A brief history of Bogotá and Cundinamarca

The history of Bogotá goes back centuries – well before the arrival of Spanish Conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada to the Bogotá savannah from the northern city of Santa Marta in 1538.  The region was already an important centre of civilization for the pre-Hispanic tribes that inhabited the area.

Muiscan Heritage

During pre-Columbian times Muisca indians or ‘Chibchas’ ruled the area from modern day southern Bogotá through Cundinamarca and into Santander department. Here in particular, the Zipa people – a sub-division of the Muiscas who ruled the southern area of the altiplano – had a chiefdom used for times of flooding by the roots of the mountains. This chiefdom was called ‘Bacatà’, which means ‘end of fields’ in the Muisca tongue.

Spanish Rule

After Quesada defeated the Muiscas prior to reaching the savannah, he founded Bogotá on the 6th of August 1538. Since then, Bogotá (initially named ‘Santa Fe’ or ‘Holy Faith’ and eventually renamed in honour of ‘Bacata’) has been Colombia’s most important political, administrative and economic centre.

Bogotá Tours

Search through our information on the things to do in Bogotá to inspire you to create your own Bogotá tour.

Colombia Tours and Holidays

Visit our Colombia Tours and Holidays section to see the different holidays that we have to offer – all include Bogotá, its best sights and attractions.