Tunja (tōnˈhä) [key], city (1993 pop. 101,622), capital of Boyacá dept., central Colombia, on the Pan-American Highway. It is a commercial center and distribution point for the products of the region (coal, gold, emeralds, mineral water, and agricultural products) and for the cattle of the eastern llanos. Tunja was founded in 1539. It declared its independence from Spain in 1811 and shortly thereafter served as Simón Bolívar's staging point for the victory at Boyacá. The city retains many colonial buildings. It has a university.