Venezuela is a country on the South American continent. It comprises a continental mainland and numerous islands in the Caribbean Sea. It borders Guyana to the east, Brazil to the south, and Colombia to the west. Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia, Barbados, Curaçao, Bonaire, Aruba, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Leeward Antilles lie just north, off the Venezuelan coast. Falling within the tropics, Venezuela sits close to the Equator, in the Northern Hemisphere.
A former Spanish colony, Venezuela holds territorial disputes with Guyana, largely concerning the Essequibo area, and in the past with Colombia concerning the Gulf of Venezuela. There was a Venezuelan Boundary Crisis in 1985. Today, Venezuela is known widely for its petroleum industry, the environmental diversity of its territory, and its natural features. Venezuela is considered to be among 17 of the most megadiverse countries in the world.
Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America; the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north, especially in the largest metropolis, Caracas. Other major cities include Maracay, Maracaibo, Barquisimeto, Valencia, and Ciudad Guayana. Venezuela is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
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