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The Royal Botanical Expedition of the New Kingdom of Granada
Ruta Quetzal BBVA starts its 27th edition with a journey through Colombia and Spain
- The Ruta Quetzal BBVA 2012 will follow in the footsteps of José Celestino Mutis through Colombia and Spain
- The BBVA 2012 Quetzal route renews its compromise with the disability embassy
- In 2013, Ruta Quetzal BBVA commemorates the fifth centenary of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Núñez de Balboa
- The expedition will travel to the Cauca Valley on Tuesday and visit the Coffee Triangle, which has been a World Heritage Site since June 2011 due to its exceptional, universal nature. Afterwards the Ruta Quetzal will lead them north, to visit the National Park of Tayrona, before moving on to Santa Marta, Barranquilla and Cartagena de Indias
- During the trip, participants will tour some of the most important landmarks in Colombia, which were visited previously on the expedition organized by researcher, botanist and zoologist, José Celestino Mutis
- The 226 young expedition members from 51 countries will fly to Spain in July, where they will be received by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain. They will then visit Madrid, the Spanish navy's base at Rota, Malaga, Cartagena, Cadiz, San Fernando, Sanlucar and Seville
On the 27th edition of the Ruta Quetzal BBVA, the Royal Botanical Expedition of the new Kingdom of Granada, the young expedition members will go on a five week tour of some of the most important places in Colombia, which were visited previously on the expedition organized by José Celestino Mutis (1732-1808). Subsequently, the youngsters will travel to Spain, where they will be received by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain in Madrid, before continuing on to Rota to embark on the navy ship Galicia, with stops in Malaga, Cartagena, San Fernando, Cadiz, where they will celebrate the bicentennial of the 1812 Constitution, Sanlucar and Seville.
The cornerstone of the 27th edition of the Ruta Quetzal BBVA is the figure of researcher, botanist and zoologist, José Celestino Mutis, who led the Royal Botanical Expedition of the new Kingdom of Granada, which took place between 1783 and 1816. Illustrator and encyclopaedist, Mutis made significant advances in mining and knowledge about the fauna and flora of Colombia, as well as in the field of astronomy.
The 226 expedition members will arrive in Cali on 19 June, and will be in la Sultana del Valle, where they will visit the “El Paraíso” estate, made famous by the novel María, by writer Jorge Isaacs. They will also discover The Vortex, a work by José Eustasio Rivera, which depicts the “Arana” rubber plantation in the Amazon forest, and is considered a classic of Colombian literature. From there they will head to the Coffee Belt to visit Armenia, Salento and the Cocora Valley.
The expedition will then go to Ibague, the music capital of Colombia, and the region of Tolima before moving further north. They will camp at the “La Gaviota” estate, following the footsteps of the wise Señor Mutis and his trip to these lands with the Botanical Expedition over 200 years ago. They will also visit the heritage site of San Sebastian de Mariquita, the cinammon tree forest of Andaquíes, Villa de Guaduas, Falán, Ambalema, Beltrán and Honda, an important river port, and the centre of the coffee trade on the Magdalena River. Later, they will travel to the Magdalena river valley and take the Transversal de la Costa route, towards Aracataca, the birthplace of Gabriel García Márquez.
Then, on the Colombian Caribbean Coast, the youngsters will visit the city of Santa Marta and the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, the estate where Simon Bolívar lived out his final days. They will study the Sevillian Rodrigo de Bastidas, the founder of Santa Marta, who left from the bay of Cadiz in 1500 with Núñez de Balboa. They will also visit the city of Barranquilla, the Golden Gate of Colombia, where they will see the ambitious Canal de Isabel II project to provide drinking water to three million Colombians. They will also see the San Basilio de Palenque, declared a world heritage site in 2005, where Mutis discovered the black race that, according to him, "fills the African and Colombian forests".
In Cartagena de Indias, they will visit the cell of Saint Pedro Claver and remember the celebrated sailor Blas de Lezo who, one-armed, lame and blind in one eye, defeated the English Royal Navy.
The journey will end in Bogota, where they will visit its historic centre and, among other sites, the Gold Museum. The Navarran archbishop Martínez Compañón died in this city in 1797. From the Colombian capital they will depart for Spain to continue the second part of the expedition.
The Route in Spain
The expedition will arrive in Madrid on 10 July, where they will be received by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain in the Royal Palace of El Pardo. In the Spanish capital they will set up camp at Canal de Isabel II and from there visit the Royal Palace, the Prado Museum and the Royal Botanical Garden, home of a large part of José Celestino Mutis's legacy.
In Rota, the Ruta Quetzal BBVA will board the Spanish navy ship Galicia to Malaga, where they will hold a procession with a replica of the brig Galvestown, which played an important role in the independence of America, and was captained by Bernardo de Gálvez from Malaga. In Cartagena they will see some of the treasure recovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration from the frigate “Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes” as well as visit the recently opened Repsol oil refinery.
The expedition will then move on to Cadiz and San Fernando to discover the city that shaped the personality and thirst for knowledge of José Celestino Mutis, during a time of great intellectual activity. In Cadiz, they will study the historical context where the Spanish Constitution of 1812, “La Pepa” was forged, the bicentenary of which is being commemorated this year. Several American constitutional leaders participated in the creation of this constitution, which had a great deal of influence on both sides of the Atlantic.
Finally, the youngsters will travel to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where they will see the Medina Sidonia Archive. They will reboard the La Luna de Sevilla river boat on the Guadalquivir river to Torre del Oro, recalling the trip of Elcano, when they brought back cloves from the Island of Tidore (Moluccas), ending the first voyage around the world. The young expeditionists will go in procession to the chapel of Nuestra Señora de la Antigua in Seville cathedral, just as the great sailor did with the eighteen surviving mariners, candles in hand, on their return.
Afterwards, they will travel to Madrid from Seville. In the final days, participants in the XXVII edition will receive diplomas at the Closing Ceremony for the Academic Program, directed by the Complutense University of Madrid.
NOTE: An FTP has been created to download photographs of the 2012 expedition
For further information: official website http://www.rutaquetzalbbva.com and Twitter @RutaQuetzalBBVA and on FaceBook Ruta Quetzal Bbva.