is the capital of Anzoátegui State, Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...
and was founded in 1671. Together with Puerto La Cruz
Puerto la Cruz is a port city located in Anzoátegui State, in Venezuela. It is the seat of the Juan Antonio Sotillo Municipality. The city has road connections to the state capital, Barcelona, to Lecheria and to Guanta, and has the potential to become the largest and most important metropolitan...
, Lecheria and Guanta
The Guanta Municipality is one of the 21 municipalities that makes up the eastern Venezuelan state of Anzoátegui and, according to a 2007 population estimate by the National Institute of Statistics of Venezuela, the municipality had a population of 31,629...
, Barcelona forms one of the most important urban areas of Venezuela with a population of approximately 950,000.
Unlike Puerto La Cruz, which was mostly built in the 20th century, Barcelona has a mish-mash of historical and modern architecture from its several years of growth and development. The settlement of Nueva Barcelona del Cerro Santo
(New Barcelona of the Holy Mountain), was originally established by the Spanish conquistador Juan Orpí (a native of Piera
The municipality of Piera covers a large portion of the southeastern corner of the comarca of Anoia in Catalonia, on the left bank of the Anoia river. The agricultural land, mostly non-irrigated, is used for the cultivation of cereals, grapes, olives and almonds. The town itself hosts a number of...
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...
in Spain). It was later re-founded and populated by governor Sancho Fernández de Angulo two kilometres from the original settlement, and by a small community of Catalan colonists around 1671. Barcelona was one of the provinces under the governmental authority of the Neuva Andalucía
(New Andalusia), and referred commonly as New Barcelona
. One of the remaining buildings of this period is the Museo de Anzoátegui
, considered the oldest building in the city.
Many of the historical areas of Barcelona centre its main plazas: Bolivar, Miranda and Boyacá. The Plaza Boyacá
was the main settlement in Barcelona, and is fronted by the Iglesia El Carmen
(Carmelite Church) and the city's cathedral, the Catedral de San Cristobal
(Cathedral of Saint Christopher), built between 1748 and 1773. Today, the cathedral houses the embalmed remains of San Celestino in a glass reliquary in a chapel off the main nave, which dates back to 1744.
By 1761, the territory had been delineated by the population of Pozuelos (to the north), west to the headlands of the River Unare, east to the Guanipa plateau and south to the Orinoco River.
After forced abdications of the King by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Spanish territories in the Americas began to agitate for autonomy. In Venezuela a series of Junta governments took authority in the name of the deposed King Ferdinand after 19 April 1810, that led to the formation of local juntas. A meeting was convened in the city of Barcelona to proclaim the independence of the province of Barcelona (which included both the district of Barcelona and the province of Cumana), on the 27 April. On 11 July 1810, the Supreme Junta of Caracas included Barcelona as one of the provinces that did not recognize the authority of the Spanish government. This led to a civil conflict between those who wanted independence from the Spanish crown and many who still recognized the authority of Spain.
The return of Francisco de Miranda
Sebastián Francisco de Miranda Ravelo y Rodríguez de Espinoza , commonly known as Francisco de Miranda , was a Venezuelan revolutionary...
to Venezuela ultimately led to the Declaration of Independence on 5 July 1811, which was quickly followed by a Civil War between those provinces who remained loyal to Spain, and the Cadiz Cortes, and those that sought complete independence. In 1811, during the Venezuelan Independence War, La Casa Fuerte
(The House-Fort|The Strong House), a building near the centre of town, located on the Avenida 5 de Julio set the scene for the period. Built on the ruins of the old Convento de San Francisco
, to house the administrative government of the area, but turned into a fortification by Republican defenders to protect the city from the attacks of the Spanish authorities. On 17 April 1817, the house was taken and destroyed by royalist forces, who killed all 1600 people barricaded inside.
After the fall of the First Republic, the royalist authorities continued to maintain the limits and structures of the province of Barcelona. But in 1821, it was integrated into the province of Guyana, and along with Cumana and Margarita, it began to function as part of the Department of the Orinoco.
Barcelona's autonomy was re-established in 1830, and became a center during a second round of Independence battles, where important men like General José Antonio Páez
José Antonio Páez Herrera was General in Chief of the army fighting Spain during the Venezuelan Wars of Independence, in addition to becoming the President of Venezuela once it was independent of the Gran Colombia...
headquartered, or after Independence when Antonio Guzmán Blanco
Antonio Leocadio Guzmán Blanco was President of Venezuela for three separate terms, from 1870–1877, from 1879–1884, and from 1886–1887....
Barcelona is located within the interior of Anzoátegui State along the northern coast of Venezuela, near the foothills of the western cordillera region. Its northern ocean frontier is peppered with many beaches, including Isla de Plata, Conoma, Arapito, Cangrejo, Lecherias and Playa Mansa, that cater to the tourist industry or local populations. Barcelona is the entranceway to the Mochima National Park, a region of islands and islets that extends across the northern coast, that have been designated protected national monuments.
Its hydrography is dominated by the River Neverí, which crosses the centre of town, and has been known for seasons of floodings caused excess volume. In 1972, the governor Francisco Arreaza Arreaza granted authority for the construction of cities canals to reduce these seasonal fluctuations. Similarly, the River Aragua, which also circle the settlement has been prone to flooding, most recently in 1999 in the area known as El Viñedo.
Over time Barcelona reached the status of town and municipal seat within this territory, growing into a historical centre of industry and commerce, causing sprawl that has started to meld the other metro-poles in the region: principally the tourist-oriented community of Puerto La Cruz.
Generál José Antonio Anzoátegui International Airport
General José Antonio Anzoátegui International Airport is an airport in Barcelona, Venezuela.-Domestic Flights:-External links:...
is the principal aerodrome in this region, with connections to other states
Venezuela is divided into 23 states , 1 Capital District and the Federal Dependencies that consist of a large number of Venezuelan islands...
and National Capital
The Capital District of Venezuela is a federal district corresponding to the capital Caracas. It has an area of 433 km² and there is only one administrative division , Libertador, which contains about half City of Caracas. It is the seat of the federal government and the head of the public...
Caracas , officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela; natives or residents are known as Caraquenians in English . It is located in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range...
). In addition to bus services throughout the State of Anzoátegui, there are also maritime connections to the neighboring islands/islets (such as Las Chimanas, Cachicamo and Borracha) and a ferry to Margarita Island.
Between Barcelona and Puerto La Cruz there is the El Morro tourism complex, an immense network of canals built to house thousands of local and international tourists in condominiums, apartments and hotels. The complex is home to many marinas and boatyards and is a popular cruising destination for yachtsmen. The canals criss-cross the complex, affording virtually every dwelling access to the sea. One of the most ambitious developments within El Morro is the Maremares Resort and Spa, originally built by Daniel Camejo. Once a five-star hotel that hosted a summit between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías is the 56th and current President of Venezuela, having held that position since 1999. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela...
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...
Prime Minister Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...
, it has fallen on hard times and its pools, lagoons and golf courses are poorly maintained. At one point in early 2006, its entire air conditioning plant was non-functional for several weeks and guests had difficulty to walk down the pier at its marina without tripping over sprung planks. Close to El Morro is the modern shopping center Centro Commercial Plaza Mayor, built in the colorful Dutch
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...
colonial style, similar to those found in Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...
- José Antonio Anzoátegui
José Antonio Anzoátegui was a Venezuelan Brigadier General in the Battle of Boyacá, helping to lead a republican army of Colombians and Venezuelans against Spanish royalist forces during the Venezuelan War of Independence.-See also:* Anzoátegui...
- Pedro María Freites
- Diego Bautista Urbaneja
- Juan Manuel Cajigal
- Miguel Otero Silva
Miguel Otero Silva , was a Venezuelan writer, journalist, humorist and politician. Remaining a figure of great reference in Venezuelan literature, his literary and journalistic works were strictly related to the social and political history of Venezuela.-Life:Born in Barcelona, Anzoátegui State,...
- Eulalia Ramos Sánchez de Chamberlain (Eulalia Buroz)
- Juan Manuel Cagigal
- Ángel Mottola