Latin American Urbanization: Historical Profiles of Major Cities

By Gerald Michael Greenfield | Go to book overview

21
VENEZUELA

Gerald Michael Greenfield


INTRODUCTION

The sixth largest nation in Latin America, Venezuela's 352,000 square miles of territory embrace four geographical regions: "the Northern Mountains and adjacent hill country in the northwest, which includes the Segovia Highlands; the Maracaibo Lowlands, bordering on Lake Maracaibo and the Gulf of Venezuela; the Orinoco Lowlands, extending eastward from the Colombian frontier into the Orinoco Delta; and the Guiana Highlands, south of the Orinoco River, a mixture of tropical savanna grasslands and tropical forest" ( Weil et al. 1971:1). Venezuela's coastline extends some 1750 miles along the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. While, along this coast, Spaniards established their initial settlements, which served both as points of contact with the sea-linked Spanish empire and as bases for inland exploration, the settlements that would have the most significance were those in the valleys of the Northern Mountains, somewhat inland from the coast ( Weil et al. 1971:1). 1 Caracas, the national capital, and such other major cities as Valencia and Maracay are located in this region, which comprises "the political and economic center of Venezuela" ( Lombardi 1982:20). Moving away from this area, beyond the coastal mountain valleys, there are few sizable cities. The most significant inland urban centers are Barquisimeto and Ciudad Guayana ( Robin and Terzo 1972:5).

The Orinoco Lowlands, commonly known as the llanos or plains, throughout most of Venezuelan history remained a lightly settled area, best known for cattle raising and for its inhabitants, the llaneros or plainsmen, hardy cowboys who played a significant fighting role in the wars of independence. The Guiana Highlands, which include both plains and mountain ranges and account for some 50 percent of the national territory, also long remained an area of sparse settlement. This relative unimportance notwith-

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Latin American Urbanization: Historical Profiles of Major Cities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • 1: ARGENTINA 1
  • Introduction 1
  • Bibliography 37
  • 2: BOLIVIA 39
  • Introduction 39
  • Notes 60
  • References 60
  • 3: BRAZIL 62
  • Introduction 62
  • Note 104
  • References 104
  • 4: CHILE 106
  • Introduction 106
  • Notes 131
  • References 131
  • 5 - COLOMBIA 134
  • Introduction 134
  • Note 157
  • References 157
  • 6: COSTA RICA 159
  • Introduction 159
  • Note 171
  • References 171
  • 7: CUBA 173
  • Introduction 173
  • References 186
  • 8: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 188
  • Introduction 188
  • Note 213
  • Bibliography 214
  • 9: ECUADOR 215
  • Introduction 215
  • References 249
  • 10: EL SALVADOR 252
  • Introduction 252
  • Notes 270
  • References 270
  • 11: GUATEMALA 273
  • Introduction 273
  • Notes 290
  • References 291
  • 12: HAITI 294
  • Introduction 294
  • Note 311
  • References 311
  • 13: HONDURAS 313
  • Introduction 313
  • References 328
  • 14: JAMAICA 331
  • Introduction 331
  • References 347
  • 15: MEXICO 350
  • Introduction 350
  • References 391
  • 16: NICARAGUA 396
  • Introduction 396
  • References 414
  • 17: PANAMA 416
  • Introduction 416
  • Note 425
  • Bibliography 425
  • 18 - PARAGUAY 427
  • Introduction 427
  • Bibliography 444
  • 19: PERU 446
  • Introduction 446
  • Note 466
  • References 466
  • 20: URUGUAY 468
  • Introduction 468
  • Bibliography 484
  • 21: VENEZUELA 486
  • Introduction 486
  • Note 508
  • References 508
  • SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 511
  • Index 517
  • ABOUT THE EDITOR AND CONTRIBUTORS 533
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