The Spanish conquests on Colombian soil began in 1499 with permanent settlements by 1514. They first gained footholds on the coasts, with Santa Marta (1525) and then Cartagena (1533), before pushing into the interior. Rivers were used as quicker entry and exit points. The indigenous people formed a loose confederation of different rulers. Conquistadors were tasked by the Spanish and Portuguese Empires to conquer territory and open trade routes. The Magdalena River is the main artery of the Andean region and was used by these fortune-seeking soldiers to conquer the inland powers and establish what is now the capital of Colombia (Bogota... called Bacatá before that) as the capital of the Kingdom of Granada in 1538. Colombia declared independence in 1810. After the Napoleonic Wars, Ferdinand VII attempted to reclaim the areas but a fierce rebellion led to renewed independence in 1819.
The Magdalena River