Cali (käˈlē) [key], city (1993 pop. 1,641,498), capital of Valle del Cauca dept., W Colombia, on the Cali River. It is an industrial and commercial center of the upper Cauca valley. Coffee, cotton, sugarcane, and soybeans are shipped through the city; and tires, tobacco products, textiles, paper, chemicals, and building materials are manufactured. Cali is also a tourist center. The city was founded in 1536, but its growth is relatively recent, with the population more than doubling in the 1950s. In the city are two universities and the headquarters of the Cauca valley development project, which is modeled after the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Cauca River has been drained for irrigation, hydroelectric power, and flood prevention. Cali's landmarks include an aqueduct and a cathedral. In the late 1980s and early 90s the city gained notoriety for the cocaine "cartel" based there.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.