Geographical map of Venezuela
Venezuela is a federal republic located in the north of South America, with the capital of Caracas which is part of Latin America.
Venezuela is a region just north of the equator, and is considered to be one of the countries with the greatest ecological diversity in the world. This region was inhabited already in pre-Columbian times by tribal Amerindian groups such as caribe and Arab and was touched by Christopher Columbus on his third voyage in 1498. Subsequently it was incorporated into the vast Spanish South American empire in the sixteenth century, although the climate severely limited the entity of colonization. It was the first Latin American state to emancipate from the Spanish Crown, formally proclaiming its independence on July 5, 1811, which became effective only in 1821.
Venezuela covers a total land area of 916.445 km², including the continental cross, the island of Margarita and the Venezuelan federal dependencies. The most northerly point of the Venezuelan territory is the island of Aves. The country exercises sovereignty over 860,000 km² of marine surface under the exclusive economic zone concept. The population of Venezuela is of 31.775.371 inhabitants, most of them half-born born from the crossing of the indigenous ethnic groups, both with whites of generally Hispanic origin and with Creoles and Africans. Many Europeans (Spanish, Italian and Portuguese in particular) and their descendants are present in the country, while the indigenous people in the pure state and the Asians represent a negligible part of the population. The multi-ethnicity of Venezuela has strongly influenced both its social and cultural life and art.
The official language is Spanish.
Venezuela is characterized by a tropical climate, characterized by a rainy season, (from May to October) and a dry one (from November to April). Rainfall ranges from 300-400 mm (or even less) in some areas of the Falcón State coastal belt to over 2000 mm in some areas of the Venezuelan Amazon, in the south of the country. The area is very hot but often mitigated by the altitude; it ranges from average annual temperatures, equal to about 22 ° C, to Caracas, which is almost 1000 meters above sea level, at 6-7 ° C lower than Maracaibo, which instead is located at sea level. The most extreme minimum temperatures obviously occur in the Andes.
From a geographical point of view, Venezuela can be divided into three different areas:
– the northern part is characterized by a mountainous area consisting of chains belonging to the Andean massif, continuations of the Eastern Cordillera Colombian from which two mountain systems depart, the Sierra de Perijá which delimits the border between Colombia and Venezuela and the Cordillera of Mérida that it creeps into the country to the south and east of the lake of Maracaibo and of which the Pico de Bolivar (5.007 m asl) is the highest point. Between the two mountain systems is the Zulia plateau. The Cordillera of Mérida continues along the coast line (and assuming the name of Cordillera della Costa) that in this stretch is steep and impervious, in front of it there are many islands, the largest is the Isla de Margarita. In the easternmost part, near the Orinoco delta, the coast becomes low and marshy.
– in the central area of the country we find extensive grassy plains, called Los llanos, which cover about a third of the country’s territory. This is an area with a low altitude (less than 600 m s.l.m.) that during the rainy season undergoes extensive flooding by the rivers that cross it.
– finally the southern part of Venezuela, which is the one that develops south of the Orinoco river, characterized by a plateau called the Guyana massif, which is geologically one of the oldest environments of the entire continent. Interesting in this area is the plateau called Gran Sabana, over the millennia the sandstone that makes up it was eroded and have remained valleys and rock formations called Tepuis characterized by particular flora and fauna, the isolation has in fact allowed the development of endemic species. In this area there are some of the highest waterfalls in the world, such as the Salto Kukenam and the Angel Falls (979 m) which is one of the main attractions of the Canaima National Park and has been included in the heritage list of the Humanity by UNESCO.
Regarding the watercourses the main river is the Orinoco, which develops for 2,574 km of which about 1,500 are navigable. This river was born on the border between Venezuela and Brazil. About a third of the Orinoco waters flows into the Amazon River.
Another noteworthy river is the Río Caroní, characterized by a very rapid and exploited course for the production of electricity. Born in the highlands of Guyana and flows into the Orinoco near Ciudad Guayana.
In the northwestern part of the country is the lake of Maracaibo, the largest lake in South America, the remains of an ancient gulf on the Caribbean Sea.
Venezuela has many islands belonging to the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles; it is about 300 small islands, mostly belonging to the State of Nueva Esparta and to the Federal Dependencies, of which the largest and most populous is Margarita while among others it is Los Roques the most populated archipelago.
As mentioned, Venezuela is characterized by a vast ecosystem with great biodiversity. The vegetation spread in the tropical areas of the country is very varied: ranging from the rainforest of the Maracaibo basin to the llanos prairies. The drier, rain-poor areas abound with xerophile plants, while the sub-tropical zone, called tierra templada, was originally covered with lush forests, but today it is the main agricultural region of Venezuela. The national plant of Venzuela is the “Flor de Mayo”.
The fauna of Venezuela is quite abundant, thanks to the isolation from the inhabited areas they enjoy.
The forests are populated with tapirs, sloths, anteaters and a variety of monkeys.
The mountainous areas are rich in pumas, bats, deer and marguay, while the tropical forests boast numerous tropical birds such as cacique, owls, herons, birds parasol, pipra, rupicola and various species of parrots. Moreover, Venezuela is home to over 32 different eagle species.
There are numerous species of reptiles, including: rattlesnakes, coral snakes, anaconda and boa; the rivers are rich in crocodiles and the turtle beaches
The variety of marine life that populates the Los Roques archipelago has no equal in the world and is a real treasure for those involved in diving
The animal symbol of Venezuela and emblem of the country is the turpial.