Francis of Miranda
Francisco Miranda - Liberator of America. Since the Middle Ages, the Miranda family has distinguished itself in Spain by its feats of weaponry. Francisco's grandfather had settled in the Canary Islands.
It was there that Sebastian de Miranda, Francisco's father, was born and later emigrated to Venezuela.
Don Sebastian married Mrs. Francisca Antonia Rodriguez Espinoza, who gave him his first son on March 28, 1750: Francisco.
The Miranda family is one of the most respected in Caracas. They are rich and of good stock. Don Sebastian de Miranda is both a merchant and a captain of His Majesty.
But Creole aristocrats cannot stand that a metropolitan man may have more power than descendants of conquerors that have been established in America for more than two centuries.
So much so that they get their dismissal from the Captain General of Venezuela.
Young Francis lives a happy life. He learns Latin and studies at the Royal University of Caracas. In 1771, at the age of 21, he sailed for Spain.
He had in his pocket the scrolls that would allow him to enter the Court.
When Francisco arrived in Cadiz, he felt moved to step on the soil of the Patria, the country that gave birth to Juan de Miranda, hero of the Battle of Lepanto.
Assassinated by the attitude of the criollos of Venezuela, Francisco wants to assert his titles of nobility in Madrid.
In the capital, Francisco takes courses in mathematics, modern languages and military arts. At the same time, he frequents the social halls of the capital.
Two years after his arrival in Madrid he bought a captaincy and, in the service of Spain, participated in the conflict against Morocco.
Miranda showed ingenuity, but his indiscipline with his superiors led him to the prison in Cadiz. However, at the age of 25, his superiors saw him as an exceptional soldier.
II. Back in America
The British Empire in America is in serious trouble. Insurgent settlers are gaining ground.
France, wanting to consolidate her power, declares war on England and decides to help the insurgents.
Playing the families' game, he drags Spain into the war.
Francisco Miranda embarks in Cadiz with the expeditionary force in charge of attacking British possessions in America.
Miranda shines with her exploits and is elevated to the rank of lieutenant colonel at the age of 32.
However, in spite of being at the service of Spain, Francisco Miranda began to admire the English insurgents who had just obtained their independence, and his heart beat more for Venezuela than for the Motherland.
In fact, his inferiority due to his Venezuelan origin was constantly pointed out to him, and he suffered as a result.
Being stationed in Havana, Miranda gets bored. On June 1, 1783, he embarks on an American ship bound for North Carolina. Nine days later he set foot on the soil of free America.
On American soil, Miranda gave free rein to her Anglophilia. It is very well received. In Philadelphia he made many friends: the Knight of Luzerne, Minister of France, Francisco Rendon, Ambassador of Spain, General Mifflin, President of the Congress...
Then Francisco Miranda was introduced to General Washington to whom he dedicated great admiration.
In January 1784, he visited New York and met with the highest personalities of the United States.
Miranda told them of his enthusiasm for the Republic, but criticized its set-up and its economic "dependence" on England.
He established contacts with political and military personnel, trying to find out what weapons the United States could provide to the Spanish colonies. Without precise answers, Miranda decided to leave the United States and go to Europe.
III. Miranda's European "tour
Still a Lieutenant Colonel in the service of Spain, Miranda decided to go to London. King Charles III, who understood that Miranda was conspiring against Spain, put him under surveillance.
So the latter reveals his game and sends his resignation to Madrid. Miranda embarks on a journey that seems more diplomatic than touristy.
In Potsdam, Francisco Miranda is presented to King Frederick of Prussia, who makes a great impression on him.
Similarly, in Berlin he meets La Fayette, but the two men do not get along. In Hungary he sympathizes with Haydn and Prince Esterhazy.
In Vienna, visit to Emperor Joseph II. Then he travels through Italy and Greece where he falls under the spell of the arts of these countries. Finally, his journey took him to Constantinople where he made many contacts.
Miranda then decides to go to Kiev. At the imperial palace he is introduced to the great Catherine, Empress of all Russias.
After a few weeks a great sympathy develops between the two characters and Francis becomes familiar with the Empress.
At Court, Miranda makes new friends: the Count of Segur, Minister of France, the Count of Dillon, the Prussian Colonel of Anhalt and Count Dimitri Mamonoff, lover of the Empress' title, and the King of Poland.
The generals and marshals sought out Miranda's company for their views on the art of war.
The duchesses ask him about love. But it is with Catherine, a woman of letters educated in the "French" style, that Francisco Miranda speaks the most.
He then left Kiev and went to Moscow in the company of Prince Potemkin. There he rubbed shoulders with much of the Moscow aristocracy. He frequented the salons but also had access to the most secret archives. Miranda studied the commercial and political treaties he could find.
The Spanish chargé d'affaires is offended by Miranda's presence in official Russian circles, a man who is tried as a deserter.
Family ties between the Spanish, French and Russian crowns should lead to Miranda's expulsion from court. But the Empress protects him and silences his critics.
However, Miranda, who has just turned 35, decides to continue her journey and sets off for Sweden.
In Stockholm he is invited by the Russian ambassador and meets with King Gustav III. Then Miranda went to Norway and arrived in Denmark in 1787. But in the Danish press he was accused of being a spy for the Empress of Russia. There is talk of extradition to Spain. But the King of Denmark assured him of his support.
Francisco Miranda is bored in the Danish court. He decides to go to Germany. Seeing the canal that connects the Baltic with the North Sea, he imagines the possibility of digging one in Panama that would join the Atlantic and the Pacific.
On May 24, 1789 Francisco Miranda arrived in Paris.
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