Venezuela Independence


In the 18th century, two movements marked history and were very important antecedents for independence. First, the United States became independent from the English Crown in 1776, opening the way and giving the idea to other colonies, such as Venezuela. Second, in 1789, the French Revolution, with its proclamation of freedom, equality and fraternity, brought a precedent that had a great impact among all the intellectuals who saw that the existing regime in Venezuela did not conform to those ideals that were being set. Fashion.

These movements in the United States and France were the breeding ground for the Chirino, Gual and Spain movements and the Miranda expedition in 1806, and they were preparing the ground for independence.

In Venezuela, the “criollos” were upset by certain norms that the Spanish had imposed, as Simón Bolívar later put it in his letter from Jamaica:

“(…) with shocking restrictions; such are the prohibitions of the cultivation of fruits of Europe, the stagnation of the productions that the king monopolizes, the impediment of the factories that the same Peninsula does not possess, the exclusive privileges of the commerce even of the objects of first necessity; the obstacles between American provinces and provinces so that they are not dealt with, understood, or negotiated. ”

Simón Bolívar
Excerpt from the Jamaica Letter [1] [2]

In addition to these reasons, the straw that broke the camel’s back was that the French, under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, had invaded Spain, forcing King Charles IV and his son Ferdinand VII to renounce the throne in favor of Napoleon, who put his brother, José Bonaparte, as King of Spain.

April 19, 1810

The independence of Venezuela begins in Caracas, the 19 of April of 1810, when a group of caraqueños Creoles took the excuse that Spain was sending a Frenchman, to convene a meeting of the council and proclaim their own government until Fernando VII returned to the throne of Spain.

The dismissal of Vicente Emparan and the events of the historic April 19, 1810 immortalized in oil

The Captain General, Vicente Emparan, did not agree with this, and when from the window of the town hall he asked the people who had gathered in the main square (today Plaza Bolívar) if they wanted him to continue ruling, the priest José Cortés de Madariaga, made signs to the crowd to answer “NO”. And that was what happened. Emparan said that then, he did not want to command either, he resigned and went to Spain with his collaborators. The independence of Venezuela had begun.

To replace Emparan, a group with the very hypocritical name of “Junta Suprema Conservadora de los Derechos de Fernando VII” was appointed. The first measures taken were to free foreign trade, ban the trade in black slaves, create the Patriotic Society (to promote agriculture and industry), as well as the Academy of Mathematics.

As it was also important to obtain international recognition and support, for which several delegations were sent abroad. A Curacao sent Mariano Montilla and Vicente Salias (creator of the lyrics of the national anthem venezonalo). A London was commissioned Colonel Simon Bolivar to Luis López Méndez and Andrés Bello). Finally, to the United States they sent Juan Vicente de Bolívar (Simón’s older brother, and who incidentally lost his life in a shipwreck fulfilling this mission), Don Telésforo Orea and Don José Rafael Revenga.

Additionally, the Supreme Board approached all the other city councils of America to follow the “example that Caracas set”, joining this movement. Elections were called for the month of November 1810, in order to elect representatives to the first congress of Venezuela, which was installed on March 2, 1811 with the deputies elected in 7 provinces: Caracas, Barinas, Cumaná, Barcelona, Margarita, Mérida and Trujillo. Note that the provinces of Guayana, Maracaibo and Coro did not attend, as they remained loyal to the Spanish government.

This was the congress that first adopted the Venezuelan flag, using the same one that Francisco de Miranda introduced in his 1806 expedition, adding seven stars to the blue stripe, one for each province represented. Seeking the scheme of 3 separate powers, a High Court of Justice was created, presided over by Francisco Espejo and for the executive power, a triumvirate formed by Cristóbal Mendoza, Juan Escalona and Baltazar Padrón was appointed. This is how the Trujillo, Cristóbal Mendoza, becomes the first president of Venezuela, a country located in South America according to BUSINESSCARRIERS.COM.

Declaration of Independence

The Patriotic Society, which had been convened to deal with the economic development of the country, became a forum where the discussions and speeches that led to the country’s independence were held. Among the most assiduous participants were Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Miranda, upon their return from London.

Moment in which those attending the First National Congress of Venezuela sign the Act of Venezuelan Independence

The 5 of July of 1811, members of the Patriotic Society, convinced all congressmen but one to declare the independence of Venezuela, forgetting once defending the rights of Fernando VII, marking the founding of the Venezuelan State. The act of independence was entrusted to Juan Germán Roscio and the final text was approved on July 7.

The newly created state needed a constitution, for which Francisco Javier Ustáriz, Gabriel Ponte and Juan Germán Roscio were commissioned to draft it. The first constitution was very similar to that of the United States, that is to say, of a federalist (or decentralized) type, where the provinces conserved a lot of autonomy and could have their own laws. Although this system was objected to by various members of the Patriotic Society (including Bolívar and Miranda), it was approved by the majority. This constitution was also inspired by French ideas, respecting the rights of man and giving all residents the treatment of citizens, regardless of social class. The First Venezuelan Republic was born.

Venezuela Independence