Sunday, 16 January 2011

Venezuelans, (and some of) the First Americans

Paraguaná is a peninsula in Northern Venezuela. It is very close to Aruba, an island the Dutch took over from the Spaniards in 1636.

The peninsula is a very interesting place. The strait connecting it to the rest of Venezuela also goes through the magnificent Médanos de Coro National Park. It was visited early on by the first Europeans in South America, including Amerigo Vespucci, who would later give his name to our double continent.

In the northern part of the Paraguaná Pensinsula we have the Taima-Taima region. Here Jorge Cruxent, a Venezuelan-Spanish archaeologist, discovered some of the oldest remains of human presence in America. If you want to read more about that discovery, check out this site. Very shortly said: that discovery together with another one at Monte Verde, Chile, led scientists to rethink the population of America. Before those discoveries, most archaeologists thought humans had only arrived in America after the Late Glacial Maximum came to an end. Now we know humans populated America during the Late Pleistocene.

It is a real pity that the whole archaeological site and the discoveries kept in a private museum have been so deglected.

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