Barinas, Or Varinas. I. An inland state of Venezuela, bounded N. W. by a chain of the Andes, which separates it from Merida and Trujillo; area, 24,000 sq. m.; pop. about 126,-000. The larger portion of the state is composed of delightful savannas, with luxuriant pasture for innumerable herds of cattle, flocks . of sheep, and droves of asses and mules. The hill country in the W. part presents gentle declivities, which are very fertile; the mountain slopes and surrounding tracts are covered with virgin forests; while above the temperate line are cold regions terminating in arid paramos, extending into the states of Merida and Trujillo. The beautiful valleys of Barinas are watered by the Portuguesa, Bocono, Guanare, Uribante, Caparro, Surepa, Santo Domingo, Masparro, Pagiiey, and Canagua rivers, all tributaries of the Apure, which flows on the S. border. The principal products are coffee, cacao, cotton, indigo, excellent tobacco, and an endless variety of tropical fruits. II. A city, capital of the state, on the right bank of the river Santo Domingo, 262 m. S.W. of Caracas; pop. about 12,000 (in 1839, 4,000). This city, which has twice changed its site, was founded in 1576 by Juan Andres Varela, and first named Altamira de Caceres, in honor of the governor of that name.
It was once in a prosperous condition; but during the wars of independence it was besieged, sacked, and laid in ruins by the royalists. It has made rapid progress, however, of late years. Barinas has a church, a hospital, and some schools; the houses are remarkably neat; the streets are regular and clean; and its name is famed in European markets for the superior quality of its tobacco, the chief article of export. Its shipping point is Toruno, a small town 14 m. distant, at the head of river navigation.