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Buenaventura (bwāˌnävāntōˈrä) [key], city (1993 pop. 194,727), W Colombia, a port on the Pacific Ocean. The city, located on Cascajal Island in Buenaventura Bay, is the shipping point for the coffee, cotton, and sugar of the Cauca valley. Platinum, gold, hides, and shrimp are also exported. The original settlement was founded in 1545 and was burned by natives at the end of the 16th cent.; a majority of the population is of African descent. Buenaventura's importance as a port came with the opening of the Panama Canal and with the improvement of communications inland in the 1930s. In the early 21st cent. its coastal location made it a transit point for the illegal drug trade and, as a result, the scene of much drug-related violence.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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