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Flag of Caracas
Caracas (Spanish pronunciation: ; locally ), officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital, the center of the Greater Caracas Area, and the largest city of Venezuela. Caracas is located along the Guaire River in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range (Cordillera de la Costa). Terrain suitable for building lies between 760 and 1,140 m (2,490 and 3,740 ft) above sea level, although there is some settlement above this range. The valley is close to the Caribbean Sea, separated from the coast by a steep 2,200-metre-high (7,200 ft) mountain range, Cerro El Ávila; to the south there are more hills and mountains.

The Metropolitan District of Caracas is made up of five municipalities: Libertador Municipality which is the only administrative division of the Venezuelan Capital District, and four other municipalities, which are within in Miranda State: Chacao, Baruta, Sucre, and El Hatillo. Libertador holds many of the government buildings and is the Capital District (Distrito Capital). The Distrito Capital had a population of 2,013,366 as of 2011, while the Metropolitan District of Caracas was estimated at 3,273,863 as of 2013. The Metropolitan Region of Caracas has an estimated population of 5,243,301.

Businesses in the city include service companies, banks, and malls. Caracas has a largely service-based economy, apart from some industrial activity in its metropolitan area. The Caracas Stock Exchange and Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) are headquartered in Caracas. PDVSA is the largest company in Venezuela. Caracas is also Venezuela's cultural capital, with many restaurants, theaters, museums, and shopping centers. Some of the tallest skyscrapers in Latin America are located in Caracas.

In 2015, Caracas had the highest per capita murder rates in the world, with 119 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Most murders and other violent crimes go unsolved.

At the time of the founding of the city in 1567, the valley of Caracas was populated by indigenous peoples. Francisco Fajardo, the son of a Spanish captain and a Guaiqueri cacica, attempted to establish a plantation in the valley in 1562 after founding a series of coastal towns. Fajardo's settlement did not last long. It was destroyed by natives of the region led by Terepaima and Guaicaipuro. This was the last rebellion on the part of the natives. On 25 July 1567, Captain Diego de Losada laid the foundations of the city of Santiago de León de Caracas. The foundation − 1567 – "I take possession of this land in the name of God and the King" These were the words of Don Diego de Losada in founding the city of Caracas on 25 July 1567. In 1577 Caracas became the capital of the Spanish Empire's Venezuela Province under Governor Juan de Pimentel (1576–1583).

During the 17th century, the coast of Venezuela was frequently raided by pirates. With the coastal mountains as a barrier, Caracas was relatively immune to such attacks. However, in 1595, around 200 English privateers including George Sommers and Amyas Preston crossed the mountains through a little-used pass while the town's defenders were guarding the more often-used one. Encountering little resistance, the invaders sacked and set fire to the town after a failed ransom negotiation.

This page was last edited on 19 February 2018, at 13:18.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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