The Wayuu ( autonym / waju: / Wayuu ) and peasants (the Arawak peasant , sir, powerful man), three are natives of the Guajira Peninsula , on the Caribbean Sea , inhabiting territories of Colombia and Venezuela , regardless the boundaries between these two South American countries.
The Wayuu are the largest indigenous group in Venezuela and Colombia , representing about 11% of the state's population Zulia and about 45% of the department of La Guajira . 5 97% of the population speak their traditional language is wayuunaiki , 32% speak Castilian. 66% did not receive any formal education. The Wayuu population according to the 1993 census, is 144,003 persons of whom they represent 20% of the indigenous population of Colombia being the largest group in Colombia. According to estimates from Venezuela, the combined population of the two countries exceeds 400,000 Wayus). 6 The social organization is characterized by clans of which there are 24.
The Wayuu people is one of the towns Arawak , as a large flow of migrants, moved both by the Amazon , and to the West Indies , where they arrived around 150 a. C.
Were part of their ancestral customs, the hunting , fishing and gathering, as well as horticulture , where it was possible, to the south of the peninsula or elsewhere with a less desert than today. The property was communal, as longhouse .
Although contact with European settlers dates from the sixteenth century , the Wayus were not conquered until very late, after the independence of Colombia and Venezuela. This was influenced by both the indigenous resistance, as the harsh environment of the desert, which served as a refuge for Wayus. By the year 1800 it was estimated that the indigenous population not subject (called wild ) of La Guajira was 10,000 between motilones (including 1800), 7 Chimilas , goagiros, archuacos , Tupes and kitchens. 8 In 1812 the estimated at 40,000 souls , 1500 of them with spears attacking border villages. 9 occupied the territory between Maracaibo and Riohacha and were known generically as the peasants , of these the most numerous and important were the Wayus. During the nineteenth century the governments of both republics began to make plans to be submitted in 1841 were 18,000 people of which 3,000 would be warriors, known for their ferocity. 10 The peasants were between 90,000 and 150,000 by mid-century, in 1858 were wayú 35000-40000. 11 The first campaigns of the Venezuelan government began in 1830 , continuing with the construction of several strong lines of trenches that advanced the border increasingly north to 1893 had been submitted and reduced. 10 So did Colombia's government, eventually shared the territory. 11
European intervention meant, however, the loss of farmland and hunting areas, which compensated Wayus grazing of introduced species, especially goats and, to a lesser extent, cattle. Frequent conflicts occurred in politics of European fisheries control beads . Then, taking advantage of the clashes between the Spanish, Dutch and English, were able to develop a strong business, which expanded during the Republican period.
Despite the expansion of the two republics on its territory, the broad autonomy remained Wayus extralegal consitucionalemente only recently been recognized both states and is characterized by the application of the law itself 12 throughout the territory itself .