Venezuela Map, South American Countries

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, and Bolivia 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 20ís Venezuela 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.