The retrospective history of
Native Americans in Venezuela

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500 Years of 'Purgatory' for Indigenous Peoples
By Jose Zambrano, IPS, 31 July 1998. Columbus landed near the Orinoco river delta, territory that today is Venezuela, on Aug. 1, 1498. Columbus not only named the area tierra de gracia (grace land), but commented that the garden of Eden may well have been found there. As the area was rich in pearls, local indigenous residents soon found out what hell was like, as they were forced by the consquistadors to dive incessantly for mollusks (the island of Cubagua, 1500-1550).