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Popayán(pōpäyän`), city (1993 pop. 169,423), alt. 5,500 ft (1,676 m), capital of Cauca dept., SW Colombia, on a volcanic terrace high above the Cauca River. It produces textiles and foodstuffs. Popayán was founded in 1536 by Sebastián de BenalcázarBenalcázar or Belalcázar, Sebastián de
, c.1479–1551, Spanish conquistador. After accompanying Columbus on his third voyage (1498), Benalcázar served in Darién and Nicaragua
..... Click the link for more information. and during colonial times was a wealthy and aristocratic trade center. After Colombia gained independence in the 19th cent., the city lost much of its commercial preeminence but remained a major cultural center. Points of interest include many fine examples of Spanish colonial architecture and a university founded in 1640.
a city in southwestern Colombia, in the Cauca River valley; situated on the Pan American Highway. Capital of Cauca Department. Population, 96,000 (1971). Popayán has railroad lines to Cali and the port of Buenaventura. A commercial center of a coffee-producing region, it has food and light industries. There is a university in the city. Popayán was founded in the 1530’s.