Up in the highlands of Cundinamarca and Boyacá in the eastern range of the Andes that runs through Colombia from South to North, we can climb to elevations above 3,600 feet. Here, we find the largest, most populous and most diverse region of the country. In the sixteenth century during the Spanish conquest, colonizers founded settlements on indigenous territory. Little by little these lands were subdivided into plots owned by farming families who cultivated vegetables, fruit trees, medicinal herbs, corn, and especially potatoes both as cash crops and for local consumption.
Current highland residents combine agriculture with animal husbandry, grazing, and crafts—especially basket and hat-making, textiles, and pottery. The Highlands way of life forms part of a long history of interaction with the environment and is founded on extensive indigenous memory and tradition.