A 1ST. W. maritime state of Venezuela, bordering upon Caracas, Barinas, Barquisimeto, and Coro; area about 7,000 sq. m.; pop. 235,000. It is divided into two distinct parts, the highlands and the llanos or plains, and is traversed by the Venezuela coast chain of mountains, from which 21 rivers descend to the sea, though only one of them is navigable, the Yaracuy. The state is watered by 74 rivers, the largest of which, the Cojedes, formed by the confluence of the Barquisimeto and Buria, is navigable from 12 m. below the town of the same name to its mouth in the Portugue-sa, a distance of 90 m. The lake of Valencia, formerly called by the Indians Tacarigua, belongs in part to this state. There are also several smaller lakes in the plains of Pao, San Carlos, and Baul, many of which dry up during the summer. The state is divided into 7 cantons and 33 parishes. Of the inhabitants about one half devote themselves to agriculture, and one fourth to cattle raising. Wheat is raised in abundance, as well as most of the tropical fruits. The capital of the state is Valencia, and the chief port Puerto Cabello, which, after that of La Guayra, is the most frequented by foreign shipping of any in the republic.
The climate is cool during the summer in the highlands and generally healthy; in the plains the temperature is much higher, but there is comparatively little sickness, except in the valleys contiguous to the Santa Maria mountains and some parts of the coast, where fevers are common. In winter, from May to November, the greater part of the plains is inundated. The exports mainly consist of coffee, cacao, indigo, hides, sugar, cotton, and tobacco, to foreign countries; and salt, preserves, cassava, plantains, rum, maize, rice, etc, to the neighboring states. Some horned cattle and swine are reared; and there are numerous herds of asses. II. A town from which the state takes its name, situated 30 m. S. W. of Valencia, famous for a battle fought there on June 24, 1821, which was decisive of the independence of Venezuela and the associated republics.