatched with rushes. The water-supply is drawn from the Magdalena, and the city is provided with telephone, electric light and tram services. Owing to periodical inundations, the surrounding country is but little cultivated, and the greater part of the population, which is of the mixed type common to the lowlands of Columbia, is engaged in no settled productive occupation.