In 1843, approximately 391 German men and women from Baden were recruited to settle the down called Golonia Tovar, Venezuela. Colonia Tovar was named after its benefactor, Manuel Felipe Tovar, the Count of Tovar. For nearly 100 years they remained isolated in the mountains of Venezuela with their only outlet through a river to Caracas. During their first hundred years they remained isolated, building town’s architecture, its culture, food and celebrations after their German traditions. During the later half of the 20th century, they have inter-married with native Venezuelans and adopted Spanish as their official language. However, if you visit you will still see the strong imprint of Germany in the mountains of South America. Tourism and agriculture are the main sources of income. According to Wikipedia is one of the richest towns in Venezuela as measured by quality of life.
My wife had the good fortune to visit Venezuela when it was relatively safe for US citizens to travel there. We took a bus through the Caracas and out into the mountains. Along the way we saw the congestion of the city and the poverty surrounding it on the hillside just on the fringes of the city. From that point on we had a beautiful drive into the mountains when we arrived at this oasis of German culture. We hadn’t heard of it before our trip, and certainty didn’t expect to find a pre-World War II settlement of Germans.
The first thing we noticed was the architecture, it was clearly a picture of rural Germany. The second thing we noticed were the surnames of the people and street signs. It was an interesting blend of German and Venezuelan cultures which sometime caught us off guard, for example, seeing German buildings and food and hearing Spanish.
It seemed like a “Garden of Eden.” The flowers were beautiful, the town was spotless, people friendly and the food great.