Maracaibo

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Maracaibo

(märäkī`bō), city (1990 pop. 1,249,670), capital of Zulia state, NW Venezuela, at the outlet of Lake Maracaibo. It is Venezuela's second largest city, a commercial and industrial center, and the oil capital of South America. Besides oil, exports include lumber, processed textiles, and soap. Maracaibo was founded in 1571. In the 17th cent., it was sacked five times, notably by Sir Henry MorganMorgan, Sir Henry,
1635?–1688, Welsh buccaneer. In his youth he went to the West Indies, eventually joining the buccaneers there. On the death (1667) of Edward Mansfield, Morgan took his place as commander of the buccaneers.
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 in 1669. Until the establishment of the oil industry after 1918, Maracaibo was extremely underdeveloped; but exploitation by foreign interests of the vast petroleum resources of the Maracaibo basin resulted in a rapid expansion and modernization of the city. The dredging of the lake also increased Maracaibo's importance as a shipping point for inland products. The c.5-mi-long (8-km) Gen. Rafael Urdaneta Bridge is south of the city. Maracaibo has a university.

Maracaibo

 

a city and seaport in Venezuela, on the west bank of the strait that connects Lake Maracaibo and the Gulf of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea; administrative center of the state of Zulia. Population, 690,400 (1970).

Maracaibo is the center of Venezuela’s primary petroleum region (more than 75 percent of the country’s petroleum drilling) and the country’s second economic center after Caracas. In the city there are enterprises of the food-processing, textile, electrical-engineering, metalworking, automobile-assembly, paper, cement, and chemical industries; petrochemistry is being developed in the area. The port of Maracaibo is the largest in Venezuela in freight turnover and is one of the most important petroleum ports in the world; after construction of a canal, it became accessible to ocean vessels. It serves the petroleum fields and agricultural regions of Venezuela and Colombia adjacent to Lake Maracaibo. There is a university in the city. Maracaibo was founded in the second half of the 16th century.


Maracaibo

 

an intermontane depression in the northern Andes, in northwestern Venezuela, and partially (in the south-west) in Colombia.

Maracaibo has an area of about 60,000 sq km. It is surrounded by mountains on all sides except for an opening into the Gulf of Venezuela in the north. In the center of the basin is Lake Maracaibo. The region is composed of Cretaceous and Paleocene-Neocene petroleum-bearing sandstones and shales covered by alluvium. The Maracaibo petroleum and gas basin lies within the depression. The region has a hot, subequatorial climate with mean monthly temperatures from 27° to 29°C (mean annual temperature is 28.5°C, the highest in South America). The southern part of Maracaibo receives up to 1,500 mm of precipitation a year; it is marshy and covered by evergreen forests. In the north the amount of precipitation decreases to 500 mm, and the vegetation is composed of deciduous forests and brush and denuded savanna.


Maracaibo

 

a lake (lagoon) in Venezuela, south of the Gulf of Venezuela, with which it is linked by a shallow (2-4 m) strait.

Lake Maracaibo is located in an intermontane basin between the Sierra de Perija range in the west and the Sierra Nevada de Merida range in the east. Its area is 16,300 sq km; depths in the south reach 250 m. In the southern part of the lake the water is fresh; it is brackish in the north. The banks are lowlying and swampy. There is navigation on the lake.

Maracaibo

1. a port in NW Venezuela, on the channel from Lake Maracaibo to the Gulf of Venezuela: the second largest city in the country; University of Zulia (1891); major oil centre. Pop.: 2 182 000 (2005 est.)
2. Lake. a lake in NW Venezuela, linked with the Gulf of Venezuela by a dredged channel: centre of the Venezuelan and South American oil industry. Area: about 13 000 sq. km (500 sq. miles)
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