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Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela[a]
{{safesubst:#invoke:Separated entries|br}}
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Gloria al Bravo Pueblo
and largest city

| |name=

Official language Spanish
Ethnic groups (2011<ref name=Census-ethnics>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation


Demonym Venezuelan
Government Federal presidential constitutional republic
 -  President Nicolás Maduro (PSUV)
 -  Vice President Jorge Arreaza (PSUV)
 -  President of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello (PSUV)
Legislature National Assembly
 -  from Spain 5 July 1811 
 -  from Gran Colombia 13 January 1830 
 -  Recognized 30 March 1845 
 -  Current constitution 20 December 1999 
 -  Total 916,445 km2 (33rd)
353,841 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 0.32[d]
 -  2014 estimate census 33,221,865<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation


}}</ref> (44th)
 -  Density 30.2/km2 (181st)
77/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2014 estimate
 -  Total $538.922 billion<ref name=imf2>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation


 -  Per capita $17,694<ref name=imf2/>
GDP (nominal) 2014 estimate
 -  Total $205.787 billion<ref name=imf2/>
 -  Per capita $6,756<ref name=imf2/>
Gini (2006)46.9<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation


HDI (2013)Decrease 0.764<ref name="HDI">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation


high · 67th
Currency Bolívar fuerte[e] (VEF)
Time zone VET (UTC–4½)
Drives on the right
Calling code +58
ISO 3166 code VE
Internet TLD .ve
a. ^ The "Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" has been the full official title since the adoption of the new Constitution of 1999, when the state was renamed in honor of Simón Bolívar.
b. ^ The Constitution also recognizes all indigenous languages spoken in the country.
c. ^ Some important subgroups include those of Spanish, Italian, Amerindian, African, Portuguese, Arab and German descent.
d. ^ Area totals include only Venezuelan-administered territory.
e. ^ On 1 January 2008, a new bolivar was introduced, the bolívar fuerte (ISO 4217 code VEF) worth 1,000 VEB.

Venezuela ({{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}} VEN-ə-ZWAYL; Spanish: [beneˈswela]), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Spanish: República Bolivariana de Venezuela{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}), is a federal republic located on the northern coast of South America. It is bordered by Colombia on the west, Brazil on the south, Guyana on the east, and the islands of Trinidad and Tobago to the north-west. Venezuela's territory covers around {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} with an estimated population around 33,221,865. Venezuela is considered a state with extremely high biodiversity, with habitats ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon Basin rain-forest in the south, via extensive llanos plains and Caribbean coast in the center and the Orinoco River Delta in the east.

The territory currently known as Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 amid resistance from indigenous peoples. In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American colonies to declare independence, which was not securely established until 1821, when Venezuela was a department of the federal republic of Gran Colombia. It gained full independence as a separate country in 1830. During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political turmoil and autocracy, remaining dominated by regional caudillos (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 Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, and the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez for embezzlement of public funds in 1993. A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 election of former coup-involved career officer Hugo Chávez and the launch of the Bolivarian Revolution, beginning with a 1999 Constituent Assembly to write a new Constitution of Venezuela.

Venezuela is a federal presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District (covering Caracas), and federal dependencies (covering Venezuela's offshore islands). Venezuela also claims all Guyanese territory west of the Essequibo River, a {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} tract dubbed Guayana Esequiba or the Zona en Reclamación (the "zone being reclaimed").<ref name="Geneva Agreement, 17 February 1966">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America;<ref name="encartaSA"></ref><ref name="UNpopstats">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> 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.

Since the discovery of oil in the early 20th century, Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves and has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil. Previously an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as coffee and cocoa, oil quickly came to dominate exports and government revenues. The 1980s oil glut led to an external debt crisis and a long-running economic crisis, in which inflation peaked at 100% in 1996 and poverty rates rose to 66% in 1995{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} as (by 1998) per capita GDP fell to the same level as 1963, down a third from its 1978 peak.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}}

The recovery of oil prices in the early 2000s gave Venezuela oil funds not seen since the 1980s.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} The Venezuelan government then initiated populist/revisionist policies that initially boosted the Venezuelan economy and increased social spending, significantly reducing economic inequality and poverty.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}}<ref>Kevin Voigt (6 March 2013). Chavez leaves Venezuelan economy more equal, less stable. CNN. Retrieved 5 April 2014.</ref><ref>Dan Beeton and Joe Sammut (6 December 2013). Venezuela Leads Region in Poverty Reduction in 2012, ECLAC Says. Center for Economic and Policy Research. Retrieved 5 April 2014.</ref><ref>Venezuela Overview. The World Bank. Last updated Nov. 17, 2014:

  • "Economic growth and the redistribution of resources associated with these missions have led to an important decline in moderate poverty, from 50% in 1998 to approximately 30% in 2012. Likewise, inequality has decreased, reducing the Gini Index from 0.49 in 1998 to 0.39 in 2012, which is among the lowest in the region."</ref> Such populist policies were questioned since their initiation and the over dependence on oil funds led to overspending on social programs while strict government polices, which were initially supposed to prevent capital flight, created difficulties for Venezuela's import-reliant businesses.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation

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Venezuela under Hugo Chávez suffered "one of the worst cases of Dutch Disease in the world" due to the Bolivian government's large dependence on oil sales.<ref name=FPmarch2013>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> Poverty and inflation began to increase into the 2010s.<ref name="UN">Charlie Devereux & Raymond Colitt. March 7, 2013. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Venezuela devalued its currency in February 2013 due to the rising shortages in the country<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> with shortages in Venezuela including milk, flour, and other necessities and malnutrition then increasing, especially among children.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name=ECONeatCHAVISMO>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> In 2014, Venezuela entered an economic recession.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> In 2015, Venezuela had the world's highest inflation rate with the rate surpassing 100%, becoming the highest in the country's history.<ref name=FPblackbox>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> Economic problems, as well as crime and corruption, were some of the main causes of the 2014–15 Venezuelan protests.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>


In 1499, an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan coast. The stilt houses in the area of Lake Maracaibo reminded the navigator, Amerigo Vespucci, of the city of Venice, so he named the region Veneziola.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} The name acquired its current spelling as a result of Spanish influence,{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} where the suffix -uela is used as a diminutive term (e.g., plaza / plazuela, cazo / cazuela); thus, the term's original sense would have been that of a "little Venice".{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} The German term for the area, Klein-Venedig, also means little Venice (literally "small Venice").

Although the Vespucci story remains the most popular and accepted version of the origin of the country's name, Martín Fernández de Enciso, a member of the Vespucci and Ojeda crew, gave a different account. In his work Summa de geografía, he states that they found indigenous people who called themselves the Veneciuela. Thus, the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from the native word.<ref name="ICH_1958_386">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref>

Venezuela sections
Intro  History  Geography  Government and politics  States and regions of Venezuela  Economy  Demographics  Culture  Education  Health  See also  References  Bibliography  External links  

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