Los Roques archipelago (Spanish: Archipiélago de Los Roques) is a federal dependency of Venezuela consisting of approximately 350 islands, cays, and islets in a total area of 40.61 square kilometers. The archipelago is located 128 kilometers (80 mi) directly north of the port of La Guaira, in the Caribbean Sea.
The islands’ pristine coral reef attracts many wealthy visitors, especially from Europe, some of whom come in their own yachts and anchor in the inner, protected shallow waters. Development and tourism are controlled.
Because of the wide variety of seabirds and rich aquatic life, the Venezuelan government declared Los Roques a National Park in 1972.
Its first settlers were the Caribbean aborigines who visited the islands to collect botutos, fish, hunt turtles and extract salt. There are still some constructions of salt flats with dikes, stone paths and remains of houses that were created at this time known as the time of exploitation of salt. But the permanent occupation arises with the arrival of fishermen from Margarita Island, who were bringing their families and settling in Los Roques. The names of the keys and islands originated from the mixture of cultures that grew up on these islands. The indigenous word “cayo” was translated by English-speaking buccaneers to “key” and this ended up being written phonetically in Spanish as “qui”. This is where many of the names came from, some examples of this are: Frank’s key that became Francisquí. Crab’s key in Crasquí; and mixing the French word “soeur” (sister) with “key” gave rise to the name of the key that today is known as Sarquí.
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