|The Eastern Plains (The Orinoquia)
Arauca's name derives from Arawak, a native tribe that inhabited this land.
The Araucan territory was discovered by Jorge de Espira in 1536. Nicolas de Federman arrived a year later, to conquer the land. In 1628 the Spanish colonization started and it was extended up to the foundation of the Republic of Colombia.
Arauca was part of the province of Casanare, the departments of Cundinamarca and Boyacá, and part of the Notional Territories as Comisaría (1911) and Intendencia (1953). Arauca became a department in 1991.
At present, its population consists of about 275,000 people,
Its territory covers an area of 23,818 square kilometres. It is located in the eastern side of Colombia, to the north of the Colombian Orinoquia (also known as The Eastern Plains) and borders the departments of Vichada, Casanare and Boyacá, as well as the Republic of Venezuela.
Seventy-five per cent of the land is flat, but the eastern cordillera (mountain range) borders the western side of the territory where the Sierra Nevada of the Cocuy stands.
At the foot of the cordillera, the soil is fertile and ideal for breeding livestock.
Water is an important natural resource in Arauca, for there are many rivers such as the Arauca, Casanare, Tame and Tocoragua, among others. Oil fields in Caño Limón have increased Arauca's wealth in recent years.
It is a region with beautiful landscapes and it has one of the richest variety of birds in Colombia's east.
In this department, one finds El Cocuy Natural National Park, which is considered a flora and fauna sanctuary, and the International Bridge José Antonio Páez, a part of the region's historic and artistic heritage.
It was founded in 1785. It has been the capital city of the region since 1911. Most of the population is concentrated along the shore of the Arauca river. Their main occupation is raising livestock.
Arauca city is a port bordering Venezuela.
It is a vibrantly commercial place and home to 42,000 people.
Among the places of great interest, are the Simón Bolívar Park, the Malecón eco-turístico , Las Toninas Aguaparque Pool, the Brisas del Arauca tourist viewpoint, the Araucan Academy of History, the House of Culture and Fine Arts, the Raúl Loyo Rojas Library, the Libertadores forum and the José Antonio Páez bridge, among many others. There are four protected native populations: the Matecamdela, the San José de Lipa and the Vorágine.