It is noted also as the birthplace of Caldas, the Colombian naturalist, and of Mosquera, the geographer.
Distrust in his policy, however, was excited by the publication of some of his private correspondence, in which he spoke favourably of a French protectorate, and the army which he sent under Flores to resist the encroachments of Mosquera, the president of New Granada, was completely routed.
It has a cathedral, rebuilt in 1814, and some 30 other churches, together with many old conventual buildings now used for secular purposes, their religious communities having been dissolved by Mosquera and their revenues devoted in great measure to education.
Their restoration was, however, soon effected; the constitution was reformed in 1843 education was fostered, and a treaty concluded with the English creditors of the republic. Further progress was made under General Tomas de Mosquera from 1845 to 1848; a large part of the domestic debt was cleared off, immigration was encouraged, and free trade permitted in gold and tobacco.
The Conservative party carried their candidate in 1857, Mariano Ospino, a lawyer by profession; but an insurrection broke out in 1859, which was fostered by the ex-president Mosquera, and finally took the form of a regular civil war.
Bogota was captured by the democrats in July 1861, and Mosquera assumed the chief power.
A congress at Bogota established a republic, with the name of the United States of Colombia, adopted a new federal constitution, and made Mosquera dictator.
He was assassinated, however, in 1862; and his successor, Leonardo Canal, came to terms with Mosquera at Cali.
The dictatorship was resigned into the hands of a convention (February 1863) at Rio Negro, in Antioquia; a provisional government was appointed, a constitution was drawn up, and Mosquera elected president till 1864.
The presidency of Manuel Murillo Toro (1864-1866) was disturbed by various rebellions, and even Mosquera, who next came to the helm, found matters in such a disorganized condition that he offered to retire.