Chocó Department

Last updated
Department of Chocó

Departamento del Chocó
Flag of Choco.svg
Escudo del Choco.svg
Coat of arms
Choco in Colombia (mainland).svg
Chocó shown in red
Choco Topographic 2.png
Topography of the department
Coordinates: 5°42′N76°40′W / 5.700°N 76.667°W / 5.700; -76.667 Coordinates: 5°42′N76°40′W / 5.700°N 76.667°W / 5.700; -76.667
CountryFlag of Colombia.svg  Colombia
Region Pacific Region
Established November 3, 1947
Capital Quibdó
   Governor Jhoany Carlos Alberto Palacios Mosquera(2016-2019)
  Total46,530 km2 (17,970 sq mi)
Area rank 9th
 (2018) [3]
  Rank 23rd
  Density11/km2 (30/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-05
ISO 3166 code CO-CHO
Municipalities 30
HDI (2017)0.673 [4]
medium · 30th

Chocó Department (Spanish pronunciation:  [tʃoˈko] , Spanish : Departamento del Chocó) is a department of Colombia known for its large Afro-Colombian population. It is in the west of the country, and is the only Colombian department to have coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. It contains all of Colombia's border with Panama. Its capital is Quibdó.


Chocó has a diverse geography, unique ecosystems and unexploited natural resources. However, its population has one of the lowest standards of living of all departments in Colombia. In March 2007, Colombian media reported that some 50 children starved in less than three months, creating awareness of the grave condition Chocó inhabitants are facing. Infrastructure problems were also revealed. For example, despite its status as the world's rainiest lowland, with close to 400 inches (10,000 mm) of annual precipitation, [5] Quibdó had not sanitary drinking water. [6]

Map of the Darien Gap and the break in the Pan-American Highway between Yaviza, Panama and Turbo, Colombia Darien Gap OSM.svg
Map of the Darién Gap and the break in the Pan-American Highway between Yaviza, Panama and Turbo, Colombia


The department was created in 1944. [6] Its low population, mountainous and inhospitable topography, and distance from Bogotá resulted in Chocó receiving little attention from the Colombian government. During the reign of military dictator Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, his administration proposed to eliminate Chocó and divide its territory between the departments of Antioquia and Valle del Cauca. But the 1957 coup d'état of General Gabriel París Gordillo overthrew Pinilla's government and ended such plans.


The Choco Department is covered mostly by the Baudo Mountains. Baudo-range-Colombia-USGS.gif
The Chocó Department is covered mostly by the Baudó Mountains.

The Chocó Department makes up most of the ecoregion known as El Chocó that extends from Panama to Ecuador.

The municipality of Lloró holds the Highest Average Annual Precipitation record measured at 523.6 inches (13,300 mm) which makes it the wettest place in the world. [7] Three large rivers drain the Chocó Department, the Atrato (which runs north, with tributaries that also flow north), the San Juan, and the Baudó. Each has many tributaries. The Baudó Mountains on the coast and the inland Cordillera Occidental are cut by low valleys, with an altitude less than 1,000 meters, that form most of the territory. Most of the Chocó is thick rainforest. Much of the wood for Colombia's internal consumption is harvested from the Chocó, with a small percentage harvested for export. Chocó Department produces the majority of Colombia's significant platinum output (28,359 ounces of platinum in 2011). Chocó is also Colombia's top gold-producing region (653,625 ounces in 2011). In the late 19th century, it attracted a variety of miners from many countries seeking to make their fortunes in gold.


Historical population
1973 203,635    
1985 313,567+54.0%
1993 406,199+29.5%
2005 440,123+8.4%
2018 534,826+21.5%
Source: [8]

Chocó is inhabited predominantly by Afro-Colombians, descendants of enslaved Africans imported and brought to this area by the Spanish colonizers after conquering the Americas. The second largest race/ethnic group are the Emberá, a Native American people. More than half of their total population in Colombia lives in Chocó, some 35,500. They practice hunting and artisan fishing and live near rivers. [9]

The total population as of 2005 was less than half a million, with more than half living in the Quibdó valley. According to a 2005 census [10] the ethnic composition of the department is:

Towns and municipalities

Quibdó is the largest city, with a population of almost 100,000. Other important cities and towns include Istmina, Condoto, Nóvita and El Carmen in the interior, Acandí on the Caribbean Coast, and Solano on the Pacific Coast.

Resorts include Capurganá on the Caribbean Coast, and Jurado, Nuquí, and Bahía Solano on the West Coast.


See also


  1. Meyer, Irina Marún; et al. (2012). Chocó: La dimensión territorial y el logro de los ODM (PDF). Fondo para el Logro de los Objetivos del Milenio, United Nations Development Programme. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2013-02-22.
  2. Kline, Harvey F. (2012). "Chocó, Department of". Historical Dictionary of Colombia. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p.  109. ISBN   978-0-8108-7813-6.
  3. "DANE". Archived from the original on November 13, 2009. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  4. "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  5. Parsons, James J. (November 1978), "Review of Slavery on the Spanish Frontier: The Colombian Chocó, 1680-1810 by William Frederick Sharp", The Hispanic American Historical Review, Duke University Press, 58 (4): 717–718, JSTOR   2513352
  6. 1 2 "¿Se debe acabar Chocó?". Semana (in Spanish). Bogotá: 31 March 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  7. NOAA Satellite and Information Service Global Measured Extremes of Temperature and Precipitation
  8. "Reloj de Población". DANE. Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadísitica. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  9. "86 tribus subsisten en Colombia". El País (in Spanish). Cali, Colombia: 23 March 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  10. "La visibilización estadística de los grupos étnicos colombianos" (PDF) (in Spanish).

Related Research Articles

Quibdó Municipality and town in Pacific Region, Colombia

Quibdó is the capital city of Chocó Department, in western Colombia, and is located on the Atrato River. The municipality of Quibdó has an area of 3,337.5 km² and a population of 129,237, predominately Afro Colombian and Zambo Colombians.

Atrato River river in Colombia

The Atrato River is a river of northwestern Colombia. It rises in the slopes of the Western Cordillera and flows almost due north to the Gulf of Urabá, where it forms a large, swampy delta. Its course crosses the Chocó Department, forming that department's border with neighboring Antioquia in two places. Its total length is about 650 km (400 mi), and it is navigable as far as Quibdó, the capital of the department.

Bojayá massacre 2002 Colombian massacre

The Bojayá massacre was a massacre that occurred on May 2, 2002 in the Colombian town of Bojayá in Chocó department. FARC guerrillas seized the town in an attempt to take control of the Atrato River region from AUC paramilitaries. They killed approximately 119 civilians in an apparently indiscriminate attack with an improvised homemade mortar assembled with gas cylinder parts.

Municipalities of Colombia municipalities of Colombia

The Municipalities of Colombia are decentralized subdivisions of the Republic of Colombia. Municipalities make up most of the departments of Colombia with 1,122 municipalities (municipios). Each one of them is led by a mayor (alcalde) elected by popular vote and represents the maximum executive government official at a municipality level under the mandate of the governor of their department which is a representative of all municipalities in the department; municipalities are grouped to form departments.

Serranía del Baudó mountain in Colombia

The Serranía del Baudó is a coastal mountain range on the Pacific coast of Colombia. It is separated from the West Andes by the Atrato valley where the Atrato River flows and Quibdó is located. From the south the range extends from the Baudó River north and slightly west along the coast into Panama terminating at the Golfo de San Miguel. The range is called Serranía del Sapo when it is in Panama. Technically the landform extends south of the Baudó River down to Malaga Bay, but the area has been eroded into low hills and marshlands.

Pacific/Chocó natural region region in Colombia

The Pacific/Chocó natural region is one of the five major natural regions of Colombia. Ecologically, this region belongs entirely to the Chocó Biogeographic Region and is considered a biodiversity hotspot. It also has areas with the highest rainfall in the world, with areas near Quibdo, Chocó reaching up to 13,000 mm (510 in) annually.

Acandí Municipality and town in Chocó Department, Colombia

Acandí is a town in Colombia at the northern end of the department of Chocó in northwest of Colombia, bordering the Caribbean Sea. It is 366 km (227 mi) from the provincial capital, Quibdó. Its average temperature is 28 degrees Celsius (82 °F). It was founded around the year 1887, and it became a municipality in 1905, previously being part of Turbo. The name "Acandí" is a corruption of the indigenous word "Acanti", which means "River of Stone".

Lloró Municipality and town in Chocó Department, Colombia

Lloró is a municipality and town in the Chocó Department, Colombia. It claims the second world record for highest average annual precipitation with 12,717 mm (501 in), after López de Micay, which holds an also disputed record with 12,892.4 mm (508 in). The official record is held by Mawsynram, India. The rainfall data was measured in its Agricultural Farm, managed by the University of Bogotá, between 1952 and 1989. If accurate, that would make it the wettest place in the world. The town is named for Gioró, a pre-Columbian indigenous chief.

Riosucio, Chocó Municipality and town in Chocó Department, Colombia

Riosucio is a municipality and town in the Department of Chocó, Colombia. The municipality and town are located in the Atrato River basin, on the Chocoan side of Urabá, a region spanning the departments Chocó and Antioquia.

Natural regions of Colombia

Because of its natural structure, Colombia can be divided into six very distinct natural regions. These consist of the Andean Region, covering the three branches of the Andes mountains found in Colombia; the Caribbean Region, covering the area adjacent to the Caribbean Sea; the Pacific Region adjacent to the Pacific Ocean; the Orinoquía Region, part of the Llanos plains mainly in the Orinoco river basin along the border with Venezuela; the Amazon Region, part of the Amazon rainforest; and finally the Insular Region, comprising the islands in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Colombia is located in South America.

ChocQuibTown band

ChocQuibTown is a Colombian hip-hop group. Although the band formed in Cali, the members are originally from the Colombian department of Chocó. The group consists of Carlos "Tostao" Valencia (rapping), his wife Gloria "Goyo" Martínez, and Gloria's brother Miguel "Slow" Martínez. The band's music draws influence from a wide variety of modern genres including hip-hop and more recently electronica, combined with traditional Colombian genres including salsa, Latin jazz, and Afro-Latin rhythms.

Nuquí Municipality and town in Chocó Department, Colombia

Nuquí is a municipality and town in the Chocó Department, Colombia. The municipality of Nuquí is located in the department of Chocó in the Western part of Colombia between the mountainous area of Baudó and the Pacific Ocean. Nuquí has a great cultural diversity as well as a big variety of flora and fauna. Nuquí has 8.096 inhabitants, 3095 of which live in the municipal capital. The majority of the population are Afro-Colombians, another part of the population is represented by members of indigenous tribes. Nuquí was founded as a municipality in 1915, before it was a sub-division of the municipality Valle, Chocó.

Cauca State

Cauca State was one of the states of Colombia.

Chocó-Darién moist forests A Choco- Darien moist forests

The Chocó-Darién moist forests (NT0115) is an ecoregion in the west of Colombia and east of Panama. The region has extremely high rainfall, and the forests hold great biodiversity. The northern and southern parts of the ecoregion have been considerably modified for ranching and farming, and there are threats from logging for paper pulp, uncontrolled gold mining, coca growing and industrialisation, but the central part of the ecoregion is relatively intact.

Gulf of Tribugá

The Gulf of Tribugá is a gulf on the Pacific coast of Colombia. It contains exuberant mangroves. The bay is a spawning ground for humpback whales. Tourist attractions include diving and watching whales and turtles. There are plans to build a major deep-water port at the village of Tribugá in the main river estuary.

Utría National Natural Park

The Utría National Natural Park is a national park in the Chocó Department, Colombia. It contains diverse flora and fauna in a lush, mountainous rainforest environment with some of the highest rainfall in the world, at up to 10,000 millimetres (390 in) annually. The park also protects the coastal marine environment, and is known for visits by humpback whales, who give birth in the lagoon after which the park is named, and sea turtles who nest on the beaches. There is accommodation for visitors, and ecotourism services are provided by the local indigenous people and members of the coastal Afro-Colombian communities.

Teresa Martínez de Varela Colombian educator and writer

Teresa Martínez de Varela was an Afro-Colombian teacher and writer. She was one of the first black women in Colombia to publish. Misunderstood, and often denied the ability to publish her works, the intellectual left many unpublished manuscripts at her death. For many years, she was known only as the mother of Jairo Varela, founder of Grupo Niche. Rediscovered in 2009, when Úrsula Mena de Lozano published her biography, some of her works were then collected in an anthology published by the Ministry of Culture in 2010. She is now regarded as one of the pioneering voices to bring African identity in Colombia into the literary landscape of the country and one of the primary intellectuals of her era.

Bahía Solano Fault

The Bahía Solano Fault, Utría Fault or Utría-Bahía Solano Fault is a westward dipping thrust fault in the department of Chocó on the Pacific Coast of Colombia. The fault has a total length of 290.6 kilometres (180.6 mi) and runs along an average north-south strike of 347 ± 13 from the Panama-Colombia border to Bajo Baudó. The fault is partly offshore in the bays of Solano and Utría and crosses the Chocó Basin and the coastal Serranía del Baudó. Movement of the fault produced the Mw 6.5 1970 Bahía Solano earthquake.

Unguía Fault

The Unguía Fault is an oblique dextral thrust fault in the department of Chocó in northwestern Colombia and continuing offshore Panama in the Caribbean Sea. The fault has a total length of 139.9 kilometres (86.9 mi) and is arcuate, running along a strike of 356.3 ± 30.

Caribbean Terrane

The Caribbean Terrane is one of the geological provinces (terranes) of Colombia. The terrane, dating to the Late Cretaceous, is situated on the North Andes Plate and borders the La Guajira, Chibcha and underlying Tahamí Terrane along the regional Bucaramanga-Santa Marta Fault. The terrane overlies the Tahamí, Arquía and Quebradagrande Terranes along the Romeral Fault System.