Venezuela - national flag
The flag in its current form was officially adopted in 1954, but originates
from the flag hoisted in 1806 by Francisco de Miranda (see also Colombia
(national flag)). The colors white, blue, red and yellow today represent the
populations of whites, blacks, people of African-European descent and
Indians. The stars, one for each of the original provinces, were first used in
1817. The number of stars has varied.
What does the flag of Venezuela look like? Follow this link, then you will
see the image in PNG format and flag meaning description about this country.
Venezuela - history
Before the Spanish colonization, the land was inhabited by peoples belonging
to different language and cultural groups in resp. the coastal region, the Andes
Mountains, the Highlands of Guyana and the Amazon.
Christoffer Columbus reached the eastern part of Venezuela's coast in 1498,
where the possibility of pearl fishing in 1510 led to a Spanish settlement on
the island of Cubagua and soon after on the nearby Margarita. Around 1520, the
construction of a fortress near the later port city of Cumaná on the
continent followed. The Spanish possessions expanded during the 1500's. to the
valleys of the central coastal area and the Andes, and the indigenous peoples
were overcome and integrated into colonial society as labor on
plantations. Cocoa, indigo, tobacco, cotton and other tropical crops, along with
cattle ranching, formed the economic basis of the colony. African slaves were
used on the plantations along the coast.
The areas west of Lake Maracaibo, the highlands to the SW and the rainforest
to the south were for centuries only slightly affected by the Spanish
presence. Venezuela area belonged administratively attached to the Audiencia of
Santo Domingo. From 1739 it came under the Viceroyalty of New Granada with
capital of Bogotá, but in connection with the Spanish Crown's efforts to make
the administration more efficient, a local audience was established in 1786
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The era of independence
Around 1800, there was some dissatisfaction in the economic elite with the
colonial power's monopoly on trade and political administration, but the fear of
losing control of the majority of the population, especially the slaves, limited
the desire for independence. This changed with Napoleon's invasion of Spain and
the ouster of the Spanish king in 1808. France failed to assert its authority in
the colonies, and therefore in 1810 the city council of Caracas declared the
colony self-governing, and the following year the Republic of Venezuela was
proclaimed. This was followed by a ten-year civil war between the Republican
rebels and the royalists who were loyal to the Spanish throne. After the defeat
of Napoleon, the Spanish king was reinstated in 1814 and had some success in
recapturing the lost territories of America.
However, the ability of local landowner and officer Simón Bolívar to lead the
Republicans, attract British auxiliary troops, and reconcile with the rebel
settlers under José Antonio Páez led to new progress for the rebels. In 1819,
the Republic of Colombia was proclaimed comprising the entire Viceroyalty of New
Granada. The uprising against autocracy in Spain in 1820 weakened the royalists
and enabled the republican victories in 1821. Subsequently, internal power
struggles arose, and General Páez's efforts to secede from Venezuela were
completed in 1830.
José Antonio Páez became the first president of the Republic of Venezuela,
and his strong military and personal power also secured him influence for a
number of years after the end of his term. He is therefore considered the
country's first major caudillo. During the 1800's. coffee became the country's
most important export, and foreign trade slipped into foreign, especially
British, hands. Independence did not bring about social change, and it was not
until 1854 that slavery was finally abolished. Simultaneously with various
caudilloers' struggle for power in the country, a party system developed as in
the other Spanish-American countries. It consisted of the centralist, Catholic
conservatives vis-à-vis the liberals, who formally fought for a federal state
and a restriction of the influence of the church. In practice, however, the
parties became a simple path to power rather than an ideologically based
system. The power struggles led several times to a state of war; the period
1859-63 is referred to as the Civil War.
The appointment of Antonio Guzmán Blanco (1829-99) as interim president in
1870 and his retention of power for 19 years became a high point in terms of
personal assertiveness, earnings and the exercise of power. Growing foreign debt
in the latter part of the 1800's. led in 1902 under dictator Cipriano Castro
(1859-1924) to the blockade of Venezuela's main ports by Britain, Germany and
Italy. The crisis was mitigated by the intervention of the United States in
1903, but in 1904 the European powers were upheld by the Permanent Court of
Arbitration in The Hague. Cipriano Castro's vice president, Juan Vicente Gómez,
took power in 1908. He established good relations abroad, but at the same time
initiated another protracted and brutal dictatorship.
In the early 1900-t. began a systematic exploitation of the country's oil
wealth, and extensive foreign investment took place. Venezuela, however, was for
a long time an agricultural country, and about 90% of the population was
illiterate at the death of Juan Vicente Gómez in 1935.
Democratization from 1936
Now began a slow process of democratization, which led to local elections in
1945. That same year, a military coup paved the way for the inauguration of a
new political government, led by the founder of the new Social Democratic Party
Acción Democrática, Rómulo Betancourt. Presidential elections were held in
1947; the ruling party won big, and the author Rómulo Gallegosbecame in 1948 the
country's first elected president. A few months later another military coup took
place; the new government banned the Acción Democrática, whose leaders went into
exile. A military uprising in 1958 led to new elections, and Betancourt took
office in 1959 as president. The new government implemented land reforms in
1960, but also came to face the challenge of radical guerrilla groups operating
in the country through the 1960's. The 1968 election was won by Rafael Caldera
(1916-2009) from the Christian Democratic Party COPEI (Comité Pro-Elecciones
In 1960, Venezuela, together with Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, formed
the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC. The cooperation
led to rising oil prices on the world market from 1973, and with that came a
colossal prosperity for Venezuela.
Under Social Democrat President Carlos Andrés Pérez, the oil industry was
taken over by the state in 1976, and major government investments were
subsequently made in industry, construction and education, but part of the
prosperity led to extensive luxury consumption of imported goods and a weakening
of domestic production.. The state's strong participation in the social economy
and its significant share of export earnings led to the development of one of
the capitalist world's most developed planned economies with control of
employment, production and prices through subsidization of goods and services.
The sharp fall in oil prices in the first half of the 1980's brought Venezuela
into a protracted economic and political crisis with social unrest and coup
attempts. The government tried to maintain the economic role of the state, but
with the election of Carlos Andrés Pérez, who was considered the miracle worker
of the 1970's, a privatization and liberalization program was launched from
1989. It met with massive resistance; in 1992, a coup attempt led by
officer Hugo Chávez was thwarted, and the following year, Carlos Andrés Pérez
was deposed on charges of corruption. The continuing economic problems led in
1998 to the election of Hugo Chávez, at the head of a newly formed protest
movement, as president. Divisions within the movement have led to increased
criticism of Chávez, but popular support remained significant.
Hugo Chávez, who took over the presidency in 1999, consolidated his position
by being re-elected in 2000 with 59% of the vote, but his popularity then
dropped drastically. He increased social budgets for the benefit of his core
voters, the poor, but ran into headwinds as he tried in vain to seize power in
the country's largest union. The protests in the big cities grew as he decreed
higher taxes in the oil sector and a major land reform. It led to general
strikes and mass demonstrations, as well as a failed one-and-a-half-day coup
attempt in April 2002. A politically weakened Chávez then promised to lead a
more conciliatory line.
Hugo Chávez 'still had a large part of the population against him; in 2004
there was a referendum on his policy which he however won by approximately 58% of the
votes. International observers approved the vote. The opposition boycotted a
parliamentary election in 2005, so all seats were filled by candidates who were
positive about Chávez.
In foreign policy, Chávez increasingly distanced himself from the United
States and sought to create a regional network of Latin American countries. He
strengthened ties with a number of Caribbean countries, notably Cuba and its
leader Fidel Castro, but also
with Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil. On the global stage,
Venezuela gained closer ties to e.g. Russia and Iran.
In 2006, Hugo Chávez was elected president for the third time. It sparked
international criticism when parliament in early 2007 gave Chávez the right to
rule for 18 months. decree as part of the efforts to implement comprehensive
nationalizations, in the energy sector.
Hugo Chávez has in several cases taken on the role of mediator in relation to
the Colombian rebel movement FARC, and the release of six hostages in early
2008 was a propaganda victory for him.
A tense relationship with Colombia developed into a real diplomatic crisis
after the Colombian military on Ecuadorian territory killed one of the FARC
In 2012, a then cancer-stricken Chávez won another term, but he died the
following year. Vice President Nicolás Maduro then took over the presidency and
promised to continue the policy of his predecessor. In the spring of 2014, there
were protests against the government, which led to violent riots with 28 killed
The persistent dissatisfaction with the government, which did not prove able
to solve problems around a very high rate of violent crime, a galloping
inflation as well as major social problems, resulted in December 2015 in a
landslide victory for the opposition in the parliamentary elections. During the
continuing economic crisis, in 2016 the Maduro government launched measures such
as a two-day working week for public employees, devaluation, raised petrol
prices and decreed that all public or private employees in the country could be
discharged for two months' work in the food sector.