Venezuela Geography

By | December 16, 2021

Venezuela is a federal state of South America, bordering to the East with Guyana, to the South with Brazil and to the West with Colombia ; to the N it overlooks the Caribbean Sea and a small part of the Atlantic Ocean, to the East of the island of Trinidad.

1.1 Morphology

The Venezuela is affected by at least three of the major morphological units of the South American continent: the Andes, of which includes the extreme north-eastern section; the alluvial lowland of the Orinoco ; a very large portion of the Guiana Plateau. The Venezuelan Andes (Cordillera di Mérida) extend for about 400 km, are formed by several parallel mountain alignments, separated by valleys and alluvial basins, and almost everywhere they remain above 4000 m asl (La Columna, 5007 m). They are a continuation of the reliefs that extend along the coast, up to the Caribbean Mountains which rise up to almost 2000, and which in turn continue on to the Caribbean islands. The lowland crossed by the Orinoco and its tributaries, commonly known as los llanos (“the plains”), occupies the middle section of the country for a good 300,000 km 2. In the south rises the Guiana Plateau, a Precambrian crystalline massif with tabular shapes, engraved from the high course of the Orinoco and its tributaries, mostly high between 1000 and 2000 m, but culminating at almost 2800 m in Cerro Roraima, at the southeastern end of the country. For Venezuela 2001, please check naturegnosis.com.

1.2 CLIMATE

Although the Venezuela extends between the equator and the parallel 12 ° N, and therefore in the equatorial climatic zone, its climatic picture is rather diversified. The only constant element, and moreover typical of the equatorial regions, is the very modest annual temperature range, which rarely exceeds 4-5 ° C; the average annual and monthly temperatures, with respect to which the excursion is evaluated, are instead very different in the Andean localities, in turn differentiated according to the altitude (also in Venezuela there is a distinction between tierras calientes, tierras templadas and tierras frias) and in those of the llanosand the coastal region. Precipitation is very abundant on the external slopes of the Andean ranges (Mérida, 1700 mm; but in the region it also exceeds 2000 mm) and on the Guiana Plateau (up to 2500 mm), while it is very scarce in the western section of the Caribbean coast (Maracaibo, 300 mm).

1.3 Hydrography

80% of the country’s territory is included in the Orinoco basin. The upper course of the river and its tributaries (the main one is the Caroní) takes place on the Guiana Plateau, where the waterways form numerous rapids and waterfalls, including the Salto Ángel, the highest waterfall in the world (978 m), on a tributary of the Caroní. The Orinoco flows into the Atlantic with one of the largest deltas on Earth; very rich in water, its lower course can also be navigated by large tonnage ships. Another notable hydrographic element is Lake Maracaibo – actually a lagoon, because it communicates with the Gulf of Maracaibo (Caribbean Sea) – 13,600 km 2 wide.

1.4 FLORA AND FAUNA The equatorial forest is present in a large part of the Guiana Plateau (although in some parts it is replaced by tree savannahs), in the Orinoco delta and in the more humid areas of the Caribbean coast; here it is often accompanied by mangrove formations. Typical region of savannas are the llanos, where the uniformity of the vegetation cover is interrupted by gallery forests along the waterways and by xerophilous scrubs; thickets are also present on the Caribbean reliefs. The sides of the Andean ranges are covered by forests that differ according to the altitude, and by high mountain meadows on the summits. ● The fauna is typical of the neotropical zoogeographic region, with platyrrhine monkeys, bats, rodents, maldentas, some carnivores (jaguar, puma, raccoon) and ungulates (tapir); incredibly numerous are the birds.

Population

Although the coast of Venezuela had been sighted and touched by C. Colombo during his third voyage (1498) and despite some attempts at European settlement already in the mid-14th century, the population slowly increased until the end of the 19th century. sec., also due to the unhealthy climate and malaria and other endemic diseases. In 1873, the residents were still less than 1,800,000 and the average density reached just 2 residents / km2. In the 20th century. the increase has taken on much more rapid rates: the population approached 4 million units in 1950 and 10.7 million in 1971, to reach almost 27 million in 2009. The population has therefore increased 7 times in 60 years: first of all due to a robust immigration flow favored by the growing oil exploitation (with a notable contribution of Italians); afterwards, above all due to the strongly positive natural balance, produced by a drastic drop in the mortality rate (just 5.1 ‰ in 2009), while the birth rate is still strong (20.6 ‰). Life expectancy is fairly high (about 75 years), but unemployment is high, the population in poverty is close to 38% according to official data, the income inequality is very high, compared to an average annual income per resident (12,875 dollars in 2007) which places the country among those with middle income. 93% of the population (2008) resides in urban areas: the capital Caracas, with 2 million residents (2009), Maracaibo (1.8 million, the main center of the oil industry), Valencia (1.4 million), Maracay (443,000) and then Barquisimeto and Ciudad Guayana again (founded as an industrial city in 1961 around a steel center) constitute the poles of a relatively balanced urban network on the functional level, although marked by extensive phenomena of precarious settlement; population densities are also recorded in the low Andean valleys. In inland regions, the population is thinning down to 6 residents/km2 in the state of Bolívar, which includes most of the llanos, and to less than 1 in the state of Amazonas.. ● Reduced the Amerindians (mostly settled in the State of Amazonas) to about 1% of the total, the population is made up of mestizos (almost 64%), whites (20%), African Americans (10%) and mulattoes. The official language is Spanish; the predominant religion is Catholic (93%) with a small presence of Protestants (2%).

Venezuela FAUNA