Venezuela, officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America. Venezuela's territory covers around 916,445 square kilometers with an estimated population of 29,105,632. Venezuela is considered a state with extremely high biodiversity, with habitats ranging from the Andes mountains in the west to the Amazon Basin rainforest in the south, via extensive llanos plains and Caribbean coast in the center and the Orinoco River Delta in the east. Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 despite resistance from indigenous peoples. It became one of the first Spanish American colonies to declare independence, but did not securely establish independence until 1821.
During the 19th century Venezuela suffered political turmoil and dictatorship, and it was dominated by regional caudillos well into the 20th century. The country has intermittently had democratic governments between 1945 and the present day; like most countries of Latin America, it has suffered some coups and military dictatorships. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to a political crisis causing up to 3,000 deaths in the Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, and the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez for embezzlement of public funds in 1993. A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 election of former career officer Hugo Chávez, and the launch of the Bolivarian Revolution, beginning with a 1999 Constituent Assembly to write a new Constitution of Venezuela.