History of Riohacha

The Riohacha area was inhabited by American Indians of the Wayuu culture, part of the larger Arawak group. The first European to visit the area was the Spanish sailor Alonso de Ojeda in 1498, though he never landed. A short time later, Juan de la Cosa, another Spanish explorer, landed on what is today called Cabo de la Vela (Cape of the Sail, so called because of its shape). In 1535, the German explorer Nikolaus Federmann founded a city with the name Nuestra SeƱora Santa Maria de los Remedios del Cabo de la Vela (Our Lady Saint Mary of the Remedies of the Cape of the Sail) at the place de la Cosa