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Venezuela is a South American country, located on the northern coast of South America. The country has around 28 million inhabitants and covers an area of 912,050 km². The capital is called Caracas and is, with its 5 million inhabitants, also the country's most populous city. Venezuela became the first permanent Spanish colony in South America in 1522, but gained its independence in 1821 under the leadership of Simón Bolívar. The official language is Spanish, and the currency is the Bolivar.