Before the arrival of Europeans, the South American continent was inhabited by a number of indigenous groups. Due to a combination of tropical weather, significant rainfall, and the destruction and misrepresentation of many records by Spanish conquistadors, our understanding of the peoples of this region is limited.
The Tairona formed mid- to large-size population centers, consisting of stone pathways, terraces, protected waterways, and spaces dedicated to agricultural produce. Their economy was primarily agricultural, cultivating corn, pineapple, yucca, and other local foodstuffs. The Tayrona are considered quite advanced for their time period. Surviving archaeological sites consisted of formed terraces and small scale underground stone channels. They also were known to actively collect and process salt, which was a significant trading commodity. We know that they traded with other indigenous groups along the coast and interior. Archaeological excavations have recovered significant works in pottery, stonework and gold.
Santa Marta’s flag consists of two colors: white and blue. White symbolises peace, in that all are united without restriction. Blue symbolises the sky, the sea, the magic found in the horizon, and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains.
Santa Marta is located on Santa Marta Bay of the Caribbean Sea in the province of Magdalena. It is 992 km from Bogotá and 93 km from Barranquilla. It is bordered to the north and west by the Caribbean and to the south by the municipalities of Aracataca and Ciénaga.
Santa Marta's economy is based on tourism, trade, port activities, fishing and agriculture, in that order. The main agricultural products are: bananas, coffee, cocoa and cassava.
Santa Marta is a major port. Simon Bolivar International Airport (IATA: SMR ) is 16 km (10 mi) from the city centre. It should be noted that historic figure Simon Bolivar died here, a significant event for South America as a whole. His villa known as La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino is located just outside the city centre. As the main city centre is located close to the coast, the city itself has had difficulty controlling expansion. Although, technically a separate locality, Rodadero is often considered part of Santa Marta itself.
Santa Marta has one sister city: Miami Beach, Florida.