Magdalena, a maritime state of Colombia, bounded N. by the Caribbean sea, E. by Venezuela, S. by the state of Santander, and W. by Bolivar; area, 26,950 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 85,-255. The face of the country is pretty equally diversified with mountain and valley; the E. chain of Colombia forms the boundary with Venezuela; and in the centre is the colossal Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, an insulated system visible from the sea, and commonly mistaken for the X. extremity of the Andes. The territory is watered by the Rio Magdalena and its tributaries, and the soil is fertile; but the climate is so oppressively hot that the waters of the rivers are continually lukewarm. Yellow fever is epidemic at most of the seaports, the principal of which is Santa Marta, on a fine bay of the same name; and children are subject to a number of acute diseases. Gold abounds in the province; and rice, cotton, coffee, sugar, tobacco, cacao, and the various tropical fruits are largely produced.
Magdalena, a river of Colombia, rising in the Andes a short distance E. of the source of the Cauca, in lat. 2° N., and flowing almost parallel with the latter to about 9° 20', where they unite at the town of Nechi. From this point the Magdalena holds a course due N., and falls into the Caribbean sea at Sabanilla, its whole length being about 850 m. In lat. 9° 57' N. a branch separates from the main stream and falls into the sea in lat. 10°, 100 m. S. W. of Sabanilla, thus forming a delta or island of 3,000 sq. m. The bed of the Magdalena lies some 1,750 ft. lower than that of the Cauca, and consequently its stream is less impetuous. Navigation by steamers is uninterrupted to Honda (where the cataracts commence), which is reached from the sea in about 35 days, while the down trip is usually accomplished in seven days. Beyond Honda, as far as Neiva, balsas and champones alone are used, and the principal carrying trade on the whole river was until recently done by these craft. Caymans abound, rendering the navigation dangerous; and myriads of mosquitoes and other noxious insects render it at all times disagreeable.
The chief towns on the Magdalena are Neiva, Honda, Tenerife, Barranquilla, and Sabanilla; and besides the Cauca, it receives the waters of the Sogamoso, Sesar, and Bogota.