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Businesses in the city include service companies, banks, and malls. Caracas has a largely service-based economy, apart from some industrial activity in its metropolitan area. The Caracas Stock Exchange and Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) are headquartered in Caracas. PDVSA is the largest company in Venezuela. Caracas is also Venezuela's cultural capital, with many restaurants, theaters, museums, and shopping centers. Some of the tallest skyscrapers in Latin America are located in Caracas.
Caracas has been considered one of the most important cultural, tourist, industrial and economic centers of Latin America. The Museum of Contemporary Art of Caracas is one of the most important in South America. The Museum of Fine Arts and the National Art Gallery of Caracas are also noteworthy. The National Art Gallery is projected to be the largest museum in Latin America, according to its architect Carlos Gómez De Llarena.Boulevard of Sabana Grande is the main commercial corridor of the city and is visited by more than 500 thousand people every day. In 2011, the pedestrian space of Sabana Grande quadrupled.Sabana Grande is a broad, tree-shaded, pedestrians-only boulevard lined on both sides with stylish fashion boutiques, gift shops and street art.
Caracas is home to two of the tallest skyscrapers in South America: the Parque Central Towers. It has a nominal GDP of 91988 million dollars, a nominal GDP per capita of 18,992 and a PPP GDP per capita of 32,710 dollars. Being the seventh city in GDP and the seventh metropolitan area in population of Latin America. The Parque Central Towers still boast the title of the highest twin towers in Latin America, even though they are no longer the tallest skyscrapers in the region. In Caracas, the tallest skyscrapers are: Parque Central Towers, Banco Mercantil Building, BBVA Provincial Tower and The Twin Towers of El Recreo Shopping Mall in Sabana Grande district. Most of these buildings are located in the center of the city. Unfortunately, Business Center Confinanzas was not completed. If so, it would be the third tallest skyscraper of Caracas.
According to some sources, Caracas has the second highest per capita murder rate in the world, with 111.19 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Others have argued that the number of homicides in Venezuela has been inflated. Most murders and other violent crimes apparently go unsolved.
Conqueror Diego de Losada, founder of Santiago de León de Caracas (painted early 20th century )
At the time of the founding of the city in 1567, the valley of Caracas was populated by indigenous peoples. Francisco Fajardo, the son of a Spanish captain and a Guaiquericacica, attempted to establish a plantation in the valley in 1562 after founding a series of coastal towns. Fajardo's settlement did not last long. It was destroyed by natives of the region led by
Terepaima and Guaicaipuro. This was the last rebellion on the part of the natives. On 25 July 1567, Captain Diego de Losada laid the foundations of the city of Santiago de León de Caracas. The foundation − 1567 – "I take possession of this land in the name of God and the King" These were the words of Don Diego de Losada in founding the city of Caracas on 25 July 1567. In 1577, Caracas became the capital of the Spanish Empire's Venezuela Province under Governor Juan de Pimentel (1576–1583).
During the 17th century, the coast of Venezuela was frequently raided by pirates. With the coastal mountains as a barrier, Caracas was relatively immune to such attacks. However, in 1595, around 200 English privateers including George Sommers and Amyas Preston crossed the mountains through a little-used pass while the town's defenders were guarding the more often-used one. Encountering little resistance, the invaders sacked and set fire to the town after a failed ransom negotiation.
Caracas grew in economic importance during Venezuela's oil boom in the early 20th century. During the 1950s, Caracas began an intensive modernization program which continued throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. The Universidad Central de Venezuela, designed by modernist architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva and declared World Heritage by UNESCO, was built. New working- and middle-class residential districts sprouted in the valley, extending the urban area toward the east and southeast. Joining
El Silencio, also designed by Villanueva, were several workers' housing districts, 23 de Enero and Simon Rodriguez. Middle-class developments include Bello Monte, Los Palos Grandes, Chuao, and El Cafetal. The dramatic change in the economic structure of the country, which went from being primarily agricultural to dependent on oil production, stimulated the fast development of Caracas, and made it a magnet for people in rural communities who migrated to the capital city in an unplanned fashion searching for greater economic opportunity. This migration created the rancho (slum) belt of the valley of Caracas.