Deeper into Jeopardy! XXXV: South American Capitals – $800

Jeopardy! category: SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITALS (8-1-2015)

$800 clue: It’s the Andean capital city shown here


Correct response

The gist: Those mountains are more than just Peru. The Andes in fact stretch pretty much all the way along the western coast of South America, from the tip of Chile north to, and even a little beyond, the Colombian capital of Bogotá. The region of Bogotá (properly Bogotá D.C., for “Distrito Capital”) is truly a mountain city, sitting at a lofty 2640 metres (over 8600 feet) above sea level.* Bogotá has probably been inhabited by indigenous Americans for around 2000 years, and by the 16th century it was the capital of the Muisca people. In 1536, conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada showed up in the area, trying, and failing, to find El Dorado. Instead, he turned his sights on the riches of the Muiscas. The capital fell in the summer of 1538, quickly followed by the rest of the kingdom, and Quesada founded the Spanish city on the site of the indigenous capital. The city was the capital of various colonial territories until Colombian independence was declared in 1810 and achieved in 1819, when Simon Bolivar became the country’s first president.

Bogotá today is a bustling city known not only for its tourism industry, but also for its many universities and cultural institutions, for which it is sometimes called the “Athens of South America” (including in one 1987 J! clue). While it was considered one of the worst cities in the world for violent crime as recently as the 1990s, it has made great strides forward in reducing the crime rate, recording the lowest homicide rate in 2012, at less than a quarter that of its height in 1993.

An aerial view of Bogotá with the Andes mountains in the background

The clue: Two elements to this one. First, do you know which country this is? You’ll know that it’s Colombia because it’s the only South American country that borders Central America (Panama, specifically). Second, do you know what Colombia’s capital is? You’ll know that because you’re on Jeopardy!, and you know all the world capitals if you’ve prepared properly. Neither element is at all complicated, but they’re put together to make a more interesting clue than just “what’s the capital of Colombia?”

In Jeopardy!: There’s 32 regular and a FJ! clue with “Bogota” in the J!Archive (no accents in there – keeps it simpler). 15 of the regular clues mention Colombia, naturally, and almost all of them allude somehow to its being the capital (and a few more to its being the country’s biggest city as well). Just three other clues mention the Andes, though. Two clues and the FJ! clue refer to its association with El Dorado. It’s also common in “miscellaneous” geography categories, like northernmost capitals (four clues) or southernmost (just one), “B” and “BO” categories, and even anagrams (TOBAGO and TO A BOG, if you’re curious). Colombia, of course, is what you need to know, but you should know that anyway.

*Making it just the third highest South American capital, behind Quito, Ecuador and La Paz, Bolivia.

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