Bucaramanga is a municipality and capital city of the department of Santander, Colombia. Bucaramanga is Colombia's seventh-largest metropolitan area (2005 census: 553,046, metro pop. 979,040), and has rapidly grown much since the 1960s, mostly in the neighboring municipalities.
Bucaramanga is the major commercial center of northeastern Colombia, anchoring a regional network that extends to Cúcuta that borders the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the oil-producing center of Barrancabermeja. Local manufacturing, especially of textiles and shoes, has struggled in the face of legal and contraband imports in recent decades. The city is the base of the Colombian Petroleum Institute (ICP), the research branch of the state oil company Ecopetrol, and the Colombian Natural Gas Company (Ecogas).