La Guaira lä gwī´rä [key], city (1990 pop. 23,831), capital of Vargas state, N Venezuela, on the Caribbean Sea NW of Caracas. It is the principal international port of Venezuela; cacao, coffee, and tobacco are the chief exports. La Guaira is also a seaside resort. Founded in the 16th cent. as an outlet for Caracas, the city was sacked by English pirates in 1743. During the war for independence (19th cent.), La Guaira's dungeons held many noted political prisoners. The international airport for Caracas is located in nearby Maiquetía.
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