La Guajira is a department of Colombia. It occupies most of its namesake peninsula, the Guajira Peninsula in the northeast region of the country, facing the Caribbean Sea and Venezuela in the northern most part of South America.
The department capital city is Riohacha. Various indigenous tribes populated the vast arid plains, such as the Wayuu, Guajiros, Macuiros, Anates, Wayunaiki, Cuanaos and Eneales among others prior to the Spanish arrival to the Americas. In 1498 Alonso de Ojeda navigated around the peninsula of La Guajira, but the one who disembarked in what today is La Guajira was Juan de la Cosa.
During the colonial era the territory was disputed by the governors of Santa Marta and Venezuela due to deposits of pearls. English pirates, French, Germans also disputed the territory. Martin Fernandez de Enciso found the city of Nuestra Señora Santa Maria de los Remedios del Cabo de la Vela, first village in the territory but due to constant attacks, in 1535 Don Nicolas de Federman had to refounded as the village of Riohacha and in 1544 was moved present-day Riohacha. In 1871 the region is separated from the Department of Magdalena and is created La Guajira as part of the national territories. In 1898 was created the Intendance of La Guajira.