After failed attempts expedicinarios the Orinoco River was discovered by Vicente Yáñez Pinzón in 1500, some time after Diego de Ordaz through him to beyond the confluence of the Meta (about 880 km) in 1531-1532. Alonso tried his exploration of War (1535), but the expedition had to return to Cubagua due to Indian attacks, which the Orinoco became a center of resistance against Spanish rule. The foundation of St. Thomas of Guiana in 1595 by Diego de Ordaz, was called to the colonization of the river, continued by Jesuits and Franciscans during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the eighteenth century explorers Jose Iturriaga, Jose Solano and Jose Draw toured the Upper Orinoco, completed the expedition, in 1800, Humboldt and Bonplandd. It was way to their sources by Chaffranjou (1886), who discovered his communication with the Amazon. The iron ores of Cerro Bolivar led to the installation of a steel industry (1962), whose center is Puerto Ordaz shipping.
The Orinoco River is born in the hill Chalbaud in Parima mountains, located south of the Amazonas state in Venezuela. covers most of Venezuela, serving as a border along 250 km between China and Colombia. It is one of the most important rivers in South America, both in area of its basin, approximately 960 000 km2 (only exceed this figure the Amazon and Paraná and Rio de la Plata), for the length of their course, which is about 3,000 km
Among its tributaries with Colombian rivers Guaviare, Vichada, Tomo, Meta and Arauca and Venezuelans Ventuari Cucunumá, Sipapo Cataniapo, Apure, Caparaparo, Cunaviche and Sinaruco.
In its course passes through towns like La Esmeralda, San Fernando de Atabapo, Samariapo, Puerto Ayacucho Puerto Carreno, Puerto Paez, urban, Ciudad Bolívar and Ciudad Guayana.
Leads the Venezuelan Orinoco on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, forming a delta that extends along 300 km of coast from Punta Playa eastward, to the left of the Mouth Catfish and has 17 mouths and 36 arms. . Its extension suggested to the first Spanish explorers it was a sea. It is located in Delta Amacuro state, east of Venezuela. It is considered a place of natural beauty by the great variety of flora and fauna it. The islands arise tank that the river carries sediment, being covered in the "high delta" by dense rainforest, while the "low delta" near its mouth and morichales mangroves predominate.
Among the wildlife that houses the river we highlight species like dolphin or boto of the Amazon, the Orinoco crocodile-endangered-caribe piranha, anacondas, the Orinoco crocodile, among others.
The river basin has a singular economic importance to Venezuela. Its surroundings are exploited deposits of iron, gold, oil and there are also major hydropower the country.