Alpha, the magazine founded in Medellín in 1906, was known for its progressive perspective on intellectual matters. At the time, the population of the capital of Antioquia was under 60,000 people and the literacy rate was fifty-three percent?a significant improvement on the 1885 rate of thirty percent.
In a sense, Alpha followed in the steps of earlier magazines that published artistic illustrations, such as El Repertorio [The Repertoire] (1896–1897), El Montañés [The Highlander] (1897–1899), and Lectura y Arte [Reading and Art] (1903–1906). Alpha magazine was associated with the library owned by Carlos E. Restrepo—who later became president of Colombia—and was supported by a number of businessmen. Mariano Ospina Vásquez, Antonio José Cano, and Jorge de la Cruz were on the board of directors; Ricardo Olano was the manager for several years.
The magazine broke new ground by paying its contributors, which included Tomás Carrasquilla Naranjo (1858–1940), Saturnino Restrepo, Baldomero Sanín Cano (1861–1957), and Luis Carlos López (1879–1950).
The magazine reported on paradigmatic events, such as the Futurist Manifesto. When Archbishop Manuel José Caycedo proclaimed that it should not be read on pain of mortal sin, the magazine ceased publication in 1916 after a decade of intense activity and a total of 146 issues. Alpha kept its readers up-to-date on current literary and intellectual trends, and corresponded with a variety of Latin American writers.