What Ancient Civilization Lived in Venezuela?

Venezuela is a country with a rich history and cultural heritage. It is home to numerous ancient civilizations that have left their mark on the land. One such civilization is the Tairona, who lived in what is now known as the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region of Venezuela.

The Tairona Civilization

The Tairona civilization existed between 200 AD and 1600 AD in the northern part of South America, including areas that are now part of modern-day Colombia and Venezuela. They were an advanced society with complex social structures, skilled craftsmen, and an extensive knowledge of agriculture.


The Tairona were known for their impressive architecture, which included terraced hillsides, stone pathways, and circular plazas. Their buildings were made from stone and wood and were designed to withstand earthquakes.

Social Structure

The Tairona had a complex social structure that was divided into classes. The highest class was made up of religious leaders and rulers, followed by craftsmen and farmers. Slavery was also present in Tairona society.


The Tairona were skilled farmers who used terraced fields to grow crops such as corn, beans, squash, cotton, and tobacco. Their agricultural practices allowed them to support a large population in a relatively small area.

Discovery of the Tairona Civilization

The Tairona civilization remained unknown until the 16th century when Spanish explorers arrived in South America. The Spanish were impressed by the advanced society they encountered in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region and attempted to conquer it.

However, the Tairona proved to be formidable opponents who used their knowledge of the mountainous terrain to their advantage. They successfully resisted Spanish occupation for many years before eventually succumbing to disease brought by the Europeans.

Legacy of the Tairona Civilization

Despite their relatively short existence, the Tairona left a lasting legacy on Venezuela and the surrounding region. Their advanced agricultural practices continue to influence farming techniques in the area, and their impressive architecture remains a testament to their engineering skills.

In conclusion, the Tairona civilization was an advanced society that existed in what is now Venezuela between 200 AD and 1600 AD. They were known for their impressive architecture, complex social structure, and advanced agricultural practices. Despite being conquered by Spanish explorers, their legacy continues to live on in modern-day Venezuela.