Flag of Venezuela

Venezuela

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is a country on the northern coast of South America that comprises of a continental mainland and numerous islands in the Caribbean Sea. Venezuela borders Guyana to the east, Brazil to the south, and Colombia to the west. Trinidad and Tobago, Curaçao, Bonaire, Aruba and the Leeward Antilles lie just north of the Venezuelan coast.

A former Spanish colony, Venezuela is a federal republic. It is among the most urbanised countries in Latin America; the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north, especially in the largest metropolis, Caracas. Other major cities include Maracaibo, Barquisimeto, Valencia, Maracay, and Ciudad Guayana.

The name 'Venezuela' is believed to have originated from the cartographer Amerigo Vespucci who, together with Alonso de Ojeda, led a 1499 naval expedition along the northwestern coast's Gulf of Venezuela. On reaching the Guajira Peninsula, the crew observed the distinctive stilt villages (palafitos) that the indigenous Añu people had built over the water. This reminded Vespucci of the city of Venice, so he named the region 'Venezuola' (little Venice).

Venezuela has epic proportions: it has South America's largest lake and third-longest river, the highest waterfall in the world, and the longest of all snakes. It also has jaguars, armadillos and some of the most spectacular landscapes you'll ever see.

Map of Venezuela