Venezuela is a South American country. Located at the northern tip of the continent, it covers an area of 912 050 km2. Bathed by the Caribbean Sea in the north and the Atlantic Ocean in the northeast, it borders Guyana in the east, Brazil in the south and Colombia in the west. The main cities are Caracas, the capital, with 1 719 600 residents (2004), Maracaíbo (1 910 200 residents), Valencia (1 575 800 residents), Barquisimeto (979 200 residents) and Ciudad Guayana (856 100 residents). The country is crossed, in the northwest part, by the Merida mountain range, which has a northeast-southwest direction. The terminal (flat) section of the Orinoco develops in the central area. Southeast Venezuela is occupied by the Guyana massif.
The climate is humid tropical, although it varies according to the altitude.
Venezuela has an economy that is based mainly on oil exploration, with the country being among the ten largest world producers. Oil and natural gas are the country’s largest source of revenue. There are also important coal deposits. Agriculture accounts for only about 4% of GDP, which reflects the country’s need to import various agricultural products. The dominant crops are sugar cane, bananas, corn, rice, sorghum, cassava, coffee and cocoa. The extractive industry essentially covers iron, bauxite, aluminum, diamonds and gold. Industrial products are base metals, foodstuffs, beverages, chemicals, textiles, paper products and tobacco. Venezuela’s main trading partners are the United States of America and Brazil.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide emissions, per capita (metric tons, 1999), is 5.3.
The population was, in 2006, 25 730 435 residents, which corresponds to a density of approximately 27.82 residents/km2. The birth and death rates are, respectively, 18.71% and 4.92%. Average life expectancy is 74.54 years. The value of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.755 and the value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is 0.767 (2001). It is estimated that, in 2025, the population will be 32 061 000 residents. The dominant ethnic groups are mestizo (67%), white (21%), black (10%) and India (2%). The most expressive religion is Catholic (935). The official language is Castilian.
Christopher Columbus arrived in Venezuela in 1498 and, in 1520, the Spanish settled permanently in the territory. In 1811, Simón Bolívar led a rebellion against Spain and, in 1830, the country gained independence. After a long period of dictatorship, the country adopted a new constitution in 1961 and, three years later, Rómulo Betancourt became the first president to fully serve a presidential term. In 1964 he was succeeded by Raul Leoni and, in 1969, by Rafael Caldera. The latter president brought political and economic stability to the country, although kidnappings and murders continued to grow. In 1974, Carlos Andrés Pérez, of the Democratic Action Party (AD), came to power and increased national stability. He was succeeded in 1979 by the leader of the Christian Social Party (COPEI), Luis Herrera.
With Venezuela’s increasing economic instability, the 1984 general elections were contested by all parties and the thirteen presidential candidates. Jaime Lusinchi, leader of the AD, was elected and carried out an austere and unpopular economic policy. He tried to make a social pact between the Government and trade associations and negotiated bank credits with the aim of reducing public debt. But in 1988, Venezuela suspended the payment of the foreign debt, which had been increasing since the fall of oil prices in the 1970s. In February 1989 Carlos Andrés Pérez came to power again, who immediately instituted the growing increase prices and other radical measures, with the aim of meeting the requirements of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In response to these measures, the population caused serious disturbances that caused the death of about three hundred people. That same year, in December, there were new elections, but they were boycotted by opposition parties. For Venezuela democracy and rights, please check localbusinessexplorer.
Throughout 1990 and 1991, social dissatisfaction grew and resulted in more violent confrontations. In February 1992, a group of military officers tried to carry out a coup d’état, but troops loyal to President Andrés Pérez quickly neutralized him. The following November, a new coup was canceled. In May 1993, Andrés Pérez saw his term suspended, after the Supreme Court announced that the president could be involved in corruption. The suspicions were confirmed and, in May 1994, Pérez was arrested. José Velasquez was appointed transitional president and, in December 1993, the presidential elections put Rafael Caldera in power.
In 1995 Venezuela went through a serious financial crisis, but in 1996, a rigorous plan triggered a turnaround in this country that had the highest income per resident in Latin America, and was overtaken by Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil.
Three years later, in February, Hugo Chávez, leader of the country’s second party, took office as President of the Republic, after winning the elections held in December of the previous year. It introduced a series of political changes, namely in the Constitution. The economic and social crisis that had, however, been installed in the country led to a coup d’état in 2002 that removed him from office. However, even that year, with the support of the people, he would retake power.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Venezuela, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Venezuela. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Venezuela
Browse a collection of city, country, shaded relief and political maps of this Northern South American country. Check out the city map of Maracaibo.
MSN Encarta Maps – Venezuela
View a detailed map of Venezuela, showing the country’s land features and locations of towns and cities. Click on an area for local information.
Venezuela – About.com
See the political map and read about the geography, economy, military, government and population of this South American country.
Venezuela – Infoplease Map
Review a color map of the country and find locations of towns and cities, with bordering countries and river systems included.
Venezuela – National Geographic Map Machine
Relief map of the South American republic reveals its cities, rivers, national parks and elevated regions. Includes statistical figures.
Venezuela – Worldatlas.com Map
Provides three separate map perspectives, a profile of the country, facts and figures and links to more maps.