German Venezuelans

German Venezuelans
Total population

(20,000 German nationals residing in the country[1]

Unknown number of individuals of German descent)
Regions with significant populations
Colonia Tovar, Caracas.
Colonia Tovar dialect and Spanish
Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, Eastern Orthodoxy
Related ethnic groups
German people, German Americans, German Argentines, German Brazilians, German Canadians, German Chileans, , German Mexicans, German Paraguayans, German Peruvians, German Puerto Ricans, German Uruguayans

German Venezuelans (German: Deutsch-Venezolaner; Spanish: Germano-venezolanos) are Venezuelan citizens who descend from Germans or German people with Venezuelan citizenship. Most of them live in Caracas, Maracaibo, Valencia, Colonia Agrícola de Turén, El Jarillo, and Colonia Tovar where a small and reduced minority of people speak the Colonia Tovar dialect, a German-derived dialect from their ancestry, and the Spanish language.


First colonization attempts

Main article: Klein-Venedig

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain granted rights to the Augsburg banking families of Anton and Bartholomeus Welser in 1528 to colonize Venezuela. By 1531, the Welsers controlled the privilege. They set up a colonization scheme and sent Ambrosius Ehinger as governor to Santa Ana de Coro (German: Neu-Augsburg[2]), the capital of Klein-Venedig or Welserland (as it was known in Germany) [3][4][5] in 1529. In October 7, 1528, Ehinger left Seville with the Spaniard García de Lerma and 281 settlers and they heading towards the Venezuelan coast, where arrived on February 24, 1529, at the region of Santa Ana de Coro. From there, he explored the interior looking the city El Dorado, one legendary golden city, whose myth had been developed by the Spanish. On September 8, 1529 Ehinger founded the colony of New Nuremberg (German: Neu-Nürnberg), today known as Maracaibo.[6] The aforementioned rights were revoked on 1546 by Emperor Charles due to non-compliance with the stipulations.[7]

When Juan de Carvajal was founding El Tocuyo in 1545, Spaniards and some German-speakers (German, Flemish and Swiss that did not agree with the Welser government) headed to that new town [8] .[9]

In addition there are two town known as Cuara. One to the south of "Valles de Quibor" where its inhabitants state out that they descend from those Welser settlers[10][11] .[12][13][14][15] The other "Cuara" today "Campo Elias" near to Urachiche in the State of Yaracuy,[16] where inhabitants thought having aboriginal features, also have blue and green eyes, hazel hairs, claiming that they also descends from those Welsers that came to Venezuela approximately 500 years ago.

There is a saying in Cuara Quibor about the first Venezuela President Jose Antonio Paez Herrera. It is said that his mother Maria Violante Herrera was born in that Larense town.[15][17] She had as a nickname "La Catira de los ojos azules" (The blue-eyed creole blonde).

After some intentions of Nikolaus Federman, George Hohermuth von Speier to consolidate a German State in this land, and after the death of Bartholomeus Welser and Philipp von Hutten,[18][19] that ended up with the death of Juan de Carvajal, the Counsil of the Indies determined to sease the German administration upon Venezuela in 1546, because the Welser did not fulfill the treat of stablishing cities and fortress and bring settlers.[20][20]

Foundation of Colonia Tovar

Main article: Colonia Tovar

After of those first colonization attempts in the 16th century, Germans did not emigrate to Venezuela again until 1842. Between 1814 and 1842, some regions of Germany suffered heavy economic losses, while its inhabitants were paying high taxes. This set of reasons caused great poverty in the country, which gave many Germans the desire to immigrate in order to escape poverty.[21] To all this must be added that the Germans had an excellent reputation as settlers. This positive image was created by pioneers in Brazil. On the other hand, Venezuela at the beginning of the 19th century, didn't have much political weight, so there was no fear or interference on their part.[22]

During the second government of José Antonio Páez, in 1840, the Congress enacted, in May of that year, a new immigration law which provided for a policy of economic and cultural exchanges between Venezuela and Europe. The entrepreneurs received loans on the condition that they acceot immigrants over a period of two years. Given the huge population deficit that existed at that time in Venezuela, the Minister of Interior and Justice at the time, Angel Quintero, called for collaboration to Agustín Codazzi (traveler and geographer) so that he could indicate the lands eligible to attract European immigration in order to increase the productivity of the country. from the outset, Codazzi thought of Germany because of their economic situation. Along with Alexander Benitz began planning an organized immigration. Codazzi made explorations in various fields owned by the family Tovar, who had offered to donate them to establish a colony.[23] So, Codazzi started a propaganda to get them to join the project a group of people and he chose to the families of South of Germany, who then would travel to colonize the country. These families had to be masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, weavers, shoemakers and tailors, these came from the Grand Duchy of Baden and Surrounding Areas (Germany), especially came from Kaiserstuhl.[21] These areas not only had many taxes, but also had problems related to agricultural productivity.[23] These families left their country in 1842. Thus, the October 14, 1841, 374 people come formally Venezuelan port, founding the current La Colonia Tovar, with European structures and their particular lifestyle.[21][23] He formed a company that had as partners Agustin Codazzi and Ramon Diaz, and as a guarantor to Martin Tovar y Ponte. That same year he began work on the land donated by Manuel Felipe Tovar and would serve as home to German immigrants.[21][23] Once in Tovar, found that of the eighty houses promised had been built only twenty. In addition, the land had been deforested assigned. Nor was there an access road. The administrator to the settlers exploited for labor and prevented them from leaving the colony. This situation did not improve until 1845, when the government dismissed the administrator from office. Then, in 1852 the territory was transferred to the colony families. Between 1858 and 1870, the colony was sacked twice, and once was completely destroyed by the flames. From 1870 the colonists began to successfully grow coffee. In 1877, Colonia Tovar had only 200 people living there. In 1920 they numbered 850.[22]

German Refugees in the Colonia Agrícola de Turén

During the Second World War, Germany experienced the Nazi persecution, the war, the Holocaust, the destruction of Germany and the postwar period that prompted some German immigration to Venezuela. Many of these Germans settled in this country specifically influenced by the testimonies narrated by the German scientist Alexander Humboldt about this country, where he spent most of his career in the 19th century. In 1949, a group of Venezuelan and German founded the Asociación Cultural Humboldt (in English: Humboldt Cultural Association), named in honor of this German scientist. This institution, works as a communicating vessel for relationships between Germany and Venezuela, particularly through cultural events. The Germans who came to Venezuela in the second half of the 20th century, mostly worked in German companies that were set on Venezuelan soil. The telecommunications, chemical, pharmaceutical, brewery industries were the most favored destinations, occupationally speaking, for these immigrants.[24]

Additionally between 1951 and 1954, there were about 53 families of German origin (some from Bukovina) that were refugees in Colonia Agrícola de Turén (State of Portuguesa)[25][26] .[27] The have farms and agriculture industries.[28][29]

As a witness, they still maintain institutions in order to preserve their language and culture, for example the Lutheran Church that holds periodically mass services in German.[30]


German Venezuelans celebrating Oktoberfest

In Colonia Tovar, just a minority of its people speak the Colonia Tovar dialect, a German dialect said to be difficult to understand for native standard German speakers. Most of them have lost their language and culture over the years, keeping only some customs that have remained through programs to promote tourism in the region, considering it a differentiated area of Venezuela.[22]

The Germans that arrived to Colonia Agrícola de Turén and the first generation of descendants still keep the language as they hold church masses at Lutheran Church in Turén.[31]


German schools:


  1. "20 mil ciudadanos alemanes asentados en el país" (20 thousands of German citizens are settled in the country)"
  2. Faust. Hansjörg Mau. Posted by Meyster, in Jan 1, 1980.
  3. Das Imperium der Welser
  4. Carlos Ivorra. "1543-1547" (in Spanish). Universidad de Valencia. Archived from the original on 12 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  5. "La provincia de Coro: los años dorados y la aventura alemana". Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  6. 1 2
  7. Lima, Blanca De. "Clío: La provincia de Coro: los años dorados y la aventura alemana". Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  8. 1 2
  9. 1 2 3 4 Migracion Alemana a Venezuela (English: German Migration to Venezuela), Posted by Historia. Retrieved January 7, 2012, 0:25.
  10. 1 2 3 Miradas alemanas hacia America Latina(In Spanish: Germany Looks to Latin America). Retrieved January 7, 2012, 13:20
  11. 1 2 3 4 venezuelavirtual: La colonia Tovar: alemania criolla. Posted in Retrieved January 7, 2012, 0:32
  12. Los alemanes en Venezuela (In Spanish: The Germans in Venezuela), posted by Karl Krispin. Consulted in April 23, 2012, to 2:35 pm.
  14., leonel canelon,. "Apuntes para el estudio de la historia del Municipio Turén - Estado Portuguesa (página 4) -". Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  15. Xaverivs. "La hermosa Colonia Agrícola de Turén". Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  16. "Turén". Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  17. "Deutscher Bundestag 4. Wahlperiode Drucksache IV/3672" (Archive). Bundestag (West Germany). 23 June 1965. Retrieved on 12 March 2016. p. 29/51.

External links

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