Medellín (māħāyēnˈ) [key], city (1993 pop. 1,551,160), capital of Antioquia dept., W central Colombia. It is the country's chief manufacturing center. Textiles, steel, flowers, food products, automobiles, chemicals, and coffee are the principal products. Coal, gold, and silver are mined in the surrounding region. The city, which was founded in 1675, is located in a small intermontane valley at an altitude of c.5,000 ft (1,520 m). Until the development of transportation in the 19th cent., it was practically isolated; it has since developed into a transportation hub. Rich in cultural institutions, the city has three universities, several 17th-century churches, and a national mint. In the 1980s and early 90s, Medellín gained notoriety as the headquarters of the cocaine "cartel" that was the world's leading distributor of the illegal drug. Violent turf battles and reprisals became commonplace until the death of the organization's leader, Pablo Escobar.
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