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- Santiago de Cali (Spanish pronunciation:Â [sanÃ‹ÂˆtjaÃ‰Â£o ÃƒÂ°e Ã‹Âˆkali]), simply referred to as Cali, is a city in western Colombia and the capital of the Valle del Cauca Department. With a population of 2.5Â million, Cali is the third largest city in the country, after BogotÃƒÂ¡ and MedellÃƒÂn. It has one of the fastest growing economies and infrastructure in the country because of its geographical location. The city was founded on 25 July 1536 by the Spanish conquistador SebastiÃƒÂ¡n de BelalcÃƒÂ¡zar. Cali is the shortened form of the official name of the city Santiago de Cali. The first part of the full name honours Saint James (Santiago in Spanish) whose feast day is celebrated on 25 July. The origin of the word "Cali" comes from the local native Indian tribe the "Calima" or "Calimas" descendants of the Chibcha tribe. Others believe that the word "Cali" has Quechua origin, and it was brought by the Yanaconas Indians that came from Quito serving SebastiÃƒÂ¡n de BelalcÃƒÂ¡zar. This theory is related to the fact that near Quito there is an indigenous town named Calacali.