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Cumaná (kōmänäˈ) [key], city (1990 pop. 212,432), capital of Sucre state, NE Venezuela, on the Manzanares River near its mouth on the Gulf of Cariaco, an inlet on the Caribbean Sea. Exports include coffee, tobacco, cacao, sugar, fruit, and beans. Founded in 1521 to exploit the pearl fisheries near Margarita island, Cumaná was often raided by the Dutch and British in the 16th and 17th cent. Frequently a victim of earthquakes, the city was severely damaged in 1929. It is thought to be the oldest European outpost on the continent.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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