Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 despite resistance from indigenous peoples. It became one of the first Spanish American colonies to declare independence but did not securely establish independence until 1821. During the 19th century Venezuela suffered political turmoil and dictatorship, and it was dominated by regional caudillos well into the 20th century. The country has had democratic governments since 1958; before that, like most countries of Latin America, it suffered some coups and military dictatorships. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to a political crisis causing hundreds of deaths in the Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, and the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez for embezzlement of public funds in 1993. A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 election of former career officer Hugo Chávez and the launch of the Bolivarian Revolution, beginning with a 1999 Constituent Assembly to write a new Constitution of Venezuela.
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