Monday, September 28, 2009
The Pacific Coast -- La Costa Pacífica
The Pacific Coast of Colombia is considered to be one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. In fact, the area contains one fifth of the diverse plant species known in Colombia. There are also many different kinds of animal species, including mammals, birds, fish, and amphibians. The major departments located on the Pacific coast are : Chocó (capital Quibdó), Valle de Cauca (main Coastal city = Buenaventura), Cauca (main Coastal City = Guapí), and Nariño (main Coastal city = Tumaco).
The city of Lloro (which happens to mean 'cries'), Colombia, is the wettest zones on the planet, receiving 542 about inches or 13,300 millimeters of rain each year.
In spite of being rich in natural resources (water, minerals, forests, and plants and animals), it is typically considered to be the poorest part of Colombia.
The majority of the population are the descendants of African slaves who had been brought to the region to work as miners. This brings me to an interesting historical note. In 1728, a slave named Barule, together with his 2 brothers Antonio and Mateo, fostered an insurrection among the salves in the region of Chocó. They won their freedom and established a PALENQUE (an independent city for ex-slaves) that they called Tadó. Barule was declared king over the new city kingdom. However, the kingdom did not last long. A few months after its establishment. Soldiers were sent to quell the rebellion and Barule and his brothers were executed.
Once slavery was abolished, the slaves were left to the coast. There were few attempts at providing education for them -- and today the Pacific region has the lowest rates of literacy in the country. Even today, there is a feeling among many Colombians from the Pacific coast that they are a forgotten part of Colombia.
Evey year a few fortunate families go to Quibdó to receive their child. And others receive children in Cali that were originally from Buenaventura, or in Pasto with the child being from Tumaco. The majority of these children have roots in the Afro-Indigenous peoples of the coast. This week I will be posting more about this area, their dances, their fiestas and even a recipe.