Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
República Bolivariana de Venezuela ( ) Spanish
Land controlled by Venezuela shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled land shown in light green.
and largest city
Caracas 10°30′N 66°55′W / 10°30′N 66°55′W / 10.500; -66.917 Official languages Spanish [b] Recognized regional languages Ethnic groups Religion 71% Catholic 17% Protestant 8% Irreligious 3% Other religion 1% No answer Demonym(s) Venezuelan Government Federal presidential constitutional republic (constitutional position Delcy Rodríguez ) disputed Legislature National Assembly (disputed) Constituent Assembly Independence 5 July 1811 13 January 1830
29 March 1845 15 November 1945 15 December 1999 Area
916,445 km 2 (353,841 sq mi) ( ) 32nd
• Water (%)
3.2% [d] Population
• 2016 estimate
31,568,179 (government)  28,067,000 ( ) IMF (  ) 44th
33.74/km 2 (87.4/sq mi) ( ) 181st GDP ( ) PPP 2019 estimate
• Per capita
n/a  GDP (nominal) 2019 estimate
$76.458 billion (  ) 51st
• Per capita
$2,724 (  ) 93rd Gini (2013) 44.8  medium HDI (2017) 0.761  · high 78th Currency ( ) VES Time zone ( −4 UTC ) VET Date format dd/mm/yyyy ( ) CE Driving side right Calling code +58 ISO 3166 code VE Internet TLD .ve The "Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" has been the full official title since the adoption of the ^ , when the state was renamed in honor of Constitution of 1999 . Simón Bolívar The Constitution also recognizes all ^ spoken in the country. indigenous languages Some important subgroups include those of ^ , Spanish , Italian , Amerindian , African , Portuguese and Arab descent. German Area totals include only Venezuelan-administered territory. ^ On 20 August 2018, a new bolivar was introduced, the ^ Bolívar soberano (ISO 4217 code VES) worth 100,000 VEF. Venezuela ( / (; ) listen American Spanish: [beneˈswela] (), officially the ) listen Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( : Spanish República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of  , consisting of a South America landmass and many continental and small islands in the islets . It has a territorial extension of 916,445 km Caribbean Sea 2 (353,841 sq mi). The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the , on the west by Atlantic Ocean , Colombia on the south, Brazil to the north-east and on the east by Trinidad and Tobago . The Venezuelan government maintains a claim against Guyana to Guyana , an area of 159,542 km Guayana Esequiba 2 (61,600 sq mi). For its maritime areas, Venezuela exercises sovereignty over 71,295 km 2 (27,527 sq mi) of , 22,224 km territorial waters 2 (8,581 sq mi) in its contiguous zone, 471,507 km 2 (182,050 sq mi) of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of , and 99,889 km exclusive economic zone 2 (38,567 sq mi) of . This marine area borders those of 13 states. The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of continental shelf . The country has Caracas and is ranked seventh in the world's list of nations with the most number of species. extremely high biodiversity There are habitats ranging from the  Mountains in the west to the Andes rain-forest in the south via extensive Amazon basin plains, the Caribbean coast and the llanos in the east. Orinoco River Delta
is a sovereign state federal consisting of presidential republic , the 23 states (covering Capital District ), and Caracas (covering Venezuela's offshore islands). Venezuela also claims all Guyanese territory west of the federal dependencies , a 159,500-square-kilometre (61,583 sq mi) tract dubbed Essequibo River or the Guayana Esequiba Zona en Reclamación (the "zone under dispute"). Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America;   the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north, especially in the capital (Caracas) which is also the largest city in Venezuela. 
The territory now known as Venezuela was
in 1522 amid resistance from indigenous peoples. In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American territories to colonized by Spain , which was not securely established until 1821, when Venezuela was a department of the federal republic of declare independence . It gained full independence as a country in 1830. During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political turmoil and autocracy, remaining dominated by regional Gran Colombia (military strongmen) until the mid-20th century. Since 1958, the country has had a series of democratic governments. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to several political crises, including the deadly caudillos riots of 1989, Caracazo , and the impeachment of President two attempted coups in 1992 for embezzlement of public funds in 1993. A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the Carlos Andrés Pérez of former coup-involved career officer 1998 election and the launch of the Hugo Chávez . The revolution began with a Bolivarian Revolution , where a new Constitution of Venezuela was written. This new constitution officially changed the name of the country to 1999 Constituent Assembly Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( : Spanish República Bolivariana de Venezuela).
Oil was discovered in the early 20th century, and today, Venezuela has the world's
and has been one of the world's leading largest known oil reserves . Previously, the country was an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as exporters of oil and coffee , but oil quickly came to dominate exports and government revenues. The cocoa led to an 1980s oil glut and a long-running economic crisis. external debt crisis peaked at Inflation and poverty rates rose to 66% in 1995 as (by 1998) 100% in 1996 per capita fell to the same level as 1963, down a third from its 1978 peak. The recovery of GDP in the early 2000s gave Venezuela oil funds not seen since the 1980s. The Venezuelan government under oil prices then established Hugo Chávez populist policies that initially boosted the Venezuelan economy and increased social spending, temporarily social welfare reducing  and economic inequality in the early years of the regime. poverty In 2013, Hugo Chávez died, shortly after being elected to a fourth term, and was succeeded by Nicolás Maduro, elected by a narrow majority in a widely disputed election. Maduro continued the populist policies of Chávez, but with disastrous results.  The nation's economy collapsed because of their excesses—including a uniquely extreme fossil fuel subsidy  —and are widely blamed for destabilizing the nation's economy. The destabilized economy led to a  , resulting in crisis in Venezuela , an hyperinflation , economic depression  shortages of basic goods and drastic increases in unemployment,  poverty,  disease, child mortality, malnutrition and crime. These factors have precipitated the  where more than three million people have fled the country. Venezuelan migrant crisis By 2017, Venezuela was declared to be in  regarding debt payments by default . credit rating agencies  In 2018, the country's economic policies led to extreme  , with estimates expecting an inflation rate of 1,370,000% by the end of the year and 10,000,000% in 2019. hyperinflation  Venezuela is a charter member of the  , UN , OAS , UNASUR , ALBA , Mercosur and LAIA . OEI
According to the most popular and accepted version, in 1499, an expedition led by
visited the Venezuelan coast. The Alonso de Ojeda in the area of stilt houses reminded the Italian navigator, Lake Maracaibo , of the city of Amerigo Vespucci , Italy, so he named the region Venice Veneziola, or "Little Venice". The Spanish version of Veneziola is Venezuela.
, a member of the Vespucci and Ojeda crew, gave a different account. In his work Martín Fernández de Enciso Summa de geografía, he states that the crew found who called themselves the indigenous people Veneciuela. Thus, the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from the native word.
Previously, the official name was
(1830–1856), Estado de Venezuela República de Venezuela (1856–1864), (1864–1953), and again Estados Unidos de Venezuela (1953–1999).
República de Venezuela