Margarita, an island about 12 miles off the eastern coast of Venezuela, which, with Tortuga, Cubagua, and Coche, comprises part of the state of Nueva Esparta. It was discovered in 1498 by Christopher Columbus. The Spanish set up pearl fisheries at Cubagua in 1515. In 1524, Emperor Charles V gave Margarita to Marceto Villalobos. In 1561, Lope de Aguirre plundered Asunción before going on to raid the mainland. Besides pearls, the island's population depended upon fishing and saltmaking for their livelihoods.
Margarita played a crucial role in the return of Simón Bolívar from exile in Haiti. In 1816, he landed on Margarita and in early 1817 defeated royalist troops before he moved his headquarters to the Orinoco region. In return for its loyalty, Bolívar made Margarita part of a new state and promised to create a free trade zone there. This finally occurred in the final quarter of the twentieth century, and as a result the island has become a major tourist attraction.
John V. Lombardi, People and Places in Colonial Venezuela (1976) and Venezuela: The Search for Order, the Dream of Progress (1982).
Judith Ewell, Venezuela: A Century of Change (1984).
Goerdeler, Carl D., Bannier, Anneliet, and Harmans, Gerard. Venezuela, Isla Margarita. Houten: Van Reemst, 2000.
López Bohorquez, Alí Enrique. Margarita y Cubagua en el paraíso de Colón. Mérida, Venezuela: Gobernación del Estado Nueva Esparta, 1997.
Navarro, Nicanor. Margarita bajo ruedas. Mérida, Venezuela: Universidad de los Andes Ediciones del Rectorado, 1995.
O'Bryan, Linda, Zaglitsch, Hans, and Stoks, Frans T. Venezuela, Isla Margarita. Haarlem: Gottmer, 1998.
Subero, Efraín. Los orígenes históricos de Margarita. Pampatar, Nueva Esparta, Venezuela: Fondo Editorial Fondene, 1996.
Winthrop R. Wright
mar·ga·ri·ta / ˌmärgəˈrētə/ • n. a cocktail made with tequila and citrus fruit juice.