Venezuela : General History and Natural Features
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This book presents the general history of Venezuela, from its conquest, settlement and colonial period to the modern days; and the natural features of the country. Venezuela is a republic of South America, facing the Caribbean sea. "On his third voyage in 1498 Columbus sighted the Venezuelan coast just south of the Windward Islands. A year later, Alonso de Ojeda saw the mainland at about the same place and skirted the coast for four hundred miles west without finding any important break in a line of mountains which rose almost directly from the sea to a height of three to nine thousand feet, covered to their very tops with luxuriant vegetation. But there was no such barrier as that made by the main Andes on the Pacific; the passes were only half a mile instead of nearly three miles high; the slopes were not dry and desolate as in Peru, or covered with a tangled mass of forest as in Pacific Columbia and Ecuador. Just beyond the harbour where Puerto Cabello now stands, the coast-line turned abruptly to the north-west, leaving the mountains farther inland, but the intervening plain was swampy and uninviting. Still following west, Ojeda rounded Cape San Roman and turned south into the great Gulf of Maracaibo. There he saw Indian villages of houses built on piles near the shallow shores, and he called the place Venezuela—"little Venice,"—a name shortly extended to the whole coast from the mouth of the Orinoco west to the forbidding and uninhabitable peninsula of Goajira, which forms the western promontory of the Gulf of Maracaibo..."
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