Diocese in Colombia, erected in 1535, its first bishop being Alfonso do Tobes; suppressed by Paul IV in 1562; it was re-established by Gregory XIII -- 15 April, 1577, as suffragan of Santa Fe de Bogotá; it became suffragan of Cartagena in 1900, at which time it comprised the State of Magdalena and the territories of Sierra Nevada y Motilones and Goajira. In 1905 the north-eastern portion of the diocese was formed into the Vicariate Apostolic of Goajira. Magdalena was first visited. by Alonso de Ojeda in 1499. Santa Marta, the second town founded by the Spaniards in America, was established by Rodrigo de Bastidas 29 July, 1525; it was sacked in 1543 and again in 1555; while Sir Francis Drake reduced it to ashes in 1596. St. Louis Bertrand labored at Santa Marta for a time, and baptized 15,000 pagans there. The town is situated at the mouth of the Río Manzaneres, on the Gulf of Santa Marta, 46 miles north-east of Barranquilla, and contains about 6000 inhabitants, an episcopal palace, public college, and conciliar seminary. Simón Bolívar d. 17 Dec., 1830, at San Pedro, a few miles distant. A diocesan synod was held at Santa Marta in 1881. The present bishop, Mgr. Francisco Simón y Rodenas, O.F.M., was b. at Orihuela, 2 Oct., 1849; appointed as successor of Mgr. Caledon to the see, 11 June, 1904; and enthroned, 14 Nov. following. The diocese has an area of 20,400 square miles, and contains 8 deaneries, 42 parishes, 40 secular priests, 3 convents of the Presentation Sisters of Tours with 15 nuns, and about 100,000 inhabitants, practically all Catholics. The Sisters of Charity established a hospital and school at Santa Marta in 1883.
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