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Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is variably defined either as being a region of the Americas in its own right or as the southern portion of North America. Physiographically, Central America is a tropical isthmus that connects North and South America. It includes 7 countries and many small offshore islands. Overall, the land is fertile and rugged, and dominated through its heart by a string of volcanic mountain ranges with a few active volcanos.
The Venezuelan city of Merida is capital of the state of the same name, Merida State, as well as the state's Libertador Municipality. Known as La Ciudad de los Caballeros, the city is considered one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Venezuela. Merida has a population of 204,879 in 2001 census summed up with the surrounding settlements of Ejido and Tienditas del Chama, making it a medium conurbation if one considers the entire valley. The city is filled with a highly active cultural life.
The weather and natural scenery of the city are one of its well known attributes. Although at tropical latitude, its climate is relatively mild, with easy access to Venezuela's highest mountains in the Andes where temperature can go below freezing point.
Merida was founded October 9, 1558 by the Spanish captain Juan Rodríguez Suárez with a group of 59 to 70 soldiers in the town of San Juan de Lagunillas, although a year later it was moved to its modern location some kilometres further in the Chama river valley by Juan de Maldonado acting under the authority of the Audiencia de Santa Fe. It is named for the city of Merida, Spain. In 1813 Merida first coined the name El Libertador for independence hero Simon Bolívar, when he arrived in the city, victorious, in the first period of the Campana Admirable, the first campaign to liberate Venezuela from the Spanish. The title was later ratified in Caracas the same year, and lives on today as one of Simon's legacies all across the world.

Today, one can also learn about its history, from its earliest times and gain enthusiasm in its natural beauty and populace. Merida enjoys a very positive reputation with worldwide travelers.

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