Top 50 Interesting Facts about Venezuela and Venezuelans
Venezuela is a typical Latin American country. It shares many characteristics with its neighbours in the region. But it is also a unique country with its own customs, history and culture. In this article, we have collected 50 fascinating facts about the country and its people. They will help you get a first impression and plan your holiday in Venezuela.
50 of the most interesting facts about the Venezuelans and Venezuela
Let’s begin our journey through the history, traditions and sights of this amazing country.
1. 14 millennia ago, the first humans appeared on the territory of present-day Venezuela. This period is represented by petroglyphs found in the state of Falcon.
2. Europeans appeared on the shores of Venezuela in 1499. The conquistador Alonso de Ojeda, Columbus’s companion, led them.
3. Among the discoverers of Venezuela was Amerigo Vespucci, whose name was given to the New World. Amerigo also gave the name to the newly discovered lands – Venezuela.
4. According to legend, the first Indians the Spaniards saw were the inhabitants of Lake Maracaibo, who built their houses on stilts over the water. It was a reminder to Vespucci of his home city of Venice. So he named these shores Little Venice – Venezuela.
5. The first city to be built by the Spanish was that of Cumana. This happened in 1520. Today, Cumana is the oldest city in South America. It is the capital of the state of Sucre.
6. The Spaniards searched the newly discovered lands for the mysterious city of gold – El Dorado. But they found nothing. The natives were poor Indians. They lived in squalid villages.
7. In 1666, the city of Maracaibo was captured by the pirate François Ohlone. The pirates received a ransom of 250,000 piastres. This was a huge sum of money in those days.
8. At the beginning of the XIX century, the war for independence began in the country. Simon Bolivar was its inspiration. In 1821 Bolivar founded an independent state. It included Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.
9. After Bolivar’s death in 1830, Greater Colombia broke up and Venezuela gained full independence.
10. Venezuela is officially called the Bolivarian Republic in memory of the man who gave the country its independence.
11. The republic is now an independent state. It has been under US sanctions for more than 10 years.
12. The pressure of sanctions has led to huge inflation. In some years it has reached 1 million per cent a year.
13. Several denominations and renaming of the local currency, the bolivar. It is currently known as the «digital bolivar».
14. Venezuela currently has a population of 29 million. Most people live below the poverty line. The average salary in the country is only $25 a month.
15. The Republic covers an area of 916,000 square kilometres. It ranks 32nd in the world and 6th in South America by this indicator.
16. Oil production and export is the mainstay of the country’s economy. In terms of explored and proven reserves of this valuable raw material, Venezuela ranks first in the world.
17. The capital of Venezuela, Caracas, was founded in 1576. It has a current population of 3.2 million, with about 8 million people living in the metropolitan area.
18. The official language is Spanish, spoken by 98% of the population.
19. Many descendants of European immigrants, Africans and indigenous Indians make up the Venezuelan nation. The number of indigenous people is steadily decreasing. They make up less than 2% of the total population.
20. Catholicism is the predominant religion in the country, with more than 65% of the population adhering to it. Protestantism is in second place. Some 22% of the population identify as Evangelical.
21. Venezuela is in the time zone -4 UTC. This is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.
Things to do in Venezuela
22. The capital, Caracas, is the country’s main attraction. This is the city that boasts the most beautiful churches and palaces, the tallest skyscrapers and the most sprawling slums.
23. An unusual attraction in the country is the cable car in Merida. It holds the record for being the longest cable car in the world. It is over 12 kilometres long.
24. The country’s most famous theme park is Los Aleros in Merida. It is designed in the style of a classic Andean Indian village.
25. The country’s main natural attraction is the Angel Falls. This is the highest waterfall in the world, plunging almost a kilometre into the depths.
26. Mount Roraima is one of the country’s unique attractions. Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired to write «The Lost World» on this table mountain.
27. The most mysterious attraction in Venezuela is the Catatumbo Lightning. This is a phenomenon on Lake Maracaibo. This place is considered the lightning capital of the world.
28. The country’s main tourist attraction is Margarita Island, which offers not only the most fashionable hotels and beautiful beaches, but also two national parks.
Character, Traditions, and Customs of the Venezuelan People
29. The crime rate in Venezuela is one of the highest in the Americas. However, the Venezuelan people are cheerful and hospitable, and welcome tourists.
30. However, the goodwill of Venezuelans does not extend to all nations. Much depends on politics.
31. It is customary to kiss on meeting in Venezuela, as in other Latin American countries. In recent years, however, kissing has been reserved for interactions between women or close relatives. Men have adopted the European handshake.
32. However, a Venezuelan’s close relatives may also include cousins, uncles and aunts. There is a very respectful attitude towards the institution of the family and strong kinship ties.
33. Local families rarely have fewer than 3 children, and the attitude towards the older generation is very respectful and caring.
34. Venezuelan men like to present themselves as the head of the family. They are the main breadwinners. In reality, however, they often defer to their wives, who run the household and raise the children.
35. The Venezuelan people are a very passionate and emotional nation. They love different sports and are ardent fans. Similar to Cuba, baseball is more popular than football.
36. In the lives of ordinary Venezuelans, the church still plays a very important role. They attend church services regularly. Christian holidays are celebrated in a fun and colourful way. These include the Carnival in February, which takes place before Lent.
37. Corpus Christi is one of the country’s most unusual holidays. People wear frightening masks of devils and demons on this day.
38. Venezuelans are known for their patriotism. The country celebrates Independence Day in a big way. People decorate their homes with national flags.
39. The national hero Simon Bolivar is treated with great honour in the country. Monuments to him can be found in every town. His portraits often adorn the windows of ordinary houses.
40. Against the background of the gastronomic traditions of neighbouring countries, Venezuelan cuisine does not stand out too much. Corn, meat and seafood dishes are also enjoyed here.
41. One of the most popular dishes in Venezuela is the arepa. These are tortillas filled with meat, cheese, vegetables and fruit. Rum and a bitter agave liquor called coca are Venezuela’s favourite alcoholic drinks.
Nature of Venezuela
42. Venezuela lies just north of the equator, in a region with a subequatorial and tropical climate. There are only two seasons – dry winters and humid summers.
43. Venezuela is washed by the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, which is home to many islands. The largest is Margarita Island and the most unusual is Los Roques Atoll.
44. The country’s largest river is the Orinoco. It is almost 2700 kilometres long. At its confluence with the Atlantic Ocean, the Orinoco forms a huge delta. It is the seventh largest delta in the world.
45. Most of the country is covered by dense equatorial forest, criss-crossed by a network of rivers and home to a wide variety of animals and birds.
46. The country’s forests are also home to the brightly coloured black and orange tropical bird. It is the national symbol.
47. In Venezuela it is possible to see unusual animals. These include armadillos, sloths and anteaters. Among the latter, the pygmy anteater stands out. It is only 40 centimetres long.
48. The Andes begin in the northwest of Venezuela. They are the longest mountain range on the planet. Bolivar Peak (4978 metres) is the highest point in the country.
49. Lake Maracaibo is the largest freshwater body in South America. It covers an area of 13,000 square kilometres.
50. In fact, Maracaibo should be called a lagoon. It is connected to the Caribbean Sea by a narrow and shallow natural strait. The depth of this strait does not exceed 4 metres at any point.
Friends, please share in the comments if you know any other interesting facts about Venezuelans and the country. This country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions. Many people would love to learn something new. We will be very grateful!