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  • Day16

    Cartagena

    January 30 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Today we had a wonderful tour of Cartagena with our tour guide Fernando. I learned that the earliest people of Central and South America included the Incas around Peru, the Mayans and Aztecs around Central America, and the Muiscas around Bogota and the Taironas around Santa Marta, including some Indigenous people around the coastline and islands. Their main currency was salt, and when the Spanish arrived around 1500 they were very suprised that the people had so much gold but they didn’t value it as a commodity. When the Spanish realised they could trade salt for gold, they started to explore the country with lots of salt. They even believed there was a city made if gold called El Dorado!

    The Spanish wanted to send all the gold back to Spain, so they sent it to Cartagena to then be shipped out. With all the gold in one place it made it very easy for pirates to steal it, so they built a wall that made it easier to protect the city. One of the main sieges of Cartagena was by the English, led by Sir Francis Drake in 1586. We saw his house today - “Casa Drake”. It had huge lion door knockers (Lion knockers represented military houses, Sea animals (fish etc) represented Merchant houses and the Lizard knockers represented houses owned by royalty) and a big wooden door. Sir Francis Drake attacked Cartagena and captured it for England, but only for 2 months (weedy job I say) but took lots of gold before giving it back to the civilians.
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