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Santa Marta is the capital city of the Colombian department of Magdalena in the Caribbean Region. It was founded in July 29, 1525 by the Spanish conqueror Rodrigo de Bastidas, which makes it the oldest remaining city in Colombia. Located between the Santa Marta Mountains and the Caribbean Sea, the city is a popular tourist destination due to its history, colonial architecture, beaches and nearby nature reserves. Simon Bolivar died at an estate named Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino on the outskirts of Santa Marta on December 17, 1830. The city has been affected to some extent by the Colombian Armed Conflict. Prior to the Arrival of Spanish explorers, the area where Santa Marta lies was inhabited by Amerindians from the Tairona culture, and its subsequent families: Arhuacos and Koguis, among others. The city was founded on July 29, 1525 by Spanish conqueror Rodrigo de Bastidas, accompanied by some two hundred of his men and a few Amerindians. He named the city after the Catholic day for Saint Martha, which in Spain was celebrated with festivities. However, many historians argue that he named it after the Spanish city of Santa Marta de Astorgas, which he had visited. With its foundation, the Spanish colonization also started the conquering of lands from this region, and the set up of administrative functions for the colony, including a maritime port and the construction of defenses to prevent pirate raids.
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