Francisco de Miranda

Portrait by [[Martín Tovar y Tovar]] Sebastián Francisco de Miranda y Rodríguez de Espinoza (28 March 1750 – 14 July 1816), commonly known as Francisco de Miranda (), was a Venezuelan military leader and revolutionary who fought in the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution and the Spanish American wars of independence. He is regarded as a precursor of South America's liberation from the Spanish Empire, and remains known as the "First Universal Venezuelan" and the "Great Universal American".

Born in Caracas in the Viceroyalty of New Granada into a wealthy family, Miranda left to pursue an education in Madrid in 1771 and subsequently enlisted in the Spanish army. In 1780, following Spain's entry into the American Revolutionary War, he was sent to Cuba and fought the British at Pensacola. Accused of espionage and smuggling, he fled to the United States in 1783. Miranda returned to Europe in 1785 and travelled through the continent, gradually formulating his plans for Spanish American independence. From 1791 on, he took an active part in the French Revolution, serving as a general during the Battle of Valmy and the Flanders campaign. An associate of the Girondins, he became disillusioned by the Revolution and was forced to leave for Britain.

In 1806, Miranda launched an unsuccessful expedition to liberate Venezuela with volunteers from the United States. He returned to Caracas following the outbreak of the Venezuelan War of Independence in 1810 and was granted dictatorial powers after the establishment of the First Republic. In 1812, the republic collapsed and Miranda was forced to finalize an armistice with Spanish royalists. Other revolutionary leaders including Simón Bolívar considered his capitulation treasonous, and allowed his arrest by the Spanish authorities. He was taken to a prison in Cádiz, where he died four years later. Provided by Wikipedia
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