The Historic city of Santa Cruz de Mompox is an eminent example of a Spanish colonial city that served commercial and strategic role during the colonial days. The town is in a remarkable state of conservation and is thus a tourist magnet to the Republic of Colombia.
The city was founded in 1540 by the Governor of Cartagena, Juan de Santa Cruz. He gave the city his name. The history of the town is closely associated colonial processes of penetration and domination that allowed the Spanish Conquistadors conquer most of the Latin America and establish a communication and commerce machinery that would run from 17th century through the 19th century.
The town was established on the banks of River Magoarena neat its confluence with the Cauca River, another important communication waterway.
The town thrived along the banks of the river and fortifications were built around it to protect it against invaders. Instead of a singular square or plaza to host government meetings, it had 3 contiguous plazas, each having its own church and corresponding to an Indian settlement.
The town grew to become one of the most important logistical and commercial hubs due to its proximity to the port of Cartagena and presence of waterways.
The town owes its rapid development to the presence of an elite class of colonists who were granted land privileges and deprived the indigenous Indians their ancestral land by pushing them into small reservations. They then used these Indians to work in the farms, almost like slaves, thus generating a lot of wealth. The ruling class in the towns built convents and churches of Augustinians, Dominicans and Franciscans. From this point on, the city’s beautiful layout would largely be defined by the ecclesiastical architecture with a little fusion with the local indigenous architecture.
Points of Interest
Of course the town’s allure to tourist lies in the colonist houses along Calle de La Brada. As you explore this ancient street, make sure you get to enjoy some local culinary delights. The town is today more of a resort city with a lot of tourist activities going on…especially sailing and fishing.