Venezuela (República Bolivariana de Venezuela/Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) is a federal presidential republic located north of the equator in the northern part of South America. It is washed to the north by the Caribbean Sea and it borders to the west with Colombia, to the south with Brazil and to the east with Guyana. Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, lies 922 metres high in the valley of the Rio Guaire on the southern side of the Cordillera Litoral, which separates it from the coast of the Caribbean Sea, being only 14 km away. Maracaibo, Valencia, Barquisimeto, Maracay are other important cities of the country. The island of Margarita is the most important and largest among the seventy Venezuelan islands, which are located off the coast of the Caribbean Sea.
THE LATEST MOUNTAINS OF THE ANDES, HIGHLANDS AND VAST PLAINS
The northwestern part of the country consists of mountainous chains belonging to the Cordillera de los Andes, such as the Sierra de Perijá along the border with Colombia and the Cordillera de Mérida with the Pico de Bolivar reaching 5,007 metres, thus being the highest point in the country. The two chains are separated by the depression of Lake Maracaibo with 13,210 sq km.
The central part of the country is characterized by large grassy floodplains called llanos, which account for around one third of the national territory and extend as far as the Orinoco River. South of the Orinoco river instead extends a wide area of plateaus, which form part of the Guyana massif, among which the most notable is the plateau of Gran Sabana with heights around 1,000 meters, characterized by table mountains called Tepuis. In this area there are some impressive waterfalls such as Salto Kukenam with 610 metres and Salto Angel with 979 metres drop height. The latter is the highest waterfall of the world. The plateau reaches a maximum height through the Pico de Neblina with 3,014 meters near the border with Brazil and with Mount Roraima with 2,810 metres on the border with Guyana.
The main river in the country is the Orinoco with a length of 2,410 km and a basin of 948,000 sq km, thus being one of the longest rivers of South America. It has its source at the border with Brazil, crosses the whole country to flow in a broad delta into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the island of Trinidad.
AN ECONOMY RELATED TO PETROLEUM
The economy of Venezuela is based mainly on the most important source of wealth: oil. The mineral and subsoil resources are the wealth of Venezuela. In addition to oil, of which the country is one of the leading world producers, the country has important reserves of natural gas, iron, bauxite, zinc, copper, lead, gold, silver, diamonds, asbestos, magnesite, coal, tin, titanium, phosphate, manganese and salt.
Considerable is the hydroelectric potential after the construction of the Guri power plant along the Caroní River, being the biggest hydroelectric power station of the world after the Itaipú power plant between Brazil and Paraguay. The Venezuelan industry can boast the production of textiles, sugar, cement, glass and steel besides petrochemical and mechanical industry. Agriculture produces coffee, sugar cane, cocoa, maize, tobacco, rice, potatoes, cotton, cassava, fruits and bananas. Important are also the fishing of pearls, tuna, shrimp and sardines. Breeding of cattle and forestry are other activities.
English text correction by Dietrich Köster.
- Area: 912,050 sq km: Arable Land 4,3%, Pastures 19,5%, Forests and Bushland 32,2%, Uncultivated and Unproductive Land 43,3%
- Population: 27,730,000 (as of 2007): Mestizos (descendants of Amerindians and Europeans) 68%, Europeans 21%, Africans 10%, Amerindians 1%
- State Capital: Caracas.
- Official Language: The official language is Spanish.
- Religion: Roman Catholics 96%, Protestants 2%.
- Currency: Bolívar Fuerte (VEF).
- Time Zone: UTC-4.30 hours.
ACCOMMODATIONS, APARTMENTS, B&B AND HOTELS
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