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Carabobo

Carabobo is one of the 23 states (estados) of Venezuela, located in the north of the country, about 2 hours by car from Caracas. The capital city of this state is Valencia, which is also the country's main industrial center. The state's area is 4,650 km² and had an estimated population of 2,227,000 in 2007.

Carabobo was the site of the Battle of Carabobo on June 24, 1821. This was a decisive win in the war of independence from Spain, and was led by Simón Bolívar.

Geography

Administrative regions

Carabobo has 14 municipalities:

Municipio Capital Population Area (km²) Density (inhab./km²) Parishes
Bejuma Bejuma 46041 469 98,17 Bejuma, Canoabo, Simón Bolívar
Carlos Arvelo Güigüe 149313 835 178,82 Güigüe, Belén, Tacarigua
Diego Ibarra Mariara 111938 79 1416,94 Aguas Calientes, Mariara
Guacara Guacara 174868 165 1059,81 Guacara, Yagua, Ciudad Alianza
Juan José Mora Morón 66269 453 146,29 Morón, Urama
Libertador Tocuyito 178904 558 320,62 Tocuyito, Independencia
Los Guayos Los Guayos 161341 73 2210,15 Los Guayos
Miranda Miranda (Carabobo) 28135 161 174,75 Miranda
Montalbán Montalbán 24154 107 225,74 Montalbán
Naguanagua Naguanagua 144308 188 767,70 Naguanagua
Puerto Cabello Puerto Cabello 196942 729 270,15 Bartolomé Salón, Democracia, Fraternidad, Goaigoaza, Juan José Flores, Unión, Borburata, Patanemo
San Diego San Diego 77154 106 727,87 San Diego
San Joaquín San Joaquín 62777 127 494,31 San Joaquín
Valencia Valencia 839926 623 1348,2 Candelaria, Catedral, El Socorro, Miguel Peña,Rafael Urdaneta, San Blas, San José, Santa Rosa, Negro Primero

The municipalities are made up of one or more civic parishes. Carabobo has a total of 38 parishes.

Terrain and soil

Around 75% of the region is covered by mountains that make up part of Venezuela's Cost Mountain Range. The highest peaks are found on the north and west of the state and south of the Valencia Lake. The Cobalongo or Caobal peak is the highest point of the state, at 1990 metres above sea level.

There is a central low plain around the Valencia Lake and towards the south, where Venezuela's Llanos start.

There is a large amount of anticlinals, synclinals, diaclases, fractures and faults. One of the most important is the one of the Victoria, south of Valencia. This area has moderate tectonic activity.

Mountains are very steep; some slopes are over 80%. On the plains, slopes are less than 1%. In the Tocuyito area, slopes can reach 5%.

There are a group of small islands off Puerto Cabello. The main ones are Isla Larga, Isla Santo Domingo, Isla Alcatraz and Isla del Rey. Isla Larga is the largest and is 1855 metres long. It makes part of the San Esteban National Park.

There are also a couple of islands on Lake Valencia. Some more have disappeared after the rise in sea level since the 1970s. Isla del Burro ("Donkey Island") is the largest island of the lake.

Carabobo's soils are fertile. Entisole soils predominate (above all Fluvents and Orthents). There are also threats of vertisoles with suborders of Usterts.

Fauna and flora

Fauna

Wild birds typical in Carabobo include: bengalí (Sporophila bouvronides), chirulí (Carduelis psaltria), various species of humming birds, guacharaca (Ortalis ruficauda), picoplata (Ramphocelus carbo)

Typical mammals inlcude peccaries, agoutis, deers, rabipelados, pumas (Felis concolor)

Reptiles include green iguanas, mapanares (Bothrops atrox), tigras mariposa (Bothrops venezuelensis) and boas constrictor. There are also coast crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus), which are under threat.

Flora

Carabobo has a typical tropical vegetation, including prosopis, apamates (Tabebuia rosea), camorucos, mahogany, cedars, guamos Carabobo palms, and Samanea saman.

On the coast there mangroves like the red Rhizophora mangle, as well as coconut trees (Cocoloba uvifera).

Environment

The Valencia Lake and several main rivers are very polluted. A large volume of residual water pours into them without any processing. In the mid-20th century, people could still bathe Valencia Lake. There have been various projects for improving the quality of its waters, but little progress has been made. Sewage regulations are often ignored. There are some processing plants in the area of Los Guayos, but this is far from optimal and does not cover all possible flows into the Valencia Lake.

There are also many unofficial rubbish depots that do not comply with international standards. The rapid demographic growth has lead to the loss of large forest and agricultural areas. Even if many regions around the Valencia Lake have been officially reserved for agricultural purposes, they are often being turned into urbanized zones.

History

Prehistory

First cultures

Humans were present in Valencia since the fourth millennium. Other regions of Carabobo like Bejuma have shown even older archaeological evidence.

The cultural centre of what would become Venezuela was located around the Valencia Lake. The native Americans in the region were hunters, gatherers, but also fishers and farmers. Many petroglyphs and ceramics remain from this time.

An important human settlement occurred around the Valencia Lake between 200 and 1000 AD. These people already practiced some kind of agriculture.

Second wave

At the end of the first millennium new populations started to arrive from the Orinoco region, probably via the El Pao River. From the eighth century onwards the Orinoco populations started to merge with the older groups. This fusion produced what is known as Valenciode culture . People lived in houses built on artificial mounds in the very fruitful valleys to the East and West of the Valencia Lake. They produced specially anthropomorphic sculptures.

Around the year 1200 the Valencoid culture reached the whole area of the Valencia Lake basin, the centre of Northern Venezuela and several islands in the Caribbean. The Indians would trade see products like the (Strombus gigas), salt (specially from the Paraguana Peninsula), turtles and fish from coral riffs. The trade took place in villages along the coast.

Taramainas, Tacariguas and other tribes inhabited the Valencia Lake region when the Europeans arrived. The different groups spoke mostly Arawac languages, but there were also several Carib groups.

The Indians grew maize, a typical product of Western South American cultures and also Manioc, a typical product of groups from the East. Many 'metates or grinding stones for maize as well as budares for the preparation of cassava remain from those times.

The Jirajara Indians from Nirgua (now a region between Yaracuy and Carabobo), would go to the Valencia Lake and from there through the mountains to the Sea at the level of Borburata to get salt.

European conquest and colonization

15th and 16th centuries

Villegas founded the town of Borburata in 1548. He founded Valencia in the central plains of the area in 1555.

In 1577 and 1583 the region of Valencia had a series of raids by Carib tribes coming from the Low Orinoco. The Spanish troops led by Garci-González repelled and persecuted them.

During the late 15th and 16th centuries, the region suffered many attacks by French and the British pirates. The town of Borburate was eventually abandoned for a long period, and the settlers be moved to Valencia which was less likely to be raided as it was a day walk from the Caribbean. Attacks included:

  • 1555: French pirates attacked Borburata for 6 days
  • 1564: British pirates lead by John Hawkins forced the Borburata settlers to trade.
  • 1566: Lowell attacked Borburata
  • 1567: French piates led by Nicolas Vallier invaded Borburata, which led people to abandon the town
  • 1568: John Hawkins attacked Borburata again and forced smuggling.

17th century

In 1624 Indians to the Northwest of the Valencia Lake established the settlement of Guacara.

Attacks by English and French pirates continued during a great part of the century. In 1659, the English pirate Myngs plundered Puerto Cabello on a raid that had taken him to Cumaná and later Coro. In 1677, Valencia was plundered by French pirates, who burnt down the Ayuntamiento or "City Hall" and destroyed most historical documents.

At the beginning of 1694, the governor of Venezuela, Francisco Berroterán, declared the growing Guacara, Los Guayos and San Diego doctrinas, "towns of Indians".

18th century

The Guipuzcoana company, a company organized by Basque entrepreneurs, received the monopoly of trade between Venezuela and the rest of the world. In that context, the company built in 1730 the haven of what would become Puerto Cabello.

In 1800, German scientist Alexander von Humboldt explored the area in his South American trip.

Independence war

Venezuela's independence was declared on 19 April 1810 in the Casa de la Estrella, in Valencia. The Independence act was signed there the next day, 5 July.

Several very important battles between Spanish royalist forces and the pro-Independence troops under Bolivar took place in the Carabobo region. The most important was the Battle of Carabobo, fought on 24 June 1821 and considered a key battle in the struggle for Venezuelan independence. After the battle, what was left of the Spanish forces holed up in the San Felipe Castle in Puerto Cabello until 10 November 1823, when they surrendered and left Venezuela.

Post-colonial times and civil war period

On 6 May 1830 the Congress of Valencia takes place. There, Venezuela declared the independence from the Great Colombia and Valencia was declared Venezuela's capital.

On 29 March 1832 the central government created the province of Barquisimeto from a part of Carabobo.

In 1858, during the March Revolution, Valencia became again capital of Venezuela.

On 27 April 1881 the central government reforms the administrative divisions and creates the state of Carabobo, which at that time had a part that later was given to Yaracuy.

20th century

During World War 2, the crews of several Italian ships and one German ship took refuge on the Puerto Cabello bay. On 31 March 1941, they set fire to their ships to prevent US troops from capturing them. A big fire in the haven of Puerto Cabello ensued. Several hundred marines were captured. Many of the Italians eventually would decide to settle down in Venezuela.

In the second half of the 20th century, Carabobo experienced a population explosion. Many immigrants arriving from Europe to Venezuela after WW2 settled down in Valencia and surrounding areas. From the 1970s onwards, immigration came mainly from other Latin American countries.

The first local elections for governors took place in 1988. Salas Römer became elected governor of Carabobo.

After the Vargas flood of 1999, thousands of homeless people from that area moved to Carabobo and settled in slums in the Naguanagua and Valencia regions.

Since 1999 and specially after 2004, Carabobo suffered a dramatic increase in crime. The state is now one of the areas with the highest murder rates in Venezuela.

Hugo Chávez's proposal for constitutional reform was defeated in Carabobo during the 2nd December 2007 referendom by 52.82% of the population.

Economy

Industry

The most important industries in Carabobo include food processing, textiles, galvanizing, chemical, petrochemical, metal-mechanic, car assembling, fuel, liquified gas, ceramics and paper factories. The industrial centres are located in southern Valencia and in Guacara. The state-owned petrochemical and oil industrial complex of PDVSA (Complejo de Refinería El Palito) is located on the western coast, close to Morón. A major oil distribution centre is in Yagua.

Service industry

The region is seat to important shopping and entertainment centres. Tourism, mainly local, plays an important role.

Agriculture

Carabobo has very productive soils for agriculture. There are important areas for farming in the North and South of the Valencia Lake. Unfortunately, high urbanization has led to the loss of very valuable lands that could otherwise be used for cultivations.

There are many farms of pigs and cows, specially to the South of the Valencia Lake and on the Western part of the state.

Tourism

  • Valencia's historical centre and parks
  • Valencia's Aquarium or Acuario de Valencia, which contains a large amount of endemic fish, as well as pink dolphins,

an insectarium and a small zoo with animals proper to Venezuela.

Education

The main university in the region is the University of Carabobo, with around 40000 students. There are also a series of private universities and colleges, like:

  • Universidad José Antonio Páez.
  • Universidad Tecnológica del Centro.
  • Universidad Arturo Michelena
  • Colegio Universitario Padre Isaías Ojeda (CUPIO)
  • Universidad Nacional Experimental Politécnica de la Fuerza Armada (Núcleos en Valencia y Puerto Cabello).
  • Universidad Nacional Experimental Simón Rodríguez (Decanato Valencia y Nucleo Canoabo)
  • Instituto Universitario de Tecnología Valencia
  • Universidad Santiago Mariño
  • Universidad Alejandro Humboldt

Science and Technology

Among the main research centres Carabobo counts with FUNDACITE (Foundation for the Development of Technology in Carabobo) as well as the University of Carabobo, specially the Faculty for Science and Technology.

Culture

Folklore

Carabobo's folklore shows the influence of Native American, European and African components, as in most of Venezuela. The coastal regions have many traditions heavily influenced by African traditions. The mountain regions have rather European and Native American influences.

Drum-based music is very popular in the towns along the coast, from Morón to the Patanemo area. On the 23rd June, those towns celebrate the cult to San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist). The village of Borburata is specially known for its festivities.

The town of Yagua has a Festivity of the Flowers (Fiesta de las Flores) starting with a procession to the nearby mountain, with a parade where the most different flower motives are shown through the village and the usual town celebrations.

Food

Carabobo's cuisine shares many components with other Venezuelan regions, like Cachapas, Arepas and Hallacas. Local specialities include:

Media

Newspapers

The main newspapers of the region are El Carabobeño and Notitarde.

Famous citizens of Carabobo

See also

References

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