22 Facts About La Guajira


In 1954, the Intendance of la Guajira was created again and Riohacha was declared a municipality.

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The Upper La Guajira covers the northernmost part of the peninsula, with mostly scarce semi-desertic vegetation.

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The Middle La Guajira region is mostly flat, with hills in some areas, presenting an arid environment.

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The Southern La Guajira covers the region of the Montes de Oca and the Serrania del Perija mountain ranges on the border with Venezuela, and the valley formed with the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range.

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Department of La Guajira is within the Colombian Caribbean region, one of the five natural regions of Colombia.

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In 1498, the La Guajira Peninsula was first seen by Spanish explorers led by Alonso de Ojeda, who sailed the coast, but didn't land.

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La Guajira was one of the territories in Colombia that endured a period of isolation during the Spanish colonization of the Americas, due to the resistance of the indigenous peoples, predominantly the Wayuu.

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In 1871, the territory of La Guajira was put under separate administration and became a national territory.

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La Guajira became an intendencia in 1898 and a commissary in 1911.

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The indigenous in La Guajira sided with members of either side depending on parental affiliation or economic advantage rather than on political views.

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Department of La Guajira is governed by regional equivalents of the three branches of the national government of Colombia.

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The executive branch is represented by the Governor of the Department of La Guajira, elected every four years by popular vote in regional elections; the legislative branch by the Department Assembly of La Guajira; and the judicial branch by the regional courts under the Superior Tribunal of Riohacha whose members are appointed by the Supreme Court of Colombia.

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The Department of La Guajira is composed of 126 corregimientos, 49 inspecciones de policia and 10 caserios, distributed throughout the municipalities.

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The Colombian Air Force division Comando Aereo de Combate No 3, in Barranquilla, Atlantico, serves the Department of La Guajira, using as its airstrip the Almirante Padilla Airport.

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University of La Guajira has its main campus at Riohacha, with satellite campuses at Fonseca, Maicao, Manaure, Albania, and Villanueva.

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Economy of the Department of La Guajira is based on the exploitation of mineral resources, such as coal in the Cerrejon mines, natural gas, salt mines in Manaure, and constituted 53.

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Cultural aspects in the Department of La Guajira have been mostly influenced by the traditions of the Wayuu; by European culture, mainly through Roman Catholic traditions; by Afro-Colombian culture; and since the mid-20th Century, by Middle Eastern culture, including Islamic traditions.

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Spanish in La Guajira has developed its own dialect mostly by taking words from the Wayuu language.

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La Guajira has been the subject of numerous writings describing its culture.

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Music in the Department of La Guajira has been associated with the indigenous peoples, as well as being influenced by the cultures of Afro-Colombians and Europeans.

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Gastronomy in the Department of La Guajira is associated with the traditional gastronomy of the indigenous Wayuu, based on local fauna and flora, as well as being influenced by Spanish cuisine.

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The most representative of La Guajira cuisine is friche – a fried or stewed goat seasoned with salt and its own blood and guts.

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