Risaralda is located in the western central region of the Colombia and is part of the Paisa region. Its capital is Periera.
Before European conquistadores arrived in 1537, the region was inhabited by Quimbaya and Caramanta people. Some Spanish towns were built, but the combination of a decline in the indigenous population and low immigration of Europeans, left Risaralda relatively overlooked until the development of coffee production in the mid 19th C.
It became an independent department in 1966. The region is mountainous and enjoys a variety of climates within a small area.