The city is located on the western shore of a channel linking Lake Maracaibo and the Gulf of Venezuela (an arm of the Caribbean Sea).
The chief seaport and industrial center for the petroleum-rich Maracaibo Basin.
Maracaibo is a major petroleum-shipping center and has industries producing refined petroleum, processed food, textiles, and construction materials.
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A large metropolitan area with extensive barrios (shantytowns) surrounds the central city.
Population (1991) 1,207,513. Maracaibo is the capital of Zulia State. zulia.com The University of Zulia (1891).
The city was founded as Nueva Zamora by Spain in 1571 and retains a large quarter dating from the Spanish colonial period.
The city prospered in the 17th century and was attacked several times by pirates.
After the 17th century the city declined until petroleum was discovered nearby in 1917.
Rafael Urdaneta University (1973)
Major cities near Maracaibo: