Medellín (Spanish pronunciation: [meðeˈʝin]), officially the Municipio de Medellín (Spanish for Municipality of Medellín), is the second-largest city in Colombia and capital of Antioquia. It is in the Aburrá Valley, one of the most northerly of the Andes Mountains in South America. As of 2013, it has a population of 2.4 million. With its surrounding area, the metropolitan area of Medellín (área metropolitana de Medellín), which includes nine other cities, it is the second largest urban agglomeration in Colombia in terms of population and economy, with more than 3.5 million people.
Medellín was founded in 1616 by the Spaniard Francisco Herrera Campuzano as Poblado de San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence Town) in present-day El Poblado. In 1675 the queen consort Mariana of Austria created the Villa de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de Medellín (Town of Our Lady of Medellín).
In 1826 the city was named the capital of the Department of Antioquia by the National Congress of the young Republic of Greater Colombia (Gran Colombia), comprised by present day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama. After Colombia won its independence from Spain, Medellín became the capital of the Federal State of Antioquia until 1888, with the proclamation of the Colombian Constitution of 1886. During the 19th century, Medellín was a dynamic commercial center, first exporting gold, then producing and exporting coffee.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the city regained industrial dynamism, with the construction of the Medellín Metro commuter rail, and liberalized development policies, improved security, and improved education. Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute have lauded the city as a pioneer of a post-Washington consensus 'local development state' model of economic development. The city is promoted internationally as a tourist destination and is considered by the GaWC as sufficient to be a global city.
The Medellín Metropolitan Area produces 67% of the Department of Antioquia's GDP and 11% of the economy of Colombia. Medellín is important to the region for its universities, academies, commerce, industry, science, health services, flower-growing, festivals and nightlife.
In February 2013, Medellín was chosen as the most innovative city in the world due to its recent advances in politics, education, and social development. In the same year, Medellín was announced as the preferred corporate business destination in South America and won the Verónica Rudge Urbanism Award conferred by Harvard University to the Urban Development Enterprise, mainly due to the North-Western Integral Development Project in the city. In September 2013, the United Nations ratified Colombia's petition to host UN-Habitat's 7th World Urban Forum in Medellín, from April 5–11, 2014.
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