Venezuela Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Venezuela > Map Economy History

Caracas
Merida
Instituto Nacional de Parques
Canaima National Park A World Heritage Site

Facts About Venezuela

Background: Venezuela was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Colombia and Ecuador). For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Current concerns include: drug-related conflicts along the Colombian border, increasing internal drug consumption, overdependence on the petroleum industry with its price fluctuations, and irresponsible mining operations that are endangering the rain forest and indigenous peoples.
Government type: federal republic
Capital: Caracas
Currency: 1 bolivar (Bs) = 100 centimos

Geography of Venezuela

Location: Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 66 00 W
Area:
total: 912,050 sq km
land: 882,050 sq km
water: 30,000 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 4,993 km
border countries: Brazil 2,200 km, Colombia 2,050 km, Guyana 743 km
Coastline: 2,800 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 15 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands
Terrain: Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos); Guiana Highlands in southeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Pico Bolivar (La Columna) 5,007 m
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds
Land use:
arable land: 4%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 20%
forests and woodland: 34%
other: 41% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 1,900 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: subject to floods, rockslides, mud slides; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: sewage pollution of Lago de Valencia; oil and urban pollution of Lago de Maracaibo; deforestation; soil degradation; urban and industrial pollution, especially along the Caribbean coast; threat to the rainforest ecosystem from irresponsible mining operations.
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping
Geography - note: on major sea and air routes linking North and South America; Angel Falls in the Guiana Highlands is the world's highest waterfall.

More Geography

People of Venezuela

The Venezuelan people comprise a combination of European, indigenous, and African heritages. About 85% of the population live in urban areas in the northern portion of the country. While almost half of Venezuela's land area lies south of the Orinoco River, this region contains only 5% of the population.

At the time of the Spanish discovery, the indigenous people were mainly agriculturists and hunters living in groups along the coast, the Andean mountain range, and along the Orinoco River. The first permanent Spanish settlement in South America--Nuevo Toledo--was established in Venezuela in 1522.

Population: 25,375,281 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  32.11% 
15-64 years:  63.17%
65 years and over:  4.72%
Population growth rate: 1.56% 
Birth rate: 20.65 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 4.92 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -0.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 25.37 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  73.31 years
male:  70.29 years
female:  76.56 years
Total fertility rate: 2.46 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Venezuelan(s)
adjective: Venezuelan
Ethnic groups: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African, indigenous people
Religions: nominally Roman Catholic 96%, Protestant 2%, other 2%
Languages: Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.1%
male: 91.8%
female: 90.3% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Venezuela > Map Economy History