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Boyaca Department

Departamento de Boyacá
Department of Colombia
Simón Bolívar square, Tunja
Flag of Boyaca Department
Flag
Coat of arms of Boyaca Department
Coat of arms
Location of Boyacá in Colombia
Location of Boyacá, in red, in Colombia
Country  Colombia
Capital Tunja
Municipalities 123
Area
 • Total 23,189 km2 (8,953 sq mi)
Population
 (2005)
 • Total 1,255,311
 • Density 54.1339/km2 (140.2062/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Boyacense
Time zone UTC-5 (UTC)
Postal code
15
ISO 3166 code CO-BOY
Website Gobernación de Boyacá

Boyacá is one of the 32 departments of Colombia. It is in the central northeastern part of the country, almost entirely within the mountains of the Eastern Cordillera to the border with Venezuela, although the western end of the department extends to the Magdalena River. Its capital is Tunja.

Boyacá is known as "The Land of Freedom" because in this region there were several battles that resulted in the independence of Colombia from Spain.

History

Puente Boyaca
The Puente de Boyacá is one of the most famous places in this department.

The territory of present-day Boyacá was inhabited, during the Pre-Columbian time, by Muisca indigenous peoples. They lived mainly by agriculture and mining gold and emeralds.

The first European to discover the area was the Spaniard Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. In 1539, Gonzalo Suárez Rendón, a Spanish colonist, founded the city of Tunja and other places. Tunja became one of the main political and economic centers for the Spanish during the "Viceroyalty of New Granada".

During the 19th century Boyaca was battleground of several important battles during the war of Independence; two of the most important were the "Battle of the Pantano de Vargas" (Vargas Swamp Battle) on 25 July 1819, and the "Battle of Boyacá" on 7 August 1819.

Geography

The Boyacá department is in the Andean region over the mountains of the Eastern Cordillera (the eastern section of the Andes in Colombia). It borders 8 departments: Santander and Norte de Santander to the north, Arauca and Casanare to the east, Cundinamarca and Meta to the south, and Caldas and Antioquia to the west. It also borders with Venezuela.

Boyacá has an area of 23,189 km2 (8,953 sq mi), most of it on a plateau. Its highest point is Ritacuba Blanco (6°29′40″N 72°17′47″W / 6.49444°N 72.29639°W / 6.49444; -72.29639 (Ritacuba Blanco)) in the Eastern Cordillera; it is 5,410 m (17,749 ft) high.

Many rivers start in this area; the most important are the Chicamocha and Arauca rivers, tributaries to other important rivers such as the Magdalena and Meta rivers.

Boyacá also has numerous lakes; the largest, and the largest in Colombia, is the Lake Tota with an area of 55 km2 (21 sq mi).

Climate

The area around Tunja, at an altitude of about 2,828 m (9,278 ft), is characterized by climates with few extremes of temperature and ample precipitation in all months. The Köppen climate classification type for the climate at Tunja is a "Marine West Coast Climate" and of the subtype "Cfb".

The average amount of precipitation for the year in Tunja is 645.2 mm (25.4 in). The month with the most precipitation on average is October with 86.4 mm (3.4 in) of precipitation. The month with the least precipitation on average is January with an average of 15.2 mm (0.6 in). There is an average of 179.0 days of precipitation, with the most precipitation occurring in May with 19.0 days and the least precipitation occurring in January with 6.0 days.

The average temperature for the year in Tunja is 13.2 °C (55.8 °F). The warmest month, on average, is March with an average temperature of 14.1 °C (57.4 °F). The coolest month on average is July, with an average temperature of 12.2 °C (54.0 °F).

Climate data for Tunja, Colombia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 19.1
(66.4)
19.3
(66.7)
19.2
(66.6)
18.4
(65.1)
17.3
(63.1)
16.4
(61.5)
16.0
(60.8)
16.5
(61.7)
17.3
(63.1)
17.9
(64.2)
18.2
(64.8)
18.4
(65.1)
17.83
(64.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) 13.2
(55.8)
13.7
(56.7)
14.1
(57.4)
14.1
(57.4)
13.5
(56.3)
12.8
(55)
12.2
(54)
12.3
(54.1)
12.8
(55)
13.3
(55.9)
13.6
(56.5)
13.1
(55.6)
13.23
(55.81)
Average low °C (°F) 7.2
(45)
8.1
(46.6)
9.0
(48.2)
9.7
(49.5)
9.7
(49.5)
9.1
(48.4)
8.4
(47.1)
8.2
(46.8)
8.2
(46.8)
8.7
(47.7)
9.0
(48.2)
7.8
(46)
8.59
(47.47)
Rainfall mm (inches) 16
(0.63)
29
(1.14)
55
(2.17)
77
(3.03)
84
(3.31)
58
(2.28)
46
(1.81)
42
(1.65)
54
(2.13)
85
(3.35)
69
(2.72)
31
(1.22)
646
(25.43)
Source: Weatherbase.com [1]

Provinces and Municipalities

There are 13 provinces and two special districts in the Boyacá Department, listed below with their 123 municipalities. The provincial capitals are in bold.

Mapa de Boyacá (subdivisiones)
Provinces of the Boyacá department

Demographics

The inhabitants of the Boyacá department are known, in Spanish, as Boyacense.

Boyacá had a population, in 2005, of 1,255,311, for a population density of 54.1 inhabitants/km2.

Population history in Boyacá

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The 10 municipalities with more inhabitants in the Boyacá department are:

City Population
(2005)
Province
Tunja 154,096 Centro
Sogamoso 117,094 Sugamuxi
Duitama 107,406 Tundama
Chiquinquirá 55,786 Occidente
Puerto Boyacá 50,301 Special Handling Zone
Paipa 27,766 Tundama
Moniquirá 21,852 Ricaurte
Samacá 17,614 Centro
Garagoa 16,520 Neira
Villa de Leyva 12,032 Ricaurte

Economy

Farming is an important activity; some crops grown here are sugarcane, coffee and cacao. Cattle raising is also important.

Mining is also an important activity, mainly of emerald and coal.

Places of interest

Some places of interest in the department are:

  • Monument to the Lancers (Spanish: Monumento a los Lanceros) a memorial for Vargas Swamp Battle. It is the largest monument in Colombia.
  • Villa de Leyva is a touristic colonial town and municipality. The town is at 37 kilometres (23 mi) west of the departmental capital Tunja.
  • Battleground of the Battle of Boyacá, to the south of Tunja.
  • Puente de Boyacá (in English: The Bridge of Boyacá) is a small bridge at 14 km (8.7 mi) to the west of Tunja. It commemorates the historic battle of 7 August 1819 known as the Battle of Boyacá.
  • Lake Tota, the largest lake of fresh water of the country.
  • Basílica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Chiquinquirá. Our Lady of the Rosary is the patron saint of Colombia.

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