Riohacha (Spanish pronunciation: [rjoˈa.tʃa]), Rio Hacha or Rio de la Hacha (English: River of the Axe or Axeshore - Wayuu: Süchiimma, "Süchii" means river, and "mma" means land, Riverland), 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". Owing to the powerful rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, 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 the discovery of vast numbers of pearls. In the second half of the 20th Century, the city became one of Colombia's medium important, maritime commercial ports as well as a multicultural center for La Guajira Department. The city is mentioned several times in One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, and Chronicle of a Death Foretold, novels written by Gabriel García Márquez.
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