Barranquilla Special District , Industrial and Port of Barranquilla , is the capital of the Colombian department of Atlántico . It is located on the west bank of the Magdalena River 7.5 km from its mouth at the Caribbean Sea. In 1993 was organized constitutionally special district , industrial and port . It is one of the seaports and major river and assets of Colombia , and the main commercial , industrial, cultural and educational development of the Colombian Caribbean region .
The establishment of the city dates from the third decade of the seventeenth century , when the areas surrounding the Magdalena River began to populate about grants made by the Spanish Crown . During the time of Independence , Barranquilla distinguished by the support of its people to the cause of liberation , which caused him to be erected in town in 1813. In the second half of the nineteenth century acquires strategic and economic importance at the beginning of steam navigation on the Magdalena River , which allowed him to become the country's main export port until the first half of the twentieth century . Since the late nineteenth century until the 1930s , Barranquilla was the main entry point to Colombia of thousands of immigrants and advances such as aviation , radio and telephone, as well as several sports.
The population of Barranquilla is 1,206,946 people , making it the fourth most populous city after Bogotá , Medellín and Cali. The city is the core of the Metropolitan Area of Barranquilla , which also comprises the municipalities of Soledad , Galapa , Malambo and Puerto Colombia . The conglomerate is home to 1,897,989 people , and also occupies the fourth place among the country's conurbations . As a provincial capital, Ottawa is home to the Government of the Atlantic , Departmental Assembly and the High Court of the Atlantic, the highest judicial body of the department.
The city is home to one of the folk and cultural festivals of Colombia 's most important , the Carnival of Barranquilla , which was declared a National Cultural Heritage by the Congress of Colombia in 2001 and the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2003 . It was also chosen American Capital of Culture 2013