Venezuela, officially called the Bolivarian Republic
of Venezuela, is a tropical
country on the northern coast of South America.
It is a continental mainland with numerous islands located off its coastline in
the Caribbean Sea. Venezuela
borders Guyana, Brazil and Colombia. The republic is a former Spanish
colony that won its independence in 1821.
Venezuela is known widely for its petroleum industry, the environmental
diversity of its territory, and its natural features. Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries
in Latin America, the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the
north, especially in the capital Caracas
which is also the largest city.
The history of Venezuela is
one of the most mesmerizing histories of the world. In ancient history, the
country of Venezuela
was occupied by the Indians. The Carib, Arawak, and the Chibcha are the three
main groups of the Indians living in the country.
The first explorer to come in Venezuela was
Christopher Columbus. He came in 1498 during his third voyage to the New World.
Simon Bolivar, who was born on Caracas,
led the liberation from Spain
of much of the continent. Bolivar and his men marched across the Andes and
liberate Colombia in 1819, Venezuela in 1821, and Ecuador, Peru,
in 1825. After gaining independence for the new nation, civil strifes, wars,
and dictatorships raged in the country well into the next country. Some
dictators sought real reform but most milked their positions for personal gain.
In the early 1900ís, the conflict-ridden nation
finally began to get on its economic feet with the discovery of oil, and by the
was beginning to reap the benefits. Venezuela benefited from the oil
boom of the early 1970ís. When oil prices dropped in the late 80s and once
again the country was thrown into crisis. Riots swept through Caracas and were violently repressed, and two
coup attempts took place in 1992.