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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia For other uses, see Venezuela (disambiguation) . Venezuela (pronounced /ˌvɛnɨˈzweɪlə/  ( listen ) ; Spanish:  [beneˈswela] ), officially called theBolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( Spanish : República Bolivariana de Venezuela ), is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America . It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to theeast, and Brazil to the south. Its roughly 2 ,800  kilometres (1 ,700  mi) northern coastline includes numerous islands in the Caribbean Sea , and in the north east borders the northern AtlanticOcean . Caribbean islands such as Trinidad and Tobago , Grenada , Curaçao , Aruba and the Leeward Antilles lie near the Venezuelan coast. Venezuela's territory covers around 916 , 445  squarekilometres (353 ,841 sq mi) with an estimated population of 29 105 ,632. Venezuela is considered a country with extremely high biodiversity , with habitats ranging from the Andes mountains inthe west to the Amazon Basin rainforest in the south, via extensive llanos plains and Caribbean coast in the center and the Orinoco River Delta in the east. Venezuela was colonized by Spainin 1522 , overcoming resistance from indigenous peoples . It became the first Spanish American colony to declare independence ( in 1811 ), but did not securely establish independence until 1821 (initially as a department of the federal republic of Gran Colombia , gaining full independence in 1830). During the 19 th century Venezuela suffered political turmoil and dictatorship, and it wasdominated by regional caudillos (military strongmen) into the 20 th century. It first saw democratic rule from 1945 to 1948 , and after a period of dictatorship has remained democratic since1958 , during which time most countries of Latin America suffered one or more military dictatorships . Economic crisis in the 1980 s and 1990 s led to a political crisis which saw hundreds dead in...
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