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History of Venezuela: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

Find out about the country Columbus discovered on his third trip to the Americas. In this lesson, you will learn fascinating facts about the history of Venezuela.

Mysterious Sinkholes

If you were to hike into the jungle of Venezuela's Guiana Highlands, you would find a mysterious discovery! Mountains that are flat on top, or table-topped, rise up into the clouds. And if you were to climb up one of these mountains, called a tepui (pronounced te-pwe), you would find a forest at the top and maybe even a sinkhole! Sinkholes are holes in the ground and the ones found on the top of the Venezuelan tepuis are very deep. A whole other world lies within the sinkholes, including jungle forests that have been untouched for two billion years. The legends surrounding the tepuis are a part of Venezuela's fascinating history.

Tepui in Venezuela
tepui

Where Is Venezuela?

Venezuela is a country located on the continent of South America. It lies just above the equator. Venezuela has many different climates ranging from the hot and dry lowlands to the cooler Andes Mountains and the tropical Guiana Highlands. The Caribbean Sea borders northern Venezuela.

Map of Venezuela
Venezuela

Ancient Times

The first people of Venezuela lived off the plentiful land near the beaches and in the tropical forests and grasslands. The most successful of these people were the Chibcha. They lived by the Andes Mountains, which is the longest mountain range in the world! The Chibcha were skilled farmers. In fact, they created terraced fields that looked like steps along the side of a mountain. They also developed irrigation channels to water their crops.

Discovery

Did you know that Christopher Columbus made more than one trip to the Americas? On his third trip in 1498, he discovered Venezuela. Other explorers came and discovered native houses built on stilts, or poles, along Lake Maracaibo. This is how Venezuela got its name, which means 'Little Venice.' It reminded the Europeans of the Italian city Venice, which also has houses built along water.

Independence

Venezuela was colonized, or controlled, by the Spanish Empire beginning in 1522. But one man, named Simon Bolivar, wanted freedom. With the help of British mercenaries, which are professional soldiers who are paid, he liberated, or freed, not only Venezuela, but Columbia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Once free, Venezuela had trouble getting organized as a country. Venezuela suffered from wars and dictators who wanted complete control of the nation.

Hugo Chavez

In America a president can serve a maximum of eight years. However, this is not the case in many countries around the world. Hugo Chavez was the president of Venezuela from 1999 until 2013, a total of 14 years.

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