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June 26, 2024 45 mins

Part two of our episode on Francisco de Miranda covers his travels after he left North America following the American Revolution, and explores his involvement with the French revolution before he focused on independence for Latin American colonies.


  • "Francisco de Miranda." Historic World Leaders, edited by Anne Commire, Gale, 1994. Gale In Context: U.S. History, Accessed 5 June 2024.
  • "Lessons from a liberal swashbuckler; Bello." The Economist, vol. 420, no. 8999, 23 July 2016, p. 28(US). Gale OneFile: Business, Accessed 5 June 2024.
  • “Unveiling Memories: Spain and the Hispanic Contribution to U.S. Independence.”
  • Alejandro E. Gómez, “The ‘Pardo Question’”, Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos [En ligne], Matériaux de séminaires, mis en ligne le 08 juin 2008, consulté le 11 juin 2024. URL :
  • Bolufer, Mónica. “A Latin American Casanova? Sex, Gender, Enlightenment and Revolution in the Life and Writings of Francisco de Miranda.” Gender & History, Vol.34 No.1 March 2022, pp. 22–41.
  • Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Francisco de Miranda". Encyclopedia Britannica, 27 Mar. 2024, Accessed 5 June 2024.
  • Cook, Sue. “Francisco de Miranda - the Venezuelan revolutionary with a Yorkshire wife.” BBC Radio 4.
  • Miller, Gary. "Miranda, Francisco de (1750–1816)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, edited by Jay Kinsbruner and Erick D. Langer, 2nd ed., vol. 4, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008, pp. 620-622. Gale In Context: World History, Accessed 5 June 2024.
  • Navas, Claudia Isabel. “Francisco de Miranda and the United States.” Library of Congress Hispanic Division. 10/11/2017.
  • Racine, Karen. “Francisco de Miranda: A Transatlantic Life in the Age of Revolution.” Scholarly Resources Inc. 2003.
  • Robertson, William Spence. “Francisco de Miranda and the revolutionizing of Spanish America.” Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the year 1907. Government Printing Office. 1908.
  • Sutton, Mallory. “Treaty of Aranjuez (1779).” George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
  • Teaching History. “Spain in the American Revolution.”

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class, a production
of iHeartRadio. Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Tracy V.
Wilson and I'm Holly Frye. This is the second part
of our episode on Francisco de Miranda. Where we left off,

he had been convicted of desertion and sentenced to exile
from Spain, and then had spent about a year and
a half touring the newly established United States. So if
you're thinking I should probably find out what that was
all about, because I didn't listen to part one, go
do that first. From there, after touring the United States,

he set off for London, and that would become his
primary home for a big chunk of his adult life.
Francisco de Miranda left the United States on December fifteenth,
seventeen eighty four, arriving in England on February first of
the following year. He reconnected with people he had known
during his earlier time in Europe, including the merchant John Turnbull,

who he had previously met in Gibraltar. Turnbull became something
of a patron to Miranda, helping to finance his life
in exile. Miranda also introduced himself to the Spanish ambassador
in London, Bernardo del Campo y Perez de la Cerna,
to explain himself for his actions back in the Caribbean.

But the ambassador had already heard from Jose Moninho, the
first Count of Florida Blanca, chief Minister to King Carlos,
the third of Spain, Chief Minister, had already told the
ambassador to be on the lookout for Miranda, and if
Miranda arrived in London, the ambassador was expected to try
to gain his trust with the goal of eventually capturing him.

I think there were legal and diplomatic reasons not to
just shut the door behind him when he came into
the office and say you're captured now, but I don't
have the specifics of what those reasons were. One of
Miranda's core character traits, which we mentioned in the first part,
really seems to have been hubris, and with Bernardo del

Campo's help and encouragement, he wrote a letter to the
King not only asking to be released from his military service,
but also asking to be paid wages that he had
never collected for that service, as well as repayment of
his purchase of his commission, who he does not lack
for bravado. The ambassador intercepted this letter and other letters

that Miranda sent to friends and family asking for money
as he tried to put together a plan to try
to take him into custody. Not knowing that the ambassador
had orders to try to capture him, thirty four year
old Miranda also let him know helpfully that he was
leaving London. He embarked on a year European tour, much
like the Grand Tours of the Continent that were commonly

undertaken by upperclass young men in Europe in the seventeenth
through about the nineteenth centuries. He traveled for a time
with Colonel William Stevens Smith, who had been an officer
in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and was
George Washington's aide de camp during the Battle of Yorktown.
While in London, Smith also started courting Abigail Amelia Adams,

known as Nabby, daughter of John and Abigail Adams. Miranda
and Smith traveled first to Prussia, making their way there
through Holland. This was fortunate for Miranda since the Spanish
had been expecting him to travel through France and had
been working on a plan to capture him en route,
as he'd done. While traveling through the United States, Miranda

observed how different governments worked and how their rulers and
leaders did things. He and Smith also toured a lot
of historical, religious, and cultural sites, as well as education institutions.
In a lot of ways, this tour was more like
an intentional study and learning experience than a casual sight
seeing trip. Smith went back to London in September of

seventeen eighty five, where he took up formal duties as
secretary to the American legation, and he married Nabbie Adams
there on June eleventh, seventeen eighty six. Not long after
Smith returned to London, Miranda had an encounter with Marie
Josef paulives Rouche Guilbert de Mortier, Marquis de Lafayette while
observing military maneuvers by the Prussian Army. Lafayette had been

instrumental in the Revolutionary War, serving on George Washington's staff,
working with Benjamin Franklin's delegation to secure aid from France,
and commanding an army at Yorktown. Lafayette both offered his
services should Miranda ever visit Paris, and also asked him
whether he thought there might be a similar uprising in

the Spanish colonies. Miranda does not seem to have liked
or trusted Lafayette, for reasons that aren't fully clear. He
suspected that Lafayette had been involved in one of the
many capture attempts, though so in this one case, Miranda
was uncharacteristically evasive. He told Lafayette that he had heard

of no such revolutionary activity in Spanish America, even though
he himself was thinking about this a lot. Miranda was
a wanted man, but he was also charming and resourceful,
and with some exceptions like the Marquis de Lafayette, he
had no trouble finding friends to help him out or
to make introductions to people that he wanted to meet.

He spent roughly four years traveling through Europe, learning and
exploring and trying to get support for his plan to
start that aforementioned but denied to Lafayette revolution in Spanish America.
He wanted to liberate all of the territory that Spain
was holding in the Americas, which was from Cape Horror
at the far southern tip of Chile, all the way

north to the forty fifth parallel for context, The forty
fifth parallel north forms much of the border between Montana
and Wyoming. From west to east, this liberated empire would
stretch from the Pacific Ocean to the borders of Guyana
and Brazil. In South America, those were under the control
of Britain and Portugal, and in North America it would

extend to the Mississippi River. Miranda had written a constitution
for this massive empire he envisioned, which he wanted to
call Columbia. He said this would be founded under the
principles of freedom and independence. In the words of an
early English language biography of him quote, the executive power

in this vast state was to be vested in an inca,
who was to be styled Emperor. His power was to
be hereditary. The legislative power was to be placed in
a bicameral legislature. The upper House or Senate, was to
be composed of a fixed number of senators or ki chiks,
who were to be chosen by the Inca for life,

from citizens who had honorably occupied the first offices of
the empire, such as General, Admiral, Chief Justice and questor.
The members of the Lower House or Chamber of Communes
were to be chosen by all the citizens. They were
to hold office for five years, and their persons were
declared to be inviolable for that period, except in case

of capital crimes, reelection was possible. The members of the
judiciary were to be chosen by the Inca from the
most distinguished members of the judicial corps. These federal judges
were to hold office for life, unless deprived of their
positions by a judgment of forfeiture. They were the only
officers mentioned in the Constitution regarding whom it was specified

that they were to receive a salary. So the role
of Inca here is terminology that he was appropriating from
the Inca Empire that had flourished in South America in
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He was not necessarily envisioning
installing someone from one of the Catchewes speaking peoples still
living in this region of the world in this hereditary office. Tracy,

who did the research on this, honestly found this sort
of very foggy regarding who exactly he thought should step
into this hereditary new role. Yeah, I also think he
was conceiving this nomenclature as honorific, but like this adds
to the things that he just hasn't thought about very

very clearly, like what it means to liberate and use
this title for the people who really were descendants of
that empire but are maybe not going to be part
of the ruling elite of this newly liberated organizational plan.
This was one of several frameworks that Miranda envisioned for
a liberated Spanish America over the course of his lifetime,

and he drafted and revised other proposed constitutions in addition
to this one. Some of them were closer to like
a constitutional monarchy, some of them were closer to a republic.
All of them, though, were focused on ideals like liberty
and freedom, although, as we said in Part one and

a few moments ago, I think without really wrestling with
how that would be achieved given the context of colonization
and enslavement and genocide in these places that he wanted
to liberate, I have a theory we'll discuss by the
same on Friday. One of the people Miranda spent the

most time and effort trying to win over to his
plan was the Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great. He
spent almost two years in Russian territory making his case
and trying to gain her support. There were rumors that
the two of them were lovers. It is known that
Miranda had a lot of lovers during his life time,
but there's no substantiation for this particular relationship. Although Miranda

couldn't get Catherine to commit to backing his revolution, she
did give him some money, and she ordered Russian embassies
to assist him where they could. Being under the Empress's
protection also helped him evade yet more attempts to take
him into Spanish custody. Miranda returned to London in seventeen
eighty nine. When he had first arrived there four years before,

he had not found much support for his revolutionary ideas.
This was really not surprising since Britain had just been
through the Revolutionary War. But in seventeen ninety he thought
he might be able to take advantage of an international
dispute over the Nuka Sound off Vancouver Island. Britain and

Spain were both claiming to control this sound, and Miranda
hoped to convince the British that a revolution in Spanish
territory would work out in their favor. In this dispute.
He had at least two meetings with the British Prime Minister,
William Pitt the Younger about these plans, much to Miranda's frustration,

though Pitt was a lot more focused on Spain, not
on like a hypothetical situation involving Spain's colonies in the Americas.
In June of seventeen eighty nine, Miranda also followed up
with Spain's ambassador to Britain, Bernardo del Campo, pointing out
that he had never heard anything back about that letter
that he'd sent to King Carlos the Third, explaining why

it was totally reasonable for him to have deserted the
Spanish army, and also asking for back pay and a
refund on the money he paid for his commission. The
ambassador had never sent the letter after intercepting it, but
said that he'd had no idea where Miranda was for
the last four years. He thought he'd just settled this
situation with Spain himself. So Miranda wrote to Count Florida Blanca,

Minister to the King, saying that he had been offered
all of positions with other governments and had to refuse
them because he was still tied to Spain. He again
wrote directly to the king, which was now King Carlos
the Fourth, who had come to the throne after his
father's death in seventeen eighty eight. Miranda seems to have
been holding out hope for some kind of reconciliation with

the Spanish crown, one which somehow would involve the crown
coming to agree with him that Spanish America deserved to
be independent. Bernardo del Campo eventually did send a letter
on his behalf that requested he be given safe conduct
to Madrid so that he could vindicate his honor. Instead,
though Miranda was ordered to just return to Spain so

that he could face trial. Mirenda knew that if he
returned to Spanish territory after this, he would immediately be imprisoned,
so in April of seventeen ninety he wrote another letter
to the King in which he said that he must
quote renounce the pleasant society of my parents and other
relatives in order to see a country that would at
least treat me with justice and assure me civil tranquility.

His next move after this was to France, and we'll
have more after a sponsor break. We set up at
the top of part one of the episode that Francisco
de Miranda had fought in three revolutions. We already talked

about the Revolutionary War. Now we have reached the second
of them. After renouncing his ties to Spain, he spent
a couple of years in London and then decided to
visit France. He set sail on March nineteenth, seventeen ninety two.
In the timeline of the French Revolution, I'm laughing because

I'm just like, this just seems like a time to
decide that you're going to go to France. This was
after the storming of the Bastille. It was before the
monarchy was abolished and France was proclaimed to be a republic.
So Louis the sixteenth still king, but under the French
Constitution of seventeen ninety one he was sharing power with
the Legislative Assembly. Although Mirenda had an obvious affinity for

the French revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity, he
didn't immediately join up with the revolutionary movement. He spent
some time basically sightseeing around Paris, while also meeting various
officials and political leaders. This included members of the Revolutionary
Giron d'in faction, but even then his focus was on

revolution in Spanish America, not in France. But then came
the French Revolutionary Wars. That's the series of wars between
France and other European nations that started in seventeen ninety two,
eventually morphing into the Napoleonic Wars after Napoleon's rise to power.
The first phase of these wars became known as the

War of the First Coalition, and the French national anthem
La Marseillees was written as a rally cried during its
initial stages when things were not going all that well
for France. When the war started, France was dealing with
an economic crisis, food riots, and all the social and
political upheaval connected with the French Revolution. Other European monarchies

saw the revolutionary events in France as alarming and considered
whether to intervene to protect King Louis the sixteenth and
Marie Antoinette, or to try to prevent similar revolutions within
their own kingdoms and empires. Some monarchs wanted to put
down the revolution entirely, while others were more focused on
keeping it confined just to France. So in April of

seventeen ninety two, King Louis's ministry was made up primarily
of Girondin, who were advising him to go to war
with Austria, where they believed that French nationals were planning
a counter revolution, and then various factions within France all
thought that a war would work out to their benefit
for a range of reasons, like the revolutionaries thought that

it would make it obvious that the king was not
acting in good faith, while the royalists and supporters of
the constitutional monarchy that had been established in seventeen ninety
one thought that a war could help solidify the king's power.
But this quickly spiraled away from what most people had
anticipated or hoped for, with Prussia declaring war on France,

the King dismissing his general, damn ministers and installing a
more moderate faction, and other nations threatening to declare war
as well if the French monarchs came to any harm.
Tensions escalated between the king and the Legislative Assembly, and
on August tenth, seventeen ninety two, revolutionary storm Tuilirie's palace,
killing the King's Swiss guard. The royal family was arrested

and the monarchy was suspended. Trying to figure out a
way to sum all that up in this amount of
space was one of the big challenges of this episode.
The French Revolution is always a big challenge. As all
this was happening, on August eleventh, the mayor of Paris
asked Francisco to Miranda why he had not joined the

army to fight for France. Miranda pointed out that he
had seen foreign soldiers being treated pretty poorly during the
Revolutionary War and that had made him reluctant. But on
August twenty second, he was offered the rank of major
general in the French Revolutionary Army. He ultimately accepted this
under the conditions that after the war he would be

given a position that would provide him enough income to
live comfortably in France, and that his project for the
liberation of Spanish America would be given due consideration. Not
long after, he got a letter from Gerome Petien de Villeneuve,
president of the National Convention, who expressed his pleasure at

hearing that Miranda had joined, and said that his service
would ensure the triumph of liberty in France and the
liberty of the entire world. Miranda was assigned progressively more
responsibility over the next several months, ultimately winding up with
the Army of the North under General chaus Lacois de Marie.

At various points he talked to high ranking officers about
how France could benefit in the Caribbean by supporting a
revolution on islands that were under Spanish control, or that
war in parts of Europe could be winnable only if
a revolution started among the people there. In February of
seventeen ninety three, Murier had divided his army with a

plan to take several forts and then ultimately to march
on Amsterdam. Miranda's force of about thirty thousand men was
to besiege the city of Maestricht. The city was well fortified,
but the force defending it was pretty small, so Miranda
was expecting to be able to take the city fairly quickly.

But on March second, an Austrian force attacked a detachment
that was covering this siege. This attack came by surprise,
and it involved an army that had been moved into
the area without the French knowing about it. So Miranda
thought that he had no choice but to lift the
siege and withdraw After this, French detachments combined to face

the Austrian army at near Venden, a village in what's
now Belgium, on March eighteenth. This battle stretched through most
of the day, with Miranda's force attacking a well defended
Austrian line led by Archduke Charles of Austria. Miranda's army
faced huge losses before being attacked by Austrian cavalry, which
ultimately drove Miranda's forces across the Meuse River. This played

a key role in France's defeat in the battle. The
Austrians continued to press the French intil late March, and
Marie met with them to try to negotiate a retreat.
By this point, King Louis the sixteenth had been executed,
and Mourier was apparently very alarmed by the way that
the revolution had progressed in France, so he proposed not

just a retreat, but a return to Paris to overthrow
the revolutionaries and restore the monarchy. Miranda heard about this
and left his unit to return to Paris ahead of
the rest of the army and try to raise the
alarm ultimately, rather than rallying the army to march on Paris.
D Mourier and some of his supporters wound up defecting

to the Austrian side. But Miranda was blamed for the
French defeat at Nirvenden and called up before the Revolutionary tribunal.
He argued that he was the victim of character assassination
by de Maurier, who at that point was a known traitor.
The prosecution's evidence was contradictory, and a number of high
profile witnesses spoke in Miranda's defense, including people like Thomas Paine.

The tribunal ultimately cleared Miranda on all charges. France considered
Miranda's military service to be over as of June first,
seventeen ninety three, but since now he was a former
officer in the French Army and France was at war
with the Britain, he could not just go back to London.
He remained in Paris and he wrote an account of

his trial and spent some time hanging out with some
notable people, including Thomas Paine. But this was during the
period when the French Revolution was evolving toward the reign
of terror, and in July the Committee of Public safety
ordered Miranda's arrest. He was incarcerated at La Fort's prison
on suspicion of being part of a Royalist plot or

perhaps a spy for British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger.
His previous association with the Girondins was also a strike
against him. They had been succeeded by more radical factions,
and many were executed in a purge. Maximilian Robespierre, a
central figure in the Reign of Terror, also apparently just

did not like him. This was obviously a horrific time
for France and for Miranda. In addition to being imprisoned,
he watched as his friends that he made or reacquainted
with in prison were either taken to the guillotine or
took their own lives. But he avoided execution and was

finally released in seventeen ninety five, after the Reign of
Terror had ended and French politician Jean Pauliers had argued
for his release on the grounds that he was a
friend of liberty and an enemy of slavery. After being released,
he wrote to Henry Knox saying, quote, I take up
the pen only to tell you that I live and

that my sentiments for our dear Columbia, as well as
for all my friends in that part of the world,
have not changed in the least in spite of the
events which are bound to ruin France. And much like
he had done in regards to his service in Spain,
he wrote to the Committee for Public Safety asking for
unpaid wages for his service in the French Revolutionary Army,

as well as reimbursement for various property that had been
confiscated and other money that he felt he was owed.
This went better than his letter to the King of
Spain had The Committee did agree to reimburse him, although
he alleged that this matter was never fully settled. I
think he might have continued to allege it like up
until his will. At some point, while living in France,

Miranda joined the Freemasons. He also continued to advocate for
revolution in Spanish America, and he published all kinds of
pamphlets detailing what he saw as threats to France's status
as a free nation. He was again arrested in seventeen
ninety five after being accused of conspiring against the expansion

of France. He was released, but after this just continued
to face suspicion. Even so, for reasons I don't totally understand,
he was still in France by the time the Coup
of eighteen Fructador happened. That was on September fourth, seventeen
ninety seven. After this coup, his name was included on

a list of royalists and counter revolutionaries that were to
be deported to Guiana. It seems like this is what
finally prompted him to leave France, and he departed in
secret in January of seventeen ninety eight. And when he
left France, he returned to England, and we will get
into that after we pause for a sponsor break. Francisco

de Miranda continued to try to build support for a
revolution in Spanish America after arriving back in London. To
that end, he made connections with Rufus King, US Minister
to London. He continued his ongoing correspondence with Alexander Hamilton.
In late eighteen hundred, he made a trip to France

with the hope of securing some support there based on
his earlier service to the French army. Honestly, this seems
like a real weird decision to me, considering how he
had left France and the state of his status there.
Then he was arrested when he got there, but he
was released and he went back to England. He tried

to take advantage of just the continually shifting international situation.
At this point. The French Revolutionary Wars gave way to
the Napoleonic Wars, so France, Spain, and England were variously
at war with each other at some points and not
at others, and he just was trying to work this
to his advantage, like finding the people who would most

be benefited by a revolution to make that case. And
somewhere along the way he met and married an English
woman named Sarah Andrews. Their first child together, a son
named Leandro, was born in eighteen oh three. He continued
to have affairs with other women after his marriage, including
writer and adventurer Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope, in a relationship

that lasted about a year. Ongoing wars in Miranda's status
as a Spanish expatriate and also that time in France
meant that he was not able to get permission to
leave England until eighteen oh five. He drew up a
will before his departure, leaving much of his property to
his son Leandro, and specifying that his personal papers related

to his revolutionary activity, which were extensive, were to be
returned to the city of his birth at such time
that it was part of an independent nation. With the
help of Rufus King, he got passage to New York.
He also carried a letter of credit for eight hundred
pounds sterling from a fictitious George Martin, and once in

the US, he tried to get additional aid, as he
had done in his earlier time. In the US, he
met a number of high profile people, including physician Benjamin Rush,
who was impressed enough with him that he wrote a
letter of introduction to Secretary of State James Madison. The
US kind of reluctant to get into a big international

revolution situation, and a lot of Americans were reluctant as
well to give Miranda any kind of visible support. This
was in part due to the Neutrality Act of seventeen
ninety four. This law had roots in the French Revolution
and disputes between figures like Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton

about whether to aid the revolutionaries, as well as the
activities of French Minister Edmund Charles Jennet, who had tried
to support revolutionary efforts in France from his position in
the United States. This act was tried to cut down
on people getting involved in foreign wars. Under the Neutrality Act,
it was illegal for US citizens to participate in a

war against nations that the US itself was not at
war with, So Miranda used his personal library as collateral
to get a loan for two thousand dollars. He rallied
a force of two hundred men, boarded a ship, and
set sail from New York to Venezuela in eighteen oh six.
They chartered two more ships in the Caribbean and then

continued on to Venezuela to start a revolution. As has
come up at other points in the episode, Miranda often
was not very discreet when he talked about his revolutionary
goals or really any other military thing he was doing.
So the Spanish knew that he was coming, and due
to illnesses and deaths along the way, by the time

he got to Venezuela, he only had about one hundred
and fifty men. In April of eighteen oh six, they
tried to make landfall near where to Cambayo which is
on the coast north of Valencia, and in the ensuing
battle he lost two of his ships and about sixty
of his men. Miranda and some of his officers fled,

others were captured and imprisoned. Ten of his officers were
sentenced to death by hanging, and those who were executed
were then beheaded with their heads placed on pikes. Many
of the rest who were captured were sentenced to prison terms.
Between eight and sixteen years, Miranda went to Barbados, where
he was able to rally a somewhat larger fleet of

ten ships than about five hundred men. They returned to Venezuela,
this time landing north of the city of Kloro. While
they managed to take the city, they weren't able to
rally the support of the local people, and when they
were attacked by the militia, Miranda's force retreated. Remember William
Stephen Smith, whom Miranda had traveled with during his tour

of Europe. He was caught up in all of this pcuting,
helping Miranda to raise funds for it, and his son,
William Steuben Smith, was one of the men who had
sailed from New York with Miranda after this failed expedition,
William Stephen Smith was stripped of his position as Surveyor
of Customs for the Port of New York and charged
with violating the Neutrality Act, but he was ultimately acquitted.

William Steuben Smith was ultimately released and returned home in
eighteen oh seven. Although all of this reportedly caused quote
great grief for his grandfather John Adams, Miranda left to
go back to England again in eighteen oh seven, arriving
on New Year's Day eighteen oh eight. After returning home,
he met his second son, Francisco, who had been born

while he was away his home in London. This is
already the case before, but it increasingly hosted people from
Spanish America who were dissatisfied with Spain's colonial rule. For
a time, he also focused on publishing a lot more
material calling for the liberation of South America, including starting

a pro revolution journal called Il Colombiano that outraged Spanish authorities,
and he established a Masonic lodge specifically for Spanish Americans.
In the continuing international chaos of the Napoleonic Wars, in
eighteen oh eight, Spanish King Fernando the Seventh was forced
to abdicate the throne and Napoleon imprisoned him. A governing

body called the Supreme Central Junta had been established to
govern Spain and its colonies in the king's absence. This
was a crisis in Spain and in its colonies, and
on April nineteenth eighteen ten, revolutionaries in Caracas overthrew the
colonial government and proclaimed Venezuela to be a republic. Within weeks,

word of this had reached Miranda in London, and he
started trying to make plans to go and help with
a revolution. In July of that year, a party of
revolutionaries from the Venezuela arrived in London to seek support
for their efforts and try to get an alliance with
the king. One of them was Simon Bolivar. Of course,

officials in London were in a difficult position with this.
England and Spain were allied against France at this point
in the Napoleonic Wars, but if France were victorious in
those wars, it would probably start claiming Spanish territory in
the Americas for itself. So independence for Spanish America could

mean that that territory would not fall into the hands
of the French in the case of a French victory.
At the same time, though, encouraging a revolution in the
Americas at that moment would draw the ire of Spain,
while Spain and Britain were both engaged in fighting a
common enemy. So and the end, the British took an

official policy of neutrality, and it also seems like they
took some steps to just try to keep Francisco to
Miranda from meeting this Venezuelan delegation. That didn't work out, though,
and Miranda met with Bolivar to both talk about his
own ambitions for an independent Spanish America and to suggest
strategies for dealing with British officials based on his many

years of experience with that. Miranda also tried to secure
passage and assistance for them to get back to Venezuela,
making it clear that he intended to go to something
British authorities actively tried to prevent. The Venezuelan delegation left
England in September, carrying volumes of Miranda's papers with them.

In October of eighteen ten, Miranda updated his will again
and he and his secretary left for Venezuela. When Miranda
arrived there, he got a generally warm welcome. On December
twenty first, the Caracas Gazette published an article that called
him quote a citizen of Venezuela whom the deserved distinctions

and honors contrived by impartial Europe to his merit had
not cause to forget his native land. For those whose
happiness he has made very frequent and efficacious attempts. I mean,
it's also Flora, who the hell knows what it means. Yeah,
I don't know it would have actually said that. It
sounded again. On July first, eighteen eleven, the Venezuelan National

Congress issued the Declaration of the Rights of the People
and the Declaration of the Rights of Man in Society,
and then declared its independence on July fifth, But this
was not met with immediate or unanimous support. People had
seen what had happened after the monarchy was abolished in France,
and there were concerns that the same thing could happen
in Venezuela. There were also people who were dissatisfied that

much of the emphasis was on how Spain's attention had
been focused elsewhere due to the Napoleonic Wars, and not
on Spain's treatment of the colony for centuries before that.
Soon a counter revolution was developing, with royalist forces taking
up arms against the revolutionaries. In March of eighteen twelve,

a massive earthquake struck Caracas in the surrounding area. At
least ten thousand people were killed in the capitol alone.
Many clergy in the Catholic Church were Royalists and saw
this earthquake as divine punishment for the revolution. Others simply
saw the Royalists as more likely to be the people

who would keep the country together in the face of
such a devastating natural disaster. So large numbers of revolutionaries
started to desert and join the Royalists' side, and the
royalists also saw a flood of new recruits. In April,
Miranda was appointed Generalissimo of the remaining Venezuelan army, with

full power to take whatever steps he thought necessary to
save the nation and its independence. In other words, he
was given dictatorial powers. Miranda's diaries framed this situation as
temporary but necessary, as a step toward achieving the independent
Spanish America, something he'd been talking about for literal decades.

But by this point he was in his early sixties
he had left Venezuela at the age of twenty one,
and aside from his ill fated eighteen oh six, efforts
had not been back in decades, and he had lived
in London longer than he had lived in South America.
He has been characterized as out of touch and as
too stringent in how he disciplined the men under his command,

with some of his decisions just causing unnecessary bloodshed. In
a manifesto that he issued after he was given these
dictatorial powers, Miranda said he would be fighting for liberty
and independence, and that the immense power he had been
given increased his responsibility by the same proportion. He tried

to recruit more men into the army to fight off
the Royalists' advances, and he wrote letters to all of
his contacts in England and the United States to try
to get some international assistance. But in late June, while
the commanding officer was away, a lieutenant at one of
the forts being held by the revolutionaries released Royalist prisoners

and sided with them, raising the Spanish flag over the fort.
This had a cascading effect, with more officers at more
forts doing the same. Some of the freed Royalist soldiers
attacked Porto Cavello, which was being held by Simone Bolivar,
who had previously asked Miranda for reinforcements and been denied.

Bolivar eventually retreated quote abandoned by all the world, and
followed only by eight officers. After all of this happened,
Miranda concluded that the only possible option was to sign
an armistice with the Royalists, one that he thought would
avoid further bloodshed, with terms that specifically protected the lives

and property of the revolutionaries. He signed this armistice with
Domingo de Monteverde, the leader of the Royalist forces, on
July twenty fifth, eighteen twelve, and that date is marked
as the end of the First Republic of Venezuela. Many
of the revolutionaries deeply disagreed with this course of action,

which was made worse by the fact that the Royalists
did not stick to those terms of protecting the revolutionari's
lives and property. Miranda started preparing to return to London,
expecting to live out the rest of his days there,
having failed in his lifelong mission to free the Americas
from Spain, but some of his detractors considered his signing
of the armistice to be treasonous, and they kept him

from leaving, making sure that he was instead taken into
Spanish custody. One of those detractors was Simon Bolivar, who
later described Miranda as quote possessed by ambition and violent passions,
who either did not realize the risk or who wished
to sacrifice the liberty of his native land. Miranda was
imprisoned in Puerto Rico for a time before being sent

to Cadiz, Spain, where he spent the rest of his life.
In La Caraca prison, he tried to negotiate his own release, arguing,
among other things, that the terms of that armistice meant
he should not have been arrested in the first place.
He faced a series of chronic illnesses and health issues
toward the end of his life, and in kind of

a romantic coincidence, he died on July fourteenth, eighteen sixteen,
which is Bastilde. He's the only person known to have
fought in the American, French and Spanish American revolutions during
his lifetime. Miranda got a lot of comparisons to Miguel
de Sarventi's fictional character don Quixote, including by both Napoleon

and John Adams. Today, he's sometimes called El Precursor or
the Great Precursor, because while his efforts to liberate Spanish
America were unsuccessful, they did help set the stage for
later revolutions and eventually independence for Venezuela and other former
Spanish colonies. Venezuelan Independence Day is marked on July fifth,

the day independence was declared in eighteen eleven. The Venezuela's
war for independence did not end until eighteen twenty three.
There is a portrait of Francisco de Miranda in Versailles
in France, and he's the only Hispanic American person whose
name is inscribed in the Arc de Triumph. The tricolor

part of the Venezuelan flag is patterned after Miranda's eighteen
eleven flag design, and the flags of Ecuador and Colombia
both also have similar bars of yellow, blue, and red.
Miranda's exact burial place is not known because his remains
were moved to a mass grave when La Carraca Prison

was torn down, but there is an empty tomb for
him at the National Pantheon of Venezuela, with its lid
held slightly open for him by an eagle. In nineteen
eighty one, a plaque to his wife, Sarah Andrews was
unveiled by the Venezuelan and bastor to the UK at
Market Wheaton, All Saints Church, which is where she was baptized.

She lived until eighteen forty seven. Both of her sons,
with Francisco, later went to South America. Leandro with a
letter of recommendation to Sumon Boulevar written by Jeremy Bentham.
Leandro had a long career in military and foreign service,
and he died in eighteen eighty six. His younger brother, Francisco,
seems to have had his father's temper but not his charm,

and he got into a number of fights and at
least one duel before dying in combat in eighteen thirty
one at the very young age of twenty five. Miranda
left an extensive diary and personal library. I have some
curiosity about how some of the volumes of that library
were retained in all of his various needing to flee

and escape over the years. A lot of this library
was scattered after his death, but the works in Greek
and Latin were given to the University of Caracas. His
diaries were eventually digitized about one hundred years after his death.
I'm serious. This collection of diaries and personal papers is huge,

a total of sixty three volumes totaling more than nine
thousand documents and more than thirty thousand pages. These were
digitized by the government of Venezuela in twenty eleven. I
find him complicated and fascinating. Eh. Yes, indeed, do you
have listener mail to take us out? I knew this

is from Bob and Pat who wrote to say, Dear
Tracy and Holly. Stuffumous and history Classes the only podcast
my wife listens to. She discovered it on a long
drive while searching the list of podcasts on my phone.
I now save the podcasts for drives with her. Your
podcast on Gertrude Jekyl spoke to our avid gardening hearts,

but it was the development of cultivars that on our
screen porch table sits two plants that provide aromatherapy, a
rosemary plant for me and a munstead lavender for Pat.
The Gertrude Jeicle gardens at the Glebe House are currently
under renovation, but it's only an hour away and we
will visit next spring. Thank you for another amazing podcast.

As a pet tax, we offer a picture of one
of the many bunnies who frolic in our yard. In
exchange for keeping our fenced vegetable gardens, we employ feeding
stations to keep them happy and nearby. Look closely, this
bunny is tiny yours, bottom Pat. Thank you so much,
Bottom Pat Bunnies. Let me see if I can get

the bunny picture to download. Does not want to download
for me at this specific moment, but I'm just gonna
guess that it is a teeny teeny cute bunny based
on the description. I just love that you know somebody's
got the Munstead lavender at their home. I'm sure some
people do, but that made me happy. I also think

I forgot to mention in the episode that those gardens
at the Glebe House, which is the only remaining Gertrud
Jekyl garden in the United States, they are being renovated.
And I don't know how extensive that renovation is, whether
parts of the gardens are still open with that renovation
going on or not. So if you're in that area
and you want to go check it out, just check

into that beforehand. If you'd like to send us a note,
where a history podcast at iHeartRadio dot com. And if
you have not subscribed, maybe somebody just downloaded this on
a long drive for you and you've never heard it before.
You can subscribe on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you
like to listen to podcasts. Stuff you Missed in History

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