The Capital of the Mountain
Medellín became the capital of Antioquia on April 17, 1826 supplanting that honor to the Royal City of Santa Fe de Antioquia, the first urban center founded by the Spaniard Conquerors during the 16th Century. Located in a strategic valley, the Aburrá Valley, at midway between the two main rivers of Colombia, Magdalena and Cauca, the small village started to be a very important commercial center for the Region.
Pedro Justo Berrío, President of Antioquia. Picture from Luís Ángel Arango Virtual Library of Banco de la República: Bibliografía.
Being then the capital of the State of Antioquia during the so called United States of Colombia at the end of the 19th Century, the President of Antioquia, Pedro Justo Berrío, was the responsable of leading the Region to a way of progress and urbanism. Berrío is considered one of the most prominent governors and economics of the 19th Century in Colombia: he founded the Banco de Antioquia, developped big projects of infrastructure like the train, organized the education and put Antioquia at the top of progress. The civil wars of Colombia at the end of the 19th Century respected the Paisa Region and it allowed in part such progress. Througout the 20th Century, Medellín would pass from being a small city to grow in a thought plan of development. But the second half of the 20th Century would have for Medellín a big challenge: the growing of its population due to the coming of farmers fleeing from rural violence after 1949 and the appearence of mafias since the 70´s that gave titles to the city as the most violent of the world, the capital of drugs dealers and so on.
Picture from the site of WFIS.
“Sower of dreams, propigator of development and adventures, collector of human quality” is the ideal of the Colombian Scouting Association, the branch in the country of the World Federation of Independent Scouts. The branch has its quarters in the municipality of Itagüí, a city within the Metropolitan Area of Medellín. 2007 is also a key year in the history of the Scouting Movement. In 1907 the British General Baden Powell, held a camp on Brownsea Island with 20 boys to practice what he wrote in his book Aids to Scouting. That event became to the history of the Scouting Movement its corner stone. In 1996, Lawrie Dring, a British Scouter, founded an independent federation from the UK Scout Association seeking what they called somethin closer to the Baden Powell´s original program. Of that WFIS, Medellín, Colombia is the second seat of the traditional World Jamboree, an expression that probably was taken by General Baden Powel from Swahili, Hindi or American or Australian dialects. The most stated proposal is from Swahili (India) meaning hello, jambo. About it, General Baden Powel said in 1920: “People give different meanings for this world, but from this year on, jamboree will take a specific meaning. It will be associated to the largest gathering of youth that ever took place.“
The 2nd Jamboree of WFIS is taking place in the John Paul II Park of Medellín to commemorate 100 years of Brownsea Island camp. July 7-14 will see boy scouts from the five continents in one of the most fascinating cities of Colombia.
Picture from Prometeo “Inauguration with torchs”
The close down of the Jamboree on July 14 means the opening of another insolit event: the 17th International Poetry Festival of Medellín organized by the prestigious cultural magazine Prometeo. 80 poets from 55 countries will read their works in the streets and plazas of the South American city. The purpose of the International Poetry in Medellín is expressed in the words of Jorge Riechmann, cited by Prometeo:
“Poetry is also our indestructible memory of human dignity and love. There is only one way to test poetry: to live with it, to adhere to its breath, to let it penetrate in our inner world as well as in our despair, to dance and stroll and sleep with it on a bed of pine needles. We will then find out if we have lightly trusted in a volatile beauty or if, favorably for us, we have tied our future to our irreplaceable partner.”
- Revista Prometeo (English)
- Program of the 17th International Festival of Poetry of Medellín.
- Jóvenes de 12 países llegan al Jamboree de Medellín, Área Metro-Regional, El Colombiano, Medellín, 7 de julio de 2007.
- 2nd World Jamboree Colombia, WFIS.