The Place & the People

map of Guajira

The Place

The Department of La Guajira is the most northernly point of Colombia . The land is predominantly a desert, very arid and dry, with only one river that crosses the territory, the Ranchería River.

Wayuu people

The People

Its People , the WAYUU , consist of approximately 144,003 people,representing 20% of Colombia's total Amerindian population. They live in small communities called rancherias, family and extended family type communities, each community being specialist in one skill or another, weaving, fishing, pearl diving, herding, farming and construction etc. The Wayuu occupy a total area of 4,171 square miles (10,800 km2). They were never subjugated by the Spanish and are a resistant people, they receive very little, to no help at all from the Colombian government. La Guajira is also Home of the Worlds biggest open cast coal mine , El Cerrejón , exploiting Coal, Gas and Salt for export to USA, Europe and China . Its owned by a consortium called Carbones del Cerrejón S. A. (BHP Billiton/UK, Anglo American UK/Southafrica and Xstrata /Swiss).

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