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Cauca River

Cauca River

Cauca River, Colombia's second longest river. The Cauca flows northward some 838 miles from its origin south of Popayán to its entrance into the Magdalena River at Pinillos, in the department of Bolívar. The waterway is comprised by three zones. The first, which defines the rich agricultural area of the Cauca Valley, is readily navigable. From here, the river then descends into the largely impassable "Cauca Canyon" (a source of gold in the colonial period) through the departments of Caldas, Risaralda, and Antioquia until reaching the town of Valdivia. Its fertile second valley merges into a vast swamp before joining the Magdalena basin, the third zone, a desolated region until the development of a coffee-based economy in the early twentieth century.

During the colonial period, the upper valley's cattle haciendas and tobacco production supplemented the gold-mining activities of the region's economy, products augmented by sugar and coffee production in the late nineteenth century. The region around Cali contains one of Colombia's most diversified and dynamic economic centers.

See alsoMagdalena River .


David Bushnell, The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself (1993).

Additional Bibliography

Cubillos, Julio César. Arqueología del Valle del Río Cauca: Asentamientos prehispánicos en la suela plana del río Cauca. Bogotá: Banco de la República, 1984.

Galindo Díaz, Jorge Alberto. Arquitectura, industria y ciudad en el Valle del Cauca: Tipos y técnicas (1917–1945). Cali: Universidad del Valle, 2002.

Galindo Díaz, Jorge Alberto. Cruzando el Cauca: Pasos y puentes sobre el río Cauca en el departamento del Valle hasta la primera mitad del siglo XX. Cali: J.A. Galindo Díaz, 2003.

Navarrete, María Cristina. Inmigrantes de la India en el Valle del Río Cauca. Colombia: Gobernación del Valle del Cauca, 1996.

                                              David Sowell

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