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Maracaibo History, Venezuela

Maracaibo History – Early Settlement and Situation

The foundation of Maracaibo is due to the German conquiztador Ambrosius Ehinger, who made an expedition to Lake Maracaibo and settled down in what he then called “New Nuremberg” in August 1529. The settlement was made on the Western side of the lake, which is known for its oil resources and favorable winds, thus giving it an excellent harbor location. However, it also meant that the rest of Venezuela couldn’t be reached only by boat, so the trade routes with Columbia developed much faster. This situation carried on for 390 years, during which Maracaibo would learn to use its isolation as an advantage.

Maracaibo History – The People and the Sights

Maracaibo history has many testimonies about how isolation turned the people from Maracaibo into excellent swimmers and divers and about how they would raise cattle and try to provide for themselves, as all road communication to the rest of the territory, including the cities of Maturin and Barquisimeto, was impossible. At the same time, the local population gained independence and developed their own system of thought as well as their own beliefs, one of which was to become independent politically from the mother country Venezuela, but this never came to be.

Maracaibo History – The Bridge Project

Starting with the 1950s the perspective upon the location of Maracaibo changed, and the dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez decided to order the building of a bridge that would connect the city to the rest of the country. This decision was a landmark in Maracaibo history, as different projects started being made in order to bring the people from Maracaibo closer in thought to the other inhabitants of Venezuela. The first was very elaborate and implied railways and tourist facilities, but after the fall of Jimenez a more reasonable and democratic project was approved. This was finished and ready for use in 1962, after 40 scheduled months of work. It is still the largest concrete bridge in the world to this day and assures a perfect connectivity between the once isolated Maracaibo and the rest of Venezuela.

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