Orientation & Geography

South America, Colombia, La Guajira

Riohacha, Rio Hacha or Rio de la Hacha (English: River of the Axe - Wayuu: Süchiimma), is a city in the Riohacha Municipality in the northern Caribbean Region of Colombia by the mouth of the Ranchería River and the Caribbean sea, capital city of the La Guajira Department. Founded by conquistador Nikolaus Federmann in 1535, Riohacha was named after a local legend "The legend of the Axe". The area is mostly desertic and inhabited by Amerindians, predominantly by members of the Wayuu ethnic group. During colonial times Riohacha was a very important port due to findings of vast amounts of pearls. In recent years the city became one of Colombia's medium importance maritime commercial ports as well as a multicultural center for the Department. It is mentioned several times in the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, and seven times in the novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold, both written by Gabriel García Márquez.