notification icon
Italiana.it app
All the best of italiani.it on your phone
Install

1 August 1498, Christopher Columbus lands along the coasts of Venezuela. 522 years have passed and over the last century, above all, this country it has become the landing place of numerous Italian emigrants, in search of a better life.

Venezuela discovered by Columbus

Columbus always had a great dream: to demonstrate that it was possible to circumnavigate the ocean and arrive from the west to the Indies. On his travels, however, he comes across unknown lands, which will later become the populous and rich continent we know today: America. On his third voyage in the summer of 1498, exploring the Gulf of Paria, he enters the Orinoco delta. Today recognized as the east coast of Venezuela. It was dawn on August 1st.

Venezuela - canoe on the shore
River and boat and colors "by VirginieVV is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

An enchanting scenery unfolded before him, and he marveled that the water was fresh. He was not aware of the discovery he had made. He had discovered South America. Initially he did not land, thinking that they were islands in the ocean, then after days of exploration he found himself in front of the Indians. And above all the Amazon rainforest, with its lush greenery and very varied fauna. He gave this marvel the name of "Heaven on earth", according to what were the dictates of the dominant Church.

Venezuela is a country rich in raw materials

To impose the name we know today; Venezuela, however, was subsequently Amerigo Vespucci, In 1499. The name derives from the similarity of the Indian villages, built on stilts, with Venice. Venezuela, in fact, etymologically means little Venice. It is considered one of the South American countries with the greatest biodiversity and, already at the time of Columbus, rich in raw materials. The Indians, for example, knew the Petroleum which they used to waterproof boats. After some time, this rich and welcoming country has become one of the arrival destinations of European and Italian emigrants.

Venezuela - black and white photo of emigrants

Today we are talking about about one million Europeans out of a population of nearly 30 million inhabitants. A considerable number also given the morphology of the territory. Initially they were attracted by the rich production of oil, which began in 1875, and by the supply chain that has been created over time. Founding member of OPEC, Venezuela is still today, one of the exporting countries of crude oil to the United States.

Italians looking for a better life

Between 1876 and 1976 the Italians who emigrated to South America there were about 26 million. The major exodus to Venezuela occurred in the second post-war period with over 90 per cent of expatriate compatriots. A very large number were emigrants from the southern regions. A substantial manufacturing industry developed in the country, in which Italian workers made an important contribution, but construction also played an appreciable role.

Venezuela - black and white photo of emigrants with the statue of liberty

Italian companies built most of the buildings in Caracas in the XNUMXs. Many Italians therefore had the opportunity to build a new life. The Italians also gave their contribution in the rural field. All this, demonstrating the great willpower and resourcefulness of our compatriots, even in difficult situations. In every place where they are expatriates they have always left a positive trace of their passage. Their work in Venezuela is a tangible example.

Venezuela from Christopher Columbus to the land of emigration last edit: 2020-08-01T17:12:00+02:00 da Gianna Maione

Post comments