Sites & cities that bear the name of Caracas


Today in : Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
First trace of activity : 1567 C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Santiago de León de Caracas

Description : Caracas officially Santiago de León de Caracas, abbreviated as CCS, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela, and the center of the Metropolitan Region of Caracas (or Greater Caracas). Caracas is located along the Guaire River in the northern part of the country, within the Caracas Valley of the Venezuelan coastal mountain range (Cordillera de la Costa). 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 Region of Caracas has an estimated population of almost 5 million inhabitants. Before the city was founded in 1567, the valley of Caracas was populated by indigenous peoples. Francisco Fajardo, the son of a Spanish captain and a Guaiqueri cacica, who came from Margarita, began establishing settlements in the area of La Guaira and the Caracas valley between 1555 and 1560. Fajardo attempted to establish a plantation in the valley in 1562 after these unsuccessful coastal towns, but it did not last long: it was destroyed by natives of the region led by Terepaima and Guaicaipuro. Fajardo's 1560 settlement was known as Hato de San Francisco, and another attempt in 1561 by Juan Rodríguez de Suárez was called Villa de San Francisco, and was also destroyed by the same native people. The eventual settlers of Caracas came from Coro, the German capital of their Klein-Venedig colony around the present-day coastal Colombia–Venezuela border; from the 1540s, the colony had been de facto controlled by Spaniards. Moving eastward from Coro, groups of Spanish settlers founded inland towns including Barquisimeto and Valencia before reaching the Caracas valley. On 25 July 1567, Captain Diego de Losada laid the foundations of the city of Santiago de León de Caracas. De Losada had been commissioned to capture the valley, and was successful by splitting the natives into different groups to work with, then fighting and defeating each of them. The town was the closest to the coast of these new settlements, and the colonists retained a native workforce, which allowed a trade network to develop between Caracas, the interior, and Margarita; the towns further inland produced ample cotton products and beeswax, and Margarita was a rich source of pearls. The Caracas valley had a good environment for both agricultural and arable farming, which contributed to the system of commerce but meant that the town's population was initially sparse, as it was only large enough to support a few farms. In 1577, Caracas became the capital of the Spanish Empire's Venezuela Province under the province's new governor, Juan de Pimentel (1576–1583). In the 1580s, Caraqueños started selling food to the Spanish soldiers in Cartagena, who often docked in the coastal city when collecting products from the empire in South America. Wheat was growing increasingly expensive in the Iberian Peninsula, and the Spanish profited from buying it from Caracas farmers. This cemented the city in the empire's trade circuit.

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