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Venezuela: Key facts

Venezuela is a diverse country of natural beauty, rich in oil and mineral resources.

Spain colonised the region for 300 years before it was liberated by the revolutionary Simon Bolivar in 1821 and became independent in 1830.

After almost a century under dictatorial strongmen, oil was discovered in the Maracaibo Basin and Venezuela changed from a poor, largely agrarian country into one of the richest in Latin America.

Oil revenues ensured prosperity in the 1960s and 1970s but a drop in oil prices during the 1980s hit the economy, pushed up foreign debt and led to civil unrest.

Venezuela map

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