Margarita Island

Margarita Island (Spanish: Isla Margarita  or Isla de Margarita) is the largest island of the Nueva Esparta state in Venezuela, situated in the Caribbean Sea, off the northeastern coast of the country. The state also contains two other smaller islands: Coche and Cubagua.

The capital is La Asunción, located in a river valley of the same name. Primary industries are tourism, fishing and construction. Its population is about 420,000.

History

In 1498, Christopher Columbus discovered Margarita Island. The local natives, named Guaiqueries, received the conquering Spaniards with open arms unaware that they later would become slaves of their own wealth. Pearls represented almost a third of all New World tribute to the Spanish Crown. Margarita Island had to be fortified against the increasing threat of pirate attacks, and several of these fortifications remain today. In 1561, the island was seized by Lope de Aguirre, a notoriously violent and rebellious conquistador who held the islanders in a grip of terror until he returned to the mainland in an attempt to take Panama from the Spanish crown.

In 1814, the islanders fought successfully for independence from the Spanish after the collapse of the First Republic of Venezuela. Margarita Island became the first, permanently free territory in Venezuela. That same year, Luisa Cáceres de Arismendi was detained for over three years in a dark dungeon where she was harassed and abused. The authorities were hoping to put pressure on her husband Juan Bautista Arismendi, who was fighting for independence. It was on Margarita Island that Simón Bolívar was confirmed as Commander in Chief of the Venezuelan Republic in 1816. From there he started a nine-year campaign to free Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia from the Spanish Crown.

Main Cities

The biggest city on Margarita island is Porlamar, known for its commercial center; it flourishes with shops and good restaurants. About 85,000 people live there during the low season in Porlamar; about 125,000, in the high season. It has two city beaches.

Is one of the largest towns on the island . Pampatar has around 50,000 citizens in its greater area. Most of the larger shopping malls are in its Jurisdiction: Sambil Margarita, Rattan Depot, Centro Comercial AB (Avenida Bolivar), and La Redoma. It has several beaches. It is the seat of the Castillo San Carlos Borromeo constructed approximately from 1664 to 1684.

La Asunción is the capital of the Federal State of Nueva Esparta with about 25,000 citizens. It is the seat of the regional government.

Juan Griego is a city of around 45,000 people, it has small shopping centres and beaches. La Galera is a fortress not far off the city centre, where, in the early 1820s, a fierce battle for independence was fought.

Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isla_Margarita)

 

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