Neiva was founded by the Spanish near the lands of the Yalcón ethnic community in the early 17th century. Set by the Magdalena River in southern Colombia, it is largely part of a beautiful agricultural area, known for its fertile cotton, rice, corn, tobacco and sugarcane plantations. This region of Huila was a trading outpost during the height of river travel and commerce on the busy Magdalena River. Neiva is the inspiration behind the works of José Eustasio Rivera, the Colombian poet and novelist, for the active role it played in Colombia’s republican and colonial history of independence. Traditional events like the Festival of San Pedro continue to mark the social calendar of this laidback, slumbering part of the country. Neiva is also the gateway city for San Agustin.