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Founded in 1629, Barranquilla was a sleepy tropical town until the mid-19th century, when steamboats began navigating the river and railroads connecting it with other cities in the region were built. The port was enlarged in the 1920s, and the city gradually surpassed its old rival, Cartagena. Barranquilla’s carnivals attract many tourists. It has an international airport and many universities.

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