A map of VenezuelaIn western Venezuela, the Andes Mountains stretch northwards to meet the coast. Inland, the River Orinoco winds across vast grasslands known as llanos. Some areas of these plains can flood by up to 1 metre (3 feet) during the rainy season, forming wetlands. In the south, rainforests cling to the slopes of the Guiana Highlands. This region is home to Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall. The sandy beaches of Venezuela’s coastline and its 72 islands form part of the region known as the Caribbean. Located just above the Equator, the lowlands of Venezuela have a tropical climate, with warm weather all year round and a hot, rainy season between May and October.
Nearly all Venezuelans live in towns and cities, mainly in the cooler northern uplands around the capital, Caracas. Throughout Venezuela’s history, people from many different cultures and ethnic groups have settled in the country, starting with Spanish colonists, who arrived in the 16th century. They were soon followed by Africans, brought to the country as slaves.
With its rich variety of ecosystems, Venezuela is one of the top ten most biodiverse countries on the planet: around 8000 of its animal species and 8000 of its plant species are unique to the country.
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