- Capital: Caracas
- Size: approximately 916,445 km²
- Population: approximately 28.2 million inhabitants (2008)
- Desnity: 30 inhabitants per km²
- Religions: Catholics 96%, Protestants 2%
- Languages: Spanish, indigenous languages
- Currency: 1 Bolívar fuerte (VEF) = 100 Céntimos
- Gouvernment: federal presidential republic
- National Day: 5th of July (independence)
- Climate: tropical
- Unemployment: approximately 9.1%
Size of the Country
Venezuela has an approximate size of 916,445 km². The nortern Caribbean coast is 2,800 km long. Venezuela can be subdivided into six regions: Andes, Orinoco-plains, Maracaibo-lowlands, the mountains along the Caribbean coast, the Venezuelan islands of the Caribbean as well as the highlands of Guayana. Venezuela's highest peak is Pico Bolívar, which is some 4,981 m high. The country borders on Colombia, Brazil and Guyana.
Venezuela inhabits some 28.2 million people. Annual population growth is about 1.4%. 75 to 80% belong to a the mixed population, which means they are of European, African and of native American heritage. 15 to 20% are European, 3 to 5% African and 1.5% native American. The majority (85%) lives in cities, rural areas are hence hardly inhabited.
Approximatly 96% of the population is Roman Cathololic, only about 2% are Protestants and about 12,000 people are members of the New Apostolic Church. Muslims, Jews and members of indigenous religions are the minority.
The tropical climate changes depending on the altitude and the topography of the respective area. Rainy season streches from May until November, dry season from December until April. Daily average temperatures change depending on the region in the country. Below 800 m usual temperatures are at an average of 26° to 28°C, between 800 m and 2,000 m they range from 12° to 25°C, between 2,000 m and 3,000 m between 9° and 11°C and in the high mountains they drop below 8°C.
- Before the arrival of Kolumbus, the Venezuelan country was inhabited by approximately 500,000 Indian native Americans. They were hunter-gatherers as well as fishermen and farmer
- In 1498 Christoph Kolumbus entered during his 3rd voyage the Venezuelan mainland
- The first village, Nueva Cádiz, was founded by Spanish immigrants in 1522
- Caracas, the capital, was founded 1567
- In 1577 Venezuela was declared a Spanish colony
- During the 16th and 17th century many slaves were brought to Venezuela due to the cultivation of cacao, sugar, tabacco, coffee and cotton
- During the 17th and 18th century Christianisation of the native American populations was undertaken by missionaries of the Roman Catholic Chruch
- Between 1811 and 1821 a war of independence under Simón Bolívar was fought against the Spanish colonial power
- In 1821 Venezuela was integrated into the Republic of Great Colombia
- Venezuela declared itself to be an autonomous republic in 1830
- From 1948 on the country was in control of the military junta
- In 1952 Marcos Pérez Jiménez became the dictatorial leader of Venezuela
- Jiménez was dipossessed in 1958 and democratisation started
- On 27th February 1989 a mass protest due to the increasing transportation costs was put down bloodily
- Two attempted coups failed in 1992
- Since 2nd February 1999 Hugo Chávez Frías is president of the "Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela"
Economy and Politics
Venezuela depends mainly on crud oil production. The gains make up approximately half of the public revenue, more than 75% of the export evalue around 25% of the gross national product.
Besides crud oil Venezuela also exports ore, steel, nobel metal, aluminium, cement and textiles. Import merchandises include mostly machinery, transportation equipment and chemical products. Most important trading partners are the U.S.. Tourism becomes more and more important for Venezuela.
Unemployment rate was estimated 9.1% in 2006. However only 55% of all employees work under regular working conditions. The others work for example as street vendors in an informal sense.
- Venezuela obtained independence in 1821
- The form of government is a federal presidential republic, in which the directly voted president for a period of 6 years is at the same time nominal head of state and executive authority
- Seperation of powers consists of legislation, execution, judicary, citizen power and electional power
- The parliament is elected every five years, it consists of the national assembly with a one-chamber-system
- Venezuela is divided into 23 states
- Hugo Chávez is president in his second presidential term
- too dependent on crud oil industry