Venezuela was named after the Italian city of Venice by legendary navigator Amerigo Vespucci. The wetlands surrounding Lake Maracaibo reminded Vespucci of the lagoons of Venice.

Map by National Geographic Society
  • On July 5, 1811, Venezuela declared its independence from Spain. Venezuelan colonists rebelled against high taxes and a lack of self-rule. The colonists claimed independence as Napoleon invaded Spain, which threatened Spain’s ability to govern its colonies in the Americas. Although Venezuela declared independence, Spain resisted. The war for self-government continued for more than a decade.

    By the 20th century, most Latin American countries had gained independence from colonial powers. Today, the French overseas region of Guiana is the only remnant of European political power in the region.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    decade Noun

    10 years.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    independence Noun

    state or situation of being free.

    invasion Noun

    an attack or move to take possession.

    monarchy Noun

    system of government in which national power is invested in one person, usually a king or queen.

    prevent Verb

    to keep something from happening.

    region Noun

    any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

    Encyclopedic Entry: region
    remnant Noun

    something that is left over.

    tax Noun

    money or goods citizens provide to government in return for public services such as military protection.