Medellín , A city northwest of Bogotá was founded in 1675. It is a coffee market in a mining region and is the third largest city in the country, after Bogotá and Cali. The metropolitan area of Medellín lies within the Aburrá valley at an altitude of 1,538 meters and is bisected by the Medellín river which flows northward. North of the valley are the towns of Bello, Copacabana, Girardota and Barbosa. To the south of the valley Itagüí, Envigado, Sabaneta, La Estrella and Caldas can be found.
Through history Medellín has gone by different names: Aburrá de los Yamesíes, San Lorenzo de Aburrá, San Lorenzo de Aná, Valle de San Bartolomé, Villa de la Candelaria de Medellín and Medellín. The name of Medellín originally came from "Metellium", the ancient Latin name for today's town of Medellín, Extremadura in the province of Badajoz, Spain. "Metellium", in turn, is derived from the name of the Roman founder of the city in 75 AD, Cecilio Metello.
The capital of Antioquia was named after said Spanish town in honor of the earl of that city, Pedro Portocarrero, who was the president of the Consejo de Indias of Spain at the time.
Colombian large urban centers, Medellín remained quite small until recent times, namely the postwar period up until the 1970s, when it developed into the nation's industrial powerhouse and attracted many rural people seeking work or safety from political and social turmoil.
In the 1980s it gained notoriety as the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar's base of operations; the presence of Escobar's cartel brought a wave of major violence stemming from intercartel rivalries and intimidation; the city's international reputation suffered horribly as a result and it was known mainly for its seemingly uncontrollable crime rate and drug trade.
Following Escobar's assassination in 1993, the violence had decreased slightly though it has positively plummeted in just the last 3 years, and the city is currently enjoying a period of relative prosperity, despite the high unemployment rates and the increasing problem of people from rural areas who arrive fleeing the ongoing war among guerrillas, paramilitaries and the regular army. Medellín has without doubt the highest ever recorded homicide rates of any city outside a war zone.
Besides being the industrial capital of Colombia, Medellín is usually called Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera (The City of Everlasting Spring), Capital de la Montaña (Mountain's Capital), Ciudad de las Flores (City Of The Flowers), Capital de las Orquídeas (Orchids' Capital), La Bella Villa (Beautiful Village), Tacita de Plata (Little Silver Cup), "Medallo"
Medellín is also home of many universities that serve mainly the province of Antioquia. Among the most important are the public universities Universidad de Antioquia and Universidad Nacional, and the private Universidad EAFIT, Universidad de Medellín, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Escuela de Ingenieria de Antioquia and CES.
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