Formerly part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Granada, and then Gran Colombia. It was originally named Venezuela - “Little Venice” - by Amerigo Vespucci, who thought that the natives' buildings suspended over water reminded him of Venice. It was originally settled by Germans. Before being taken over by everyone's favourite crazy socialist dictator, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's place in international history was mainly that their (still-standing) border dispute with Guyana almost provoked a war between Britain and the USA in the late 19th century.
Home of oil, it is currently a very large thorn in the current American government, due to the latter resource giving them the latitude to do so. Strangely enough, President Chavez seems to be having a problem in implementing his brand of socialism throughout South America, as well as his home base. The country is currently trying to interfere with Colombia's terrorist problem.