Caracas, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela.
It is located in the north of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range (Cordillera de la Costa).
The valley's temperatures are springlike.
Terrain suitable for building lies between 760 and 910 m (2,500 and 3,000 ft) above sea level.
The valley is close to the Caribbean Sea, separated from the coast by a steep 2200 m (7400 ft) high mountain range, Cerro Ávila; to the south there are more hills and mountains.
El Distrito Metropolitano de Caracas (Metropolitan District of Caracas) includes the Distrito Capital (the capital city proper) and four other municipalities in Miranda State including Chacao, Baruta, Sucre, and El Hatillo.
Official name: Santiago de León de Caracas
Nickname(s): La Sultana del Ávila ("The Sultana of the Ávila")
La Sucursal del Cielo ("Heaven's Branch (on Earth)"
Motto: Ave Maria Santisima, sin pecado concebida, en el primer instante de su ser natural.
("Hail Holiest Mary, conceived without sin, in the first instant of Your Natural Being.")
Coordinates: 10°30'N 66°55'W
Founded: July 25, 1567
- Total 1,930 km² (745.2 sq mi)
Elevation: 900 m (2,953 ft)
Population: (2001) - Total 2,762,259
- Density 1,431.5/km² (3,707.6/sq mi)
- Demonym caraqueño(a)
Time zone: VST (UTC-4:30)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC-4:30)
Postal code: 1010-A
Area code(s): 212
Website: alcaldiamayor.gob.ve (Spanish)
At the time of its founding, more than five hundred years ago, the valley of Caracas was populated by indigenous peoples.
Francisco Fajardo, the son of a Spanish captain and a Guaiqueri cacica, attempted to establish a plantation in the valley in 1562 after founding a series of coastal towns.
Fajardo's settlement did not last long.
It was destroyed by natives of the region led by Terepaima and Guaicaipuro.
This was the last rebellion on the part of the natives.
On July 25, 1567, Captain Diego de Losada laid the foundations of the city of Santiago de León de Caracas.
During the 1600s, the coast of Venezuela was frequently raided by pirates.
With the coastal mountains as a barrier, Caracas was relatively immune to such attacks – one of the reasons it became the principal city of the region.
However, in the 1680s, buccaneers crossed the mountains through a little-used pass while the town's defenders were guarding the more often-used one, and, encountering little resistance, sacked and set fire to the town.
The cultivation of cocoa under the Compañia Guipuzcoana de Caracas stimulated the development of the city, which in 1777 became the capital of the Captaincy General of Venezuela.
An attempt at revolution to gain independence organised by José Maria España and Manuel Gual was put down on July 13, 1797.
But the ideas of the French Revolution and the American Wars of Independence inspired the people, and on July 5, 1811, a Declaration of Independence was signed in Caracas.
This city was also the birthplace of two of Latin America's most important figures of the Venezuelan War of Independence: Francisco de Miranda and "El Libertador" Simón Bolivar.
An earthquake destroyed Caracas on March 26, 1812, which was portrayed by authorities as a divine punishment for the rebellion against the Spanish Crown.
The war continued until June 24, 1821, when Bolivar gained a decisive victory over the royalists at the Battle of Carabobo.
During the 1950s, Caracas began an intensive modernization program which continued throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.
The Universidad Central de Venezuela, designed by modernist architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva and now a UNESCO monument, was built.
New working- and middle-class residential districts sprouted in the valley, extending the urban area towards the east and southeast.
Joining El Silencio, also designed by Villanueva, were several workers' housing districts, 23 de Enero and Simon Rodriguez.
Middle class developments include Bello Monte, Los Palos Grandes, Chuao, and El Cafetal.
On October 17, 2004, one of the Parque Central towers caught fire.
The dramatic change in the economic structure of the country, which went from being primarily agricultural to dependent on oil production, stimulated the fast development of Caracas, and made it a magnet for people in rural communities who migrated to the capital city in an unplanned fashion searching for greater economic opportunities.
This migration created the rancho (slum) belt of the valley of Caracas.
For more information about Caracas see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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