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Margarita(märgärē`tä), island, 444 sq mi (1,150 sq km), in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela. With many smaller islands it constitutes the Venezuelan state of Nueva Esparta (1990 pop. 263,748). La Asunción is the capital; the economic center is Porlamar, where an important pearl-fishing industry exists. Other island industries produce canned fish, salt, fishing boats, ceramics, tiles, shoes, and sisal hats. The construction of a freshwater pipe from the mainland has spurred economic development, and Margarita has become a popular tourist resort. The island was sighted by Columbus in 1498 and was used (1561) as a base of operations by the Spanish adventurer Lope de AguirreAguirre, Lope de
, c.1510–1561, Spanish rebel and adventurer in colonial South America. He was often involved in violence and sedition before joining (1560) the expedition of Pedro de Ursúa down the Marañón and the Amazon.
..... Click the link for more information. . Because the people supported Simón BolívarBolívar, Simón
, 1783–1830, South American revolutionary who led independence wars in the present nations of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.
..... Click the link for more information. , Margarita and its neighboring islands were made a state after independence was won from Spain.
an island in the southeastern part of the Caribbean Sea; it belongs to Venezuela. Area, 850 sq km. The island consists of two mountain massifs with elevations to 988 m and 702 m, joined by a sandy isthmus with the large Arestinga Lagoon. The climate is subequatorial and arid. Vegetation consists of xerophytic shrubs and cacti, with forests that are green in the summer in the mountains. There are deposits of magnesite. Economic activities include cattle raising and tropical farming, fishing, and pearl fishing. There are seaside resorts, which attract tourists. The city of La Asuncion, the administrative center of the state of Nueva Esparta, is on Margarita. The island was discovered by Columbus in 1498.