Real Consulado de Caracas

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Real Consulado de Caracas

The Real Consulado de Caracas was a late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century Venezuelan tribunal for mercantile affairs and the promotion and protection of commerce. The consulship was created by a royal decree of June 3, 1793, and was established in Caracas with jurisdiction over the entire captaincy-general of Venezuela. To facilitate the merchant guild's operation, representatives were also established in Puerto Cabello, Coro, Guiana, Maracaibo, Cumaná, and the islands of Margarita and Trinidad. Because of its autonomy, the institution rapidly became a recourse and center of power for the elite of Caracas, who took control of it. Its functions included exposing and solving maritime crimes, increasing commerce and agricultural production, improving lines of communication, introducing new cultivation techniques, and maintaining a pool of skilled labor. During independence, the guild became a point of conflict as its members were somewhat divided over trade. Planters and landholders, many of whom were creoles, sought free trade, whereas the mainly Spanish merchants preferred a continuation of Spain's monopoly trade arrangement. After independence in 1810, it functioned sporadically until it was eliminated in 1821.

See alsoCommercial Policy: Colonial Spanish America; Judicial Systems: Spanish America.


Mercedes M. Álvarez F., El tribunal del Real Consulado de Caracas: Contribución al estudio de nuestras instituciones, 2 vols. (1967).

Humberto Tandron, The Consulado of Caracas and Venezuela's Overseas Commerce, 1793–1811 (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1970).

Additional Bibliography

McKinley, P. Michael. Pre-Revolutionary Caracas: Politics, Economy, and Society, 1777–1811. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Tarver Denova, H. Micheal, and Julia C. Frederick. The History of Venezuela. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005.

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