A vivacious South American country.
Venezuela is situated over the equator, which means it mainly has a tropical (hot and humid) climate, except in the mountain areas where it is cooler. The hottest months in Venezuela are July and August, when the temperature can rise to above 38°C. From May to November, it is their winter. During this time it rains heavily in most parts of the country.
Spanish is the official and most commonly used language in the country. However, around 40 different languages are spoken in Venezuela, such as English, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, Arabic and a number of indigenous dialects.
Approximately 28 million people
Venezuela is found on the northern coast of South America, where it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. It also shares a border with Colombia, Guyana and Brazil. The country is home to a section of the snowy Andes mountains (which stretch over six other South American countries) and Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall.
The flag is made up of three horizontal stripes – yellow at the top, blue in the middle and red at the bottom. It also features the national coat of arms in the left-hand corner, and there are stars in an arc in the middle stripe representing the eight original provinces that were formed after independence in 1811.
Baseball is one of the most popular sports and many of the cities in Venezuela are represented by their own team. Deep-sea fishing is also popular, with an annual marlin tournament held in Venezuela in September.
Venezuela was discovered by Christopher Columbus in the 15th century. It remained a Spanish colony for more than 300 years until Simón Bolívar led the war to free Venezuela from Spanish rule. On 5 July 1811, Venezuela gained its independence, but for the next 100 years, the country was ruled by dictators. In 1947, Romulo Betancourt led a revolution that resulted in Venezuela’s first democratic election, but another dictator came into power. In 1963, Venezuela had its first peaceful election, when Raúl Leoni was elected as president. Hugo Chávez has been the country’s president since 1998.
The national currency is the Venezuelan bolivar (VEF). 1 VEF is worth about R1.96.
Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in Venezuela. Families put up a detailed nativity scene rather than Christmas trees.