Francisco de Miranda
Sebastián Francisco de Miranda Ravelo y Rodríguez de Espinoza (March 28, 1750 – July 14, 1816), commonly known as Francisco de Miranda (fɾanˈsisko ðe miˈɾanda), was a Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

n revolutionary. Although his own plans for the independence of the Spanish American colonies
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 failed, he is regarded as a forerunner of Simón Bolívar
Simón Bolívar
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Yeiter, commonly known as Simón Bolívar was a Venezuelan military and political leader...

, who during the Spanish American wars of independence successfully liberated a vast portion of South America. Miranda led a romantic and adventurous life. An idealist, he developed a visionary plan to liberate and unify all of Spanish America but his own military initiatives on behalf of an independent Spanish America ended in 1812. He was handed over to his enemies and four years later, in 1816, died in a Spanish prison. Within fourteen years of his death, however, most of Spanish America was independent.

Early life

Sebastian Francisco de Miranda was born in Caracas
Caracas , officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela; natives or residents are known as Caraquenians in English . It is located in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range...

, Venezuela. His father, Sebastian de Miranda Ravelo, was a wealthy merchant from the Canary Islands, and his mother, Francisca Antonia Rodríguez de Espinoza, was a wealthy Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...


Growing up, Miranda enjoyed a wealthy upbringing, attending the finest private schools, while being slightly discriminated against for his Canarian roots
Canarian people
The Canarians are an ethnic group living in the archipelago of the Canary Islands , near the coast of Western Africa...

. Miranda was not necessarily a member of high society growing up, as his heritage was continually put into question by the Criollo
Criollo (people)
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...


In the United States

Miranda, who had bought himself a commission as a General of the Spanish Army around 1771 (something not unusual in the European armies at the time), became interested in the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, while serving as Captain of the Aragon Regiment and aide-de-camp to General Juan Manuel de Cajigal y Monserrat, (1739–1811).

Under Cajigal, Miranda participated in the 1781 Battle of Pensacola
Battle of Pensacola (1781)
The Siege of Pensacola was fought in 1781, the culmination of Spain's conquest of the British province West Florida during the American War of Independence.-Background:...

, which saw British West Florida
West Florida
West Florida was a region on the north shore of the Gulf of Mexico, which underwent several boundary and sovereignty changes during its history. West Florida was first established in 1763 by the British government; as its name suggests it largely consisted of the western portion of the region...

 fall into Spanish hands, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

He participated in the Capture of The Bahamas
Capture of The Bahamas (1782)
The Capture of the Bahamas took place in May 1782 during the American War of Independence when a Spanish force under the command of Juan Manuel de Cagigal arrived on the island of New Providence near Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas...

 and carried news of the island's fall to his superior Bernado de Galvez. Galvez was angry that the Bahamas expedition had gone ahead without his permission and he imprisoned Cajigal and had Miranda arrested. Miranda was later released, but this experience of Spanish officialdom may have been a factor in his subsequent conversion to the idea of independence for Spain's American colonies.

He later returned to the United States in 1783, where he met, among others, George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States...

, Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

, Henry Knox
Henry Knox
Henry Knox was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first United States Secretary of War....

, and Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, embarking from Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 for England on December 15, 1784.

In Europe: England, Prussia, Turkey and Russia (1786–1790)

Much later, after his adventures in England, (until August 9, 1785), Miranda went to Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

, Verona
Verona ; German Bern, Dietrichsbern or Welschbern) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy, with approx. 265,000 inhabitants and one of the seven chef-lieus of the region. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of North-Eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona...

, Mantua
Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family, made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole...

, Parma
Parma is a city in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna famous for its ham, its cheese, its architecture and the fine countryside around it. This is the home of the University of Parma, one of the oldest universities in the world....

, Modena
Modena is a city and comune on the south side of the Po Valley, in the Province of Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy....

, Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

, Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

, Lucca
Lucca is a city and comune in Tuscany, central Italy, situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plainnear the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Lucca...

, Livorno
Livorno , traditionally Leghorn , is a port city on the Tyrrhenian Sea on the western edge of Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of approximately 160,000 residents in 2009.- History :...

, Rome and Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, (from November 12, 1785 to around March 16, 1786). He traveled on April 2, 1786, to the modern-day Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

 (then named Ragusa, and a vassal city of the Ottoman Empire), and then to Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 in Turkey (until September 23, 1786), Russia, (from September 26, 1786 until September 7, 1787, slightly under one year), Sweden, (in Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 as from September 10, 1787 until November 2, 1787), Norway, from November 10, 1787 until departing from Karlskrona
Karlskrona is a locality and the seat of Karlskrona Municipality, Blekinge County, Sweden with 35,212 inhabitants in 2010. It is also the capital of Blekinge County. Karlskrona is known as Sweden's only baroque city and is host to Sweden's only remaining naval base and the headquarters of the...

 in Sweden from December 17, 1787), Denmark (from September 23, 1787 until March 10, 1788 after being received in Denmark orders of capture from Spain no later than January 22, 1788), the Free Hanseatic Town
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 of Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, (from (April 1, 1788 until the April 27, 1788), the Free Town of Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

, (leaving on April 27), Holland, (from around the May 2, 1788 until around June 16, 1788), some actual Belgian towns and German cities along the Rhine river, Swiss Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

, (arrival July 30, 1788, and then again after touring German-speaking Switzerland on October 12, 1788), Swiss Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 (arrival September 25, 1788), and France, (entry around the 3rd and 4th weeks of September 1788, two stays in Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

s, the second departing there towards Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

 on February 26, 1789 via inland waterways), travels to Rouen
Rouen , in northern France on the River Seine, is the capital of the Haute-Normandie region and the historic capital city of Normandy. Once one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe , it was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy in the Middle Ages...

, Le Havre
Le Havre
Le Havre is a city in the Seine-Maritime department of the Haute-Normandie region in France. It is situated in north-western France, on the right bank of the mouth of the river Seine on the English Channel. Le Havre is the most populous commune in the Haute-Normandie region, although the total...

 and Paris around May 5, 1789, getting papers as "Mr. Meeroff from Livonia" to arrive in Dover
Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's administrative capital Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings...

, (England) and then London on June 19, 1789, taking lodgings at the house of his British friend, "A Barlow", at 47 Jermyn Street ).

The attempts to abduct Miranda by the diplomatic representatives of Spain failed as the Russian Ambassador in London, Semyon Vorontsov, declared on August 4, 1789 to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Francis Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds
Francis Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds
Francis Godolphin Osborne, 5th Duke of Leeds KG, PC , styled Marquess of Carmarthen until 1789, was a British politician...

, that Sebastian de Miranda, although a Spanish subject, was a member of the Russian diplomatic mission in London at the service of H. R. H. Empress Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

. His letter to Catherine II is a good example of the lecherous manners of some of the eighteenth-century courtesans. In Russia, he used the surname Meeroff and he left several children who latter emigrated to the United States and Argentina and are currently well known academicians.{Meeroff, M. Cambio de Modelo Medico. De la Medicina Biológica a la Medicina Bioantropologica. Fundamentacion Científica. Del Cano (Editor). Teoría y práctica de la Medicina Antropológica. BsAs,Argentina: Sociedad Argentina de Medicina Antropológica. 2004: 16-39}

Miranda made use of the Spanish-British diplomatic row known as the Nootka Crisis
Nootka Crisis
The Nootka Crisis was an international incident and political dispute between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Spain, triggered by a series of events that took place during the summer of 1789 at Nootka Sound...

 in February 1790 to present to some British Cabinet ministers his ideas about the independence of Spanish territories in South America.

Later on, after fighting for Revolutionary France, Miranda made his home in London, where he had two children, Leandro (1803 – Paris, 1886) and Francisco (1806 – Cerinza
Cerinza is a town and municipality in the Colombian Department of Boyacá. Cerinza is also part of the Tundama Province a subregion of Boyaca....

, Colombia, 1831), with his housekeeper, Sarah Andrews, whom he later married. During these earlier times in London he had met Colonel William S. Smith, secretary to John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

's American Legation.

Miranda during the French Revolutionary period

From 1791, Miranda took an active part in the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. In Paris, he befriended the Girondist
The Girondists were a political faction in France within the Legislative Assembly and the National Convention during the French Revolution...

s Jacques Pierre Brissot
Jacques Pierre Brissot
Jacques Pierre Brissot , who assumed the name of de Warville, was a leading member of the Girondist movement during the French Revolution. Some sources give his name as Jean Pierre Brissot.-Biography:...

 and Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve
Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve
Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve was a French writer and politician.Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve was the son of a at Chartres. Though it is known that he was trained as a lawyer, very few specifics are known about Petion’s early life, as he was virtually unknown prior to the French Revolution...

, and he briefly served as a general in the section of the French Revolutionary Army
French Revolutionary Army
The French Revolutionary Army is the term used to refer to the military of France during the period between the fall of the ancien regime under Louis XVI in 1792 and the formation of the First French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804. These armies were characterised by their revolutionary...

 commanded by Charles François Dumouriez
Charles François Dumouriez
Charles-François du Périer Dumouriez was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars. He shared the victory at Valmy with General François Christophe Kellermann, but later deserted the Revolutionary Army and became a royalist intriguer during the reign of Napoleon.-Early life:Dumouriez...

, fighting in the 1792 campaign
French Revolutionary Wars: Campaigns of 1792
The French Revolutionary Wars began in 1792.-Preparations:France declared war on Austria on 20 April 1792. But Prussia and other powers had allied themselves with Austria in the expectation of conflict, and thus France faced a coalition and not a single power at the moment when the "emigration",...

 in the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....


Miranda was first arrested in April 1793 on the orders of Antoine Quentin Fouquier-Tinville
Antoine Quentin Fouquier-Tinville
Antoine Quentin Fouquier de Tinville was a French lawyer during the Revolution and Reign of Terror periods.-Early career:...

, Chief Prosecutor of the Revolution, and accused of conspiring against the republic with Charles François Dumouriez
Charles François Dumouriez
Charles-François du Périer Dumouriez was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars. He shared the victory at Valmy with General François Christophe Kellermann, but later deserted the Revolutionary Army and became a royalist intriguer during the reign of Napoleon.-Early life:Dumouriez...

, the renegade general. Though indicted before the Revolutionary Tribunal – and under attack in Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat
Jean-Paul Marat , born in the Principality of Neuchâtel, was a physician, political theorist, and scientist best known for his career in France as a radical journalist and politician during the French Revolution...

's L'Ami du peuple
L'Ami du peuple
L'Ami du peuple was a newspaper written by Jean-Paul Marat during the French Revolution. “The most celebrated radical paper of the Revolution”, according to historian Jeremy D...

– he conducted his defence with such calm eloquence that he was declared innocent. Even so, the campaign of Marat and the rest of the Jacobins
Jacobin Club
The Jacobin Club was the most famous and influential political club in the development of the French Revolution, so-named because of the Dominican convent where they met, located in the Rue St. Jacques , Paris. The club originated as the Club Benthorn, formed at Versailles from a group of Breton...

 against him did not weaken. He was arrested again in July 1793, when he was incarcerated in La Force prison
La Force Prison
La Force Prison was a French prison located in the Rue du Roi de Sicile, what is now the 4th arrondissement of Paris.Originally the private residence of the Duke of la Force, the structure was converted into a prison in 1780....

, effectively one of the ante-chambers of death during the prevailing Reign of Terror
Reign of Terror
The Reign of Terror , also known simply as The Terror , was a period of violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of "enemies of...

. Appearing again before the tribunal, and mustering all his soldierly courage, he accused the Committee of Public Safety
Committee of Public Safety
The Committee of Public Safety , created in April 1793 by the National Convention and then restructured in July 1793, formed the de facto executive government in France during the Reign of Terror , a stage of the French Revolution...

 of tyranny, in disregarding his previous acquittal.

Miranda seems to have survived by a combination of good luck and political expediency: the revolutionary government simply could not agree what to do with him. He remained in La Force even after the fall of Robespierre in July 1794, and was not finally released until the January of the following year. Now convinced that the whole direction taken by the Revolution had been wrong, he started to conspire with the moderate royalists against the Directory
French Directory
The Directory was a body of five Directors that held executive power in France following the Convention and preceding the Consulate...

, and was even named as the possible leader of a military coup. He was arrested and ordered out of the country, only to escape and go into hiding.

He reappeared after being given permission to remain in France, though that did not stop his involvement in yet another monarchist plot in September 1797. The police were ordered to arrest the "Peruvian general", as the said general submerged himself yet again in the underground. With no more illusions about France, or the Revolution, he left for England in a Danish boat, arriving in Dover in January 1798.

His name remains engraved on the Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe
-The design:The astylar design is by Jean Chalgrin , in the Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture . Major academic sculptors of France are represented in the sculpture of the Arc de Triomphe: Jean-Pierre Cortot; François Rude; Antoine Étex; James Pradier and Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire...

, which was built during the First Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

. He is the only person from the american continent present in the Arc.

Expeditions in South America, the First Venezuelan Republic, and death (1806–1816)

His life has long been associated with the struggle of the Spanish colonies in Latin America for independence. Miranda envisioned an independent empire consisting of all the territories that had been under Spanish and Portuguese
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 rule, stretching from the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 to Cape Horn
Cape Horn
Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, and is located on the small Hornos Island...

. This empire was to be under the leadership of a hereditary emperor called the "Inca", in honor of the great Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

, and would have a bicameral legislature
In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

. He conceived the name Colombia for this empire, after the explorer Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

With informal British help, Miranda led an attempted invasion of the Captaincy General of Venezuela
Captaincy General of Venezuela
The Captaincy General of Venezuela was an administrative district of colonial Spain, created in 1777 to provide more autonomy for the provinces of Venezuela, previously under the jurisdiction of the Viceroyalty of New Granada and the Audiencia of Santo Domingo...

 in 1806. At the time Britain was at war with Spain, an ally of Napoleon. In November 1805 Miranda travelled to New York, where he rekindled his acquaintance with Colonel William S. Smith, who introduced him to merchant Samuel G. Ogden (who would later be tried, but acquitted, for helping organize Miranda's expedition). Miranda then went to Washington for private meetings with President Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 and his Secretary of State James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

, who met with Miranda but did not involve themselves or their nation in his plans, which would have been a violation of the Proclamation of Neutrality
Proclamation of Neutrality
The Proclamation of Neutrality was a formal announcement issued by United States President George Washington on April 22, 1793, declaring the nation neutral in the conflict between France and Great Britain. It threatened legal proceedings against any American providing assistance to any country at...

 of 1793. Miranda privately began organizing a filibustering expedition
Filibuster (military)
A filibuster, or freebooter, is someone who engages in an unauthorized military expedition into a foreign country to foment or support a revolution...

 to liberate Venezuela. Among the volunteers who served under him in this revolt was David G. Burnet
David G. Burnet
David Gouverneur Burnet was an early politician within the Republic of Texas, serving as interim President of Texas , second Vice President of the Republic of Texas , and Secretary of State for the new state of Texas after it was annexed to the United States of America.Burnet was born in Newark,...

 of the United States, who would later serve as interim president of the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

 after its secession from Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 in 1836. Miranda hired a ship from Ogden, which he rebaptized the Leander in honor of his oldest son.

In Jacmel
Jacmel, also known by its indigenous Taíno name of Yaquimel, is a town in southern Haiti founded in 1698. It is the capital of the department of Sud-Est and has an estimated population of 40,000, while the municipality of Jacmel had a population of 137,966 at the 2003 Census.The buildings are...

, Haiti, Miranda acquired two other ships, the Bee and the Bacchus, and their crews. It is here in Jacmel on March 12, when Miranda made, and raised on the Leander, the first Venezuelan flag
Flag of Venezuela
The current flag of Venezuela was introduced in 2006.The basic design includes a horizontal tricolor of yellow, blue, and red, dating to the original flag introduced in 1811, in the Venezuelan War of Independence....

, which he had personally designed. On April 28 the small fleet was overtaken by Spanish war ships off the coast of Venezuela. Only the Leander escaped. Sixty men were captured and put on trial, and ten were sentenced to death. The Leander and the expeditionary force regrouped on the British islands of Barbados
Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

 and Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

. The expedition landed at La Vela de Coro on August 3, captured the fort and raised the flag for the first time on Venezuelan soil. Before dawn the next morning the expeditionaries occupied Coro
Santa Ana de Coro
Coro is the capital of Falcón State and the oldest city in the west of Venezuela.-History:The city was founded on July 26, 1527 by Spanish colonists. The name "Coro" is believed to be an indigenous word meaning "wind".The city had a turbulent history in colonial times and suffered a number of...

, but found no support from the city residents. Rather than risk a defeat, the small royal force in the city fell back from the city escorting refugees and to await reinforcements. Realizing that he could not hold the city for long, Miranda ordered his force to set sail again on August 13, and he spent the next year in the British Caribbean waiting for reinforcements that never came. On his return to Britain, he was met with better support for his plans from the British government. In 1808 a large military force to attack Venezuela was assembled and placed under the command of Arthur Wellesley
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

, but Napoleon's invasion of Spain suddenly transformed Spain into an ally of Britain, and the force instead went there to fight in the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...


The First Republic of Venezuela

After Venezuela achieved de facto independence on April 19, 1810, when a junta
Junta (Peninsular War)
In the Napoleonic era, junta was the name chosen by several local administrations formed in Spain during the Peninsular War as a patriotic alternative to the official administration toppled by the French invaders...

 was established and the colonial administrators deposed. The Junta sent a delegation to Great Britain to get British recognition and aid. This delegation, which included future Venezuelan notables Simón Bolívar
Simón Bolívar
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Yeiter, commonly known as Simón Bolívar was a Venezuelan military and political leader...

 and Andrés Bello
Andrés Bello
Andrés de Jesús María y José Bello López was a Venezuelan humanist, poet, lawmaker, philosopher, educator and philologist, whose political and literary works constitute an important part of Spanish American culture...

, met with and persuaded Miranda to return to his native land. There he agitated for the provisional government to declare independence. Miranda gathered around him a group of similarly-minded individuals and helped establish an association, la Sociedad Patriotica, modeled on the political clubs
Jacobin Club
The Jacobin Club was the most famous and influential political club in the development of the French Revolution, so-named because of the Dominican convent where they met, located in the Rue St. Jacques , Paris. The club originated as the Club Benthorn, formed at Versailles from a group of Breton...

 of the French Revolution. By the end of the year the Venezuelan provinces elected a congress to deal with the future of the country, and Miranda was chosen as the delegate from El Pao
Francisco de Miranda Municipality, Anzoátegui
The Francisco de Miranda Municipality is one of the 21 municipalities that makes up the eastern Venezuelan state of Anzoátegui and, according to a 2007 population estimate by the National Institute of Statistics of Venezuela, the municipality has a population of 42,357. The town of Pariaguán is...

, Barcelona Province. On July 5, 1811, it formally declared Venezuelan independence and established a republic. The congress also adopted his tricolor
A tricolour is a flag or banner more-or-less equally divided into three bands of differing colours...

 as the Republic's flag.
The following year Miranda and the young Republic's fortunes turned. Republican forces failed to subdue areas of Venezuela which had remained royalist. In addition, Venezuela's loss of the Spanish market for its main export, cocoa meant that an economic crisis set in, which mostly hurt the middle and lower classes, who lost enthusiasm for the Republic. Finally a powerful earthquake
1812 Caracas earthquake
The 1812 Caracas earthquake took place in Venezuela on March 26, 1812 at 4:37 p.m. It measured 7.7 on the Richter magnitude scale. It caused extensive damage in Caracas, La Guaira, Barquisimeto, San Felipe, and Mérida...

 and its aftershock
An aftershock is a smaller earthquake that occurs after a previous large earthquake, in the same area of the main shock. If an aftershock is larger than the main shock, the aftershock is redesignated as the main shock and the original main shock is redesignated as a foreshock...

s hit the country, which caused large numbers of deaths and serious damage to buildings, mostly in republican areas. It did not help that it hit on March 26, 1812, as services for Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great & Holy Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels...

 were beginning. The Caracas Junta had been established on a Maundy Thursday as well, so the earthquake fell on its second anniversary in the liturgical calendar. This was interpreted by many as a sign from Providence
Divine Providence
In Christian theology, divine providence, or simply providence, is God's activity in the world. " Providence" is also used as a title of God exercising His providence, and then the word are usually capitalized...

, and many, including those in the Republican army, began to secretly plot against the Republic or outright defect. Other provinces refused to send reinforcements to Caracas Province. Worse still, whole provinces began to switch sides. On July 4, an uprising brought Barcelona over to the royalist side. Neighboring Cumaná, now cut off from the Republican center, refused to recognize Miranda's dictatorial powers and his appointment of a commandant general. By the middle of the month many of the outlying areas of Cumaná Province had also defected to the royalists. With these circumstances a Spanish marine frigate captain, Domingo Monteverde
Juan Domingo de Monteverde
Juan Domingo de Monteverde y Rivas , commonly known as Domingo de Monteverde, was a Spanish soldier, governor and Captain General of Venezuela from June 1812 to 8 August 1813. Monteverde was the leader of Spanish forces in the Venezuelan War of Independence from 1812 to 1813...

, operating out of Coro, was able to turn a small force under his command into a large army, as people joined him on his advance towards Valencia, leaving Miranda in charge of only a small area of central Venezuela. In these dire circmstances the government appointed Miranda generalissimo
Generalissimo and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.-Usage:...

, with broad political powers
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

. By mid-July Monteverde had taken Valencia, and Miranda thought the situation was hopeless. He started negotiations with Monteverde and finalized an armistice
An armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but may be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace...

 on July 25, 1812. He then went to the port of La Guaira intending to leave on a British ship before the royalists arrived, although under the armistice there was an amnesty for political offenses. Then-Colonel Bolívar and other revolutionary officers claimed that they regarded this action as treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

ous. In one of Bolívar's most morally dubious acts, Bolívar and the others arrested and handed Miranda over to the Spanish Royal Army. Bolívar claimed afterwards that he wanted to shoot him as a traitor but was restrained by the others; Bolívar's reasoning was that "if Miranda believed the Spaniards would observe the treaty, he should have remained to keep them to their word; if he did not, he was a traitor to have sacrificed his army to it" Ironically, it was by handing over Miranda to the Spanish that Bolívar assured himself a passport from the Spanish authorities (passports which, nevertheless, had been guaranteed to all republicans who requested them by the terms of the armistice), which allowed him to leave Venezuela unmolested.

Miranda never saw freedom again. His case was still being processed, when he died in a prison cell at the Cuatro Torres Fort at the Arsenal of La Carraca, outside Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

. He was buried in a mass grave
Mass grave
A mass grave is a grave containing multiple number of human corpses, which may or may not be identified prior to burial. There is no strict definition of the minimum number of bodies required to constitute a mass grave, although the United Nations defines a mass grave as a burial site which...

, making it impossible to identify his remains, so an empty tomb has been left for him in the National Pantheon of Venezuela.

The oil painting by the Venezuelan artist Arturo Michelena
Arturo Michelena
Arturo Michelena was a Venezuelan painter born in Valencia, Carabobo State. He began to paint at a young age under his father's tutelage. Traveled to Paris where he studied in the famous Académie Julian...

 titled, Miranda en la Carraca (1896), which portrays the hero in the Spanish jail where he died, has become a graphic symbol of Venezuelan history, and has immortalized the image of Miranda for generations of Venezuelans.

Legacy and honours

Miranda has been honoured in a number of ways, including in the naming of a Venezuelan state, Miranda
Miranda (state)
Miranda State is one of the 23 states into which Venezuela is divided. It is ranked second in population among Venezuelan states, after Zulia State. In June 30, 2010, it had approximately 2,987,968 residents. It also has the greatest Human Development Index in Venezuela, according to the...

 (created in 1889), a Venezuelan port, Puerto Miranda
Puerto Miranda
Puerto Miranda is an oil port situated on the east side of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela opposite the city of Maracaibo and is operated by the Venezuelan State Oil Company It is the largest crude oil export port in South America....

, and a number of Venezuelan municipalities named "Miranda
Miranda Municipality
Miranda Municipality may refer to the following places in the Venezuela:*Miranda Municipality, Carabobo*Miranda Municipality, Falcón*Miranda Municipality, Mérida*Miranda Municipality, Trujillo*Miranda Municipality, Zuliasee also...

" or "Francisco de Miranda
Francisco de Miranda Municipality
Francisco de Miranda Municipality may refer to the following places in the Venezuela:*Francisco de Miranda Municipality, Anzoátegui*Francisco de Miranda Municipality, Guárico*Francisco de Miranda Municipality, Táchirasee also* Miranda Municipality...


A Caracas airbase and a Caracas park
Parque del Este
Parque del Este officially Parque Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda is an urban park of 0.82 km² in the east of Caracas, designed by Brazilian landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx. Opened in 1961, the park is served by the Caracas Metro .- External links :...

 are named for him.

The Order of Francisco de Miranda
Order of Francisco de Miranda
The Order of Francisco de Miranda is conferred by the Republic of Venezuela in memory of Francisco de Miranda . This national honor and decoration was created to recognize Venezuelan citizens and foreigners who have contributed to the sciences, to the progress of the country, to the humanities or...

 was established in the 1930s.

In 2006 Venezuela's Flag Day
Flag Day
A flag day is a flag-related holiday—either a day designated for flying a certain flag , or a day set aside to celebrate a historical event such as a nation's adoption of its flag....

 was moved to August 3, in honor of Miranda's 1806 disembarkation at La Vela de Coro.

One of the Bolivarian Missions
Bolivarian Missions
The Bolivarian Missions are a series of social justice, social welfare, anti-poverty, educational, electoral and military recruiting programs implemented under the administration of the current Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez...

, Mission Miranda, is named for him.

Miranda's life was portrayed in the Venezuelan film Francisco de Miranda
Francisco de Miranda (film)
Francisco de Miranda is a Venezuelan film on the life of Venezuelan independence hero Francisco de Miranda. It was released in Venezuela in August 2006, opening at 400 cinemas, and beating Superman Returns at the box office.- Casting :...

(2006), as well as in the unrelated film Miranda Returns (2007).

Miranda's name is engraved in the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.


Daniel Florence O'Leary, aide-de-camp
An aide-de-camp is a personal assistant, secretary, or adjutant to a person of high rank, usually a senior military officer or a head of state...

 to Simón Bolívar, said of Miranda's death:
"Miranda was a man of the eighteenth century whose genius lay in raising the consciousness and confidence of his fellow Americans
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

. Although he prided himself on being a soldier, his greatest battles were fought with his pen

Further Reading

  • Chavez, Thomas E. Spain and the Independence of the United States: An Intrinsic Gift. University of New Mexico Press, 2003.
  • Harvey, Robert. "Liberators: Latin America`s Struggle For Independence, 1810-1830". John Murray, London (2000). ISBN 0-7195-5566-3
  • Miranda, Francisco de. (Judson P. Wood, translator. John S. Ezell, ed.) The New Democracy in America: Travels of Francisco de Miranda in the United States, 1783–84. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963.
  • Roberston, William S. "Francisco de Miranda and the Revolutionizing of Spanish America" in Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1907, Vol. 1. Washington: Government Priniting Office, 1908. 189–539.
  • Robertson, William S. Life of Miranda, 2 vols. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1929.
  • Thorning, Joseph F. Miranda: World Citizen. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1952.
  • Moisei Alperovich . "Francisco de Miranda y Rusia", V Centenario del descubrimiento de América: encuentro de culturas y continentes. Editorial Progreso, (Moscu), shortened version in Spanish, (1989), ISBN 5 – 01 – 001248 -0, Edit. Progreso, URSS, 380 pages. Russian Version : unabridged, (1986).

External links

  • Grogan, Samuel "Francisco de Miranda", History Text Archive
  • Another statue by Lorenzo Gonzalez (1977) on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
    Benjamin Franklin Parkway
    Benjamin Franklin Parkway is a scenic boulevard that runs through the cultural heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Named for favorite son Benjamin Franklin, the mile-long Parkway cuts diagonally across the grid plan pattern of Center City's Northwest quadrant...

    , Philadelphia
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

  • "General Miranda's Expedition", Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 31 (May 1860). An account of the Leander affair Diarios: Una selección 1771 – 1800 – Selections from the diaries of Francisco de Miranda, 1771–1800, Caracas: Monte Avila, 2006
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