The Spanish truly took over the region in every sense, although Spain had little
political hold on the lands. This led to an area that provided great opportunities
as many Europeans immigrated, particularly Spanish, Italians, and Germans. Like
the people before them, the cultures and lifestyles varied, but these Europeans
tended to settle the lands, often starting large farms or ranches. To help run these
farms many of the surviving indigenous people were used as slaves as were Africans
who arrived via the slave trade.
The many influences, from the indigenous people and the early Europeans to the African
slaves led to a unique culture and lifestyle that integrated aspects of all these
people. In the country's early history this diverse was quite pronounced as
political unity was rare as people fought over lifestyle, culture, and direction.
Differing ethnic groups sought different paths while the people along the coasts,
on ranches, on farms, and in the mountains all saw different visions of the future.
Over the past century numerous changes have continued as the people have argued
over direction, power, and culture. However, the growing trend during much of this
time came in the form of social rights and power by the working class. Today the
country is united as one as changes are bringing the people, culture, and lifestyle
closer together, however many argue these changes come at the expense of freedoms.
These recent political changes have slowly altered the many diverse cultures and
lifestyles to one that is more uniform. However, influences from the country's
past are still recognizable and the culture that is authentically Venezuelan is
ever growing on its own path, distinguishing this country from its neighbors in