Maracaibo is a city and municipality in northwestern Venezuela, on the western shore of the strait that connects Lake Maracaibo to the Gulf of Venezuela. It is the second-largest city in Venezuela, after the national capital, Caracas, and the capital of the state of Zulia. The population of the city is approximately 2,658,355 with the metropolitan area estimated at 5,278,448 as of 2010.
Maracaibo is nicknamed "The Land of the Beloved Sun".
Maracaibo is considered the economic center of the western part of Venezuela, owing to the petroleum industry that developed in the shores of Lake Maracaibo. It is sometimes known as "The First City of Venezuela", for being the first city in Venezuela to adopt various types of public services, including electricity, as well as for being located adjacent to shores of Lake Maracaibo, where the name of Venezuela allegedly originates.
Early indigenous settlements around the area were of Arawak and Carib origin. Maracaibo’s founding date is disputed. There were failed attempts to found the city—in 1529, by Captain Ambrosio Ehinger, and in 1569, by Captain Alonso Pacheco.