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Miranda, Francisco 1756-

Military officer; born in Caracas, Venezuela, June 9, 1756; became a captain in the Spanish army; and served in the United States in 1779 and 1781. He was a born agitator and revolutionist, and tried to free Spanish-American colonies from the Spanish yoke, presenting his projects to various European courts. In the French Revolution he acquired a high reputation as a military leader, especially as an engineer and tactician, and became a general of division. Twice he was expelled from France as a dangerous intriguer.

About the beginning of 1806 he was again in the United States, for the purpose of fitting out an expedition having for its object the revolutionizing of the Spanish province of Caracas, which now constitutes the republic of Venezuela. At that time there was much irritation of feeling between the United States and Spain, and the government officers averted their eyes from Miranda's doings. His preparations for the expedition were made at New York, while he resided at Washington, D. C., and was on intimate social relations with President Jefferson and Secretary Madison. He chartered the ship Leander at New York, and she sailed from that port (February) with arms and about 250 men. He was joined by other vessels. The expedition reached Caracas in safety, and, with the help of the English in that quarter, Miranda took possession of two or three towns on the coast. The people would not listen to his offers of liberty. The Spaniards captured two transports, with about sixty Americans, and the expedition ended in failure about three months after the Leander left New York. Miranda escaped to Carthagena, when Bolivar delivered him to the Spaniards, who confined him in a dungeon in Cadiz till his death, July 14, 1816.

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