Venezuela, formally the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Spanish: Repblica Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a South American nation with a continental mainland and several Caribbean islands and islets. It has a land area of 916,445 km2 (353,841 sq mi) and a population of 28 million people in 2019. Caracas is the capital and biggest urban agglomeration.
The Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean border the country on the north, Colombia on the west, Brazil on the south, Trinidad and Tobago on the north-east, and Guyana on the east. Venezuela has a claim against Guyana for Guayana Esequiba. Venezuela is a federal presidential republic made up of 23 states, the Capital District, and federal dependencies that include the country's outlying islands. Venezuela is one of the most urbanized nations in Latin America, with the great majority of Venezuelans residing in northern and capital cities.
The land of Venezuela was conquered by Spain in 1522, despite indigenous peoples' resistance. It was one among the first Spanish-American areas to proclaim independence from the Spanish and became a department of Colombia's first federal republic in 1811. (historiographically known as Gran Colombia). It became a fully independent nation in 1830. Venezuela experienced political turbulence and despotism throughout the nineteenth century, and was governed by regional military dictators until the mid-twentieth century. Since 1958, the nation has enjoyed a succession of democratic administrations, with the exception of the majority of the area being controlled by military dictatorships, and the time has been marked by economic prosperity. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s triggered significant political crises and widespread social unrest, including the fatal Caracazo riots in 1989, two failed coups in 1992, and the impeachment of a President on allegations of misuse of public money in 1993. The 1998 Venezuelan presidential election served as the trigger for the Bolivarian Revolution, which started with a 1999 Constituent Assembly in which a new Venezuelan Constitution was enforced. Soaring oil prices aided the government's populist social welfare measures, temporarily raising social expenditure and lowering economic inequality and poverty in the early years of the dictatorship. Poverty, on the other hand, started to rise in the 2010s. The 2013 Venezuelan presidential election was extensively contested, resulting in major protests and a new statewide crisis that continues to this day.
Venezuela is a developing nation with a Human Development Index ranking of 113th. It contains the world's biggest known oil reserves and has historically been one of the world's main oil exporters. Previously, the nation was a developing exporter of agricultural commodities such as coffee and cocoa, but oil swiftly overtook exports and government earnings. The incumbent government's excesses and bad policies led to the collapse of Venezuela's entire economy. The nation is dealing with record hyperinflation, food shortages, unemployment, poverty, sickness, high child mortality, malnutrition, terrible crime, and corruption. These reasons have contributed to the Venezuelan migration crisis, in which over three million people have left the nation. Credit rating firms declared Venezuela to be in default on debt payments by 2017. Venezuela's crisis has exacerbated a fast worsening human rights situation, including intensified violations such as torture, arbitrary detention, extrajudicial murders, and assaults on human rights activists. Venezuela is a founding member of the United Nations (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), ALBA, Mercosur, the Latin American Integration Association (LAIA), and the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI).