Francisco de Miranda paid part of his officer career with cocoa


His father, who was a merchant, gave him some sacks of these valuable seeds to pay for his trip to Spain and join the Royal Army.

A part of the expenses of the trip to Spain by Francisco de Miranda, with 21 years of age, and the paperwork to enter the Royal Army, were paid for with a few bags of cocoa that his father Sebastián de Miranda gave him on the day of his embarkation, on January 25, 1771.

In colonial times, during the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, cocoa was one of the main items of the Venezuelan economy.

In the mid-eighteenth century, Venezuela was the largest producer and exporter of cocoa in the world, with a production of 10.000 tons per year, and its variety “Caraca”, produced in the province of Caracas (currently the Capital District and the states of Miranda, Aragua and Carabobo), was one of the most highly regarded in Europe.

In the Port of La Guaira it was one of the main ports from where ships loaded with cocoa departed.

The cost of this raw material was also highly valued during these centuries. Its price was up to 100% higher than other agricultural products, which made it inaccessible for the pockets of most families in Venezuela, who were poor.

Francisco de Miranda's father owned a cloth business in Caracas that also operated a bakery, and although he was not rich, he lived very comfortably.

Why does Sebastián help his son to enter the Spanish Army?

Two years before firing his son Francisco, Sebastián unleashed the wrath of the Creole whites, owners of cocoa farms and slaves, by his appointment, in April 1769, as captain of the sixth company of riflemen.

The Mantuans or Creole whites did not forgive the fact that Miranda's father, who was Canarian Spanish and did not own haciendas, held that position, blocking his military career and even closing his store.

These reasons forced Sebastián to do everything possible so that his eldest son, Francisco, traveled to Spain to join the Royal Army, and had an opportunity that was already denied in the Province of Venezuela.

  • This text was prepared with information from the book Francisco de Miranda, precursor to the independence of Latin America, by Carmen Bohorquez; from the interview of journalist Ernesto Villegas with Carmen Bohorquez, broadcast on VTV on May 29, 2022; and Cocoa farmers in Venezuela: from slavery to cooperatives, by Aura Adriana Delgado

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