A "quiet, natural" place; many local residents thus define Yaracuy state. For visitors, another term undoubtedly depicts the territory located a few hours from Caracas: traditional.
Perhaps Yaracuy and its capital city, San Felipe, have the answers to many questions about a country like Venezuela. It covers approximately 7,100 square kilometers of proper development, based on high respect for nature, customs and history.
The simple, urban development is environmentally friendly. San Felipe streets attest to it, as they make room for and meet any requirements of about 518,902 inhabitants, as estimated by the last national census.
The state has plenty of supply, either for visitors looking for relax, tourists, or potential investors and residents. Many families from elsewhere the nation, have settled down in Yaracuy.
ITS NAME AND BEGINNING
The term Yaracuy comes from the indigenous "yarai-yarai," translated into "collect water." Together with "cui-cui," which means "over there," completes the meaning: To collect water from over there.
The native past is strong. The Caquetíos, Jiraharas and Guayones tribes inhabited the territory prior to colonial times.
Many experts and related records agree on finding that the state written history started in 1530. Nikolaus Federmann, a German explorer and chronicler, on visit to the lands rich in natural resources, also paid attention to the beautiful indigenous women. So, he called the site the "Valley of Ladies."
Venezuelan constitutions outlined the entity little by little. In colonial times, it formed an integral part of the Province of Caracas. Under the 1811 Constitution, it was annexed to Barquisimeto. Later, under the 1824 Constitution, it was adjudicated to the Province of Carabobo. Few years later, in 1832, went back to Barquisimeto. Finally, on March 15, 1855, it was termed Province of Yaracuy, with San Felipe as the capital city.
There were further changes in the state makeup. The key dates of annexation and subsequent outline of Yaracuy state are namely: 1879, upon a declaration at the Plenipotentiary Congress, it became part of the State of North-West, together with Barquisimeto and Falcón. In 1881, it formed an integral part of the Great State of Lara, subdivided into the Barquisimeto section and the Yaracuy section. In 1899, the twenty federal states were born, including Yaracuy.
A HISTORICAL VIEW
San Felipe, the capital city of Yaracuy state, has experienced many stages which defined its present makeup. All of these stages have been present for generations, because, according to residents, time cannot erase memories if there is willingness to transmit them. For this reason, locales and outsiders have to go back to the past of the state.
Nature marked part of residents' need to defend their history and show it to next generations. The city of San Felipe el Fuerte underwent the 1812 earthquake and, in the aftermath of the natural disaster, it was moved elsewhere. A key decision was made to give Yaracuy a historical, national clout at a time when the history is revised to set future guidelines.
A historical park was built instead of the ruins. Declared Historical Patrimony of the Nation, it displays the former capital city, customs and traditions, and way of living.
Many depict Yaracuy state as a combination of "the traditional and modern." It is a good contribution to teach the whole country about development running on the rails of memory.
Yaracuy state has been the cradle of valuable persons because of their actions and track record, namely: lawyer, politician and ex Venezuelan president Rafael Caldera; Carmelo Fernández Páez, a military and designer of the national coat of arms, and Alberto Ravell, a journalist and political analyst.
THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING
Under the Territorial Division Law of 1993, Yaracuy is composed of 14 municipalities. San Felipe is the core of one of the richest agricultural areas in Venezuela.
The list of products includes standard goods usually consumed by Venezuelans, such as sugar cane, corn, bananas, vegetables, beef, milk and fruits. Refined sugar and paper pulp are notable in the industrial capacity. Forest resources include bucare, cedar, sandbox tree, oak tree and rain tree. Coffee plantations in the valley of River Aroa play a key role. Two of the largest sugar mills are located in Chivacoa and Yaritagua.
Mineral resources, such as clay, sands, limestone, cupper, gravel, marble, gold, pyrite, lead, gypsum and titanium, complete the scheme of local productivity.
Craftsmanship has a clout at Los Ureros, Sabaneta, San Felipe and Nirgua.
Translated by Conchita Delgado