Geography• Venezuela is located in northern South America. – Resembles an inverted triangle with approximately 1,700 miles of coastline.• The Andes Mountains are found in the north, with Pico Bolivar its highest peak at 16,335 ft.
Geography• The Guiana Highlands comprise a large portion of the south-central lands. – Contains northern Amazon River basin. – World’s highest waterfall, Angel Falls is located here. – Tepuis, large table shaped mountains are prevalent. – The Orinoco River binds the largest river system in the country.
Geography• Columbia lies to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south.• Several Caribbean Islands are located just off the coast.• Venezuela is among the top 20 countries in the world for endemism. – 23% of reptiles and 50% of amphibians are endemic.• Vast amounts of petroleum, conventional oil, and natural gas can be found in Venezuela. – Among the top producers in the world.
History• Venezuela was officially declared Independent from Spain in 1811 by Francisco de Miranda. – 1st and 2nd republics were brought down by natural disasters and rebellions.• Simon Bolivar continued to fight Spanish who challenged independence. – Liberated region known as Gran Columbia. – In 1830 one of Bolivar’s allies, Jose Antonio Paez, rebelled and established Venezuela once again.
History• During the 20 years of war Venezuela lost ¼ to 1/3 of its population.• Paez was in and out of the presidency, holding the office for a total of 11 years. – Venezuela became subject to dictatorial rule. – Resulted in the Federal War of 1859-1863, in which hundreds of thousands died.• Corruption continued to thrive into the 20th Century. – Oil was discovered and became economic focus during World War I, increasing the level of corruption. – Became highest Latin American country in terms of GDP. • Much of it sapped by Juan Vicente Gomez, who ruled for 27 years until his death.
History• Post-World War II heavy immigration diversified population. – Achieved first free and fair election in 1947 after social reforms and democratic seizure of rule. – Military displacement in 1948 led to 10 more years of dictatorship.• Democracy once again took over in 1958. – Corruption continued and brought about instability, poverty, crime, and riots. – Hugo Chavez led an attempted Coup against President Carlos Andres Perez, who was later impeached for corruption. – Chavez was pardoned by the next president and won the election in 1998• Chavez has remained president since 1998 despite brief periods of unrest.
People• The people of Venezuela are diverse, ranging from natives to European immigrants. – 50% White, 29% Arabian, 10% African, 1% Indigenous.• There is a huge problem with poverty. – 30% of the 28.4 million people who live in Venezuela have to survive on the equivalent of $2.00 per day.
People• 93% of the Venezuelan population live within 62 miles of the coastline. – The vast majority live in developed, urban areas to the north. – Only 5% of the population live south of the Orinoco River.• 95.2 % of the population is literate. – 91% have been enrolled in a primary school. – 63% have been enrolled in a secondary school.
People• Majority of Venezuelans speak Castilian. – Also indigenous languages, Portuguese, Spanish, and English (most common foreign language).• 92% of Venezuela’s population professes to be Roman Catholic, 8% Protestant or other.• According to the United Nations, 32% of the population lacks adequate sanitation.• Corruption and crime rates are some of the highest in the world.