The first people to arrive in Montenegro in the modern era were treasure hunters (Spanish: guaqueros), attracted by reports of gold artefacts in indigenous burial sites in the area. In the 1880s more than 1,500 people arrived from as far away as Antioquia in search of treasure. One of the earliest settlers was María Antonia "Toñíta" Granada, a widow originally from Pácora, Caldas. In 1884 she built a house in what is now the center of the township, close to the River Roble. She became the first woman registered as a founder of a town in Quindío.
Miguel Duque Betancourt bought the land for the township for a price of 300 pesos, from Agapito Herrera, the municipal judge in Salento. Along with his parents, Duque had arrived in the area from Salamina, Caldas. They settled in what would later become the vereda La Esmeralda.
Although he was only 25 years old, Duque became the president of the municipal council, which met for the first time on October 17, 1890. This date is now considered the foundation date for Montenegro. Seven years later, on September 10, 1897, Montenegro was recognized as a town (corregimiento) of the municipality of Filandia. It became a separate municipality on April 6, 1911.
Read more about this topic: Montenegro, Quindío
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