Venezuela is a country which is well known because of its easy-going, fun-loving, good-natured natured people. Most of the Venezuelans are from Indian, African and European roots. A very small minority is fully white, black or Indian. Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion, though one can find ethnic religious groups amongst the Amerindians.
The ancient population of Venezuela consisted of three main groups, the Carib, Arawak and the Chibcha. They were basically hunters and also practiced agricultural cultivation to some extent. The Chibha were the most advanced among these groups and lived on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains. They had already developed great skills in agriculture.
The coming of Christopher Columbus saw the coming in of Europeans to Venezuela, from the year 1498. He explored the country in detail and was followed by many more explorers. One among them was Alonso de Ojeda, who was instrumental in giving Venezuela, its name. Venezuela soon becomes an outpost for the mighty Spanish Empire. Ironically, Venezuela was also the birthplace of the man, who turned the empire on its head, namely Simon Bolivar. Simon Bolivar fought against the Spanish, with generous help from the British. He marched across the Andes and liberated Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia from the clutches of the Spanish Empire.
Once it became an independent nation, life was not easy at Venezuela. The country was once under the stranglehold of powerful military strongmen. Although the dictators promoted some form of social reforms, the country lagged behind other South American nations, for a long time, till 1959, when it embraced democracy. The oil boom in the 70’s saw the economy grow at a furious pace. Civil unrest shook the country in the 1990’s when oil prices dipped. In fact the country survived two coup attempts. Even today the country is passing through an indifferent phase, with things slowly taking a turn for good.
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