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Cocoa 

It was cultivated and used by the natives from Venezuela from the before Columbus times, like food and maybe also with ends votivos in the cult of the primitive gods. It is known that there was him in the region of our you Walk and in the surroundings of the lagoon of Tacarigua, where  appears represented recently in the discovered pots in the archaeological locations. The internal consumption should extend in the XVI century, and very tempranamente also passed Europe, because in the description of the lagoon of Maracaibo, made by Rodrigo of Argüelles and Gaspar of Párraga in 1579, correspondent to the governor and general captain of the county of Venezuela, Juan of Pimentel, is mentioned among the fruits coming from Merida that could lead to Spain. Although some exports appear for The Guaira in 1607, the regular extractions and their express increment they didn't take place but starting from 1621. This trade continued in increase and already in 1631 they were exported more than 2.000 fanegas going to Mexico, Spain and other places, being considered the internal consumption in other 2.000 fanegas, what supposes the existence of more than 350.000 trees in full production. The Spanish Crown tried to foment this cultivation and with such an object it granted him the discharge of the almojarifazgo rights, although on condition that the shippers were residents of the same since government these who requested it, were and they enjoyed such a privilege from 1638 up to 1650. They should be underrated for entirely false the news that are in François Depons, Rafael María Baralt and particularly in Agustín Codazzi who you/they attribute to the Dutchmen "the development" of this cultivation starting from 1634 and their introduction in Venezuela, when it belongs a fruit native of the country, and their employment in different applications a contribution from the Venezuelan native to the culture of West. 
From final of the XVI century, the plantations were extending along the coast of Caracas in the country properties of Choroní, Ocumare, Chuao, Turiamo and Guaiguaza; in the valleys of Caucagua, Capaya, Curiepe and The Handsome one; in those of Cúpira, in the riverbanks of the Aroa; in Barquisimeto, Chivacoa, Güigüe and Orituco; in Trujillo and Merida whose production was exported by Maracaibo; and toward the oriental region, in the county of the New Andalusia. The trade to that gave place this fruit, constituted the biggest wealth in these governments during the whole colonial period, to be the cocoa a very valuable article and of a great demand in the markets of Europe and of America, and enter these particularly those of Mexico that became the main consumer of our cocoa, until half-filled of the XVIII century, and it was good to enrich to the mercantile and farming classes of the old government of Caracas. 
One of the most important consequences in the cultivation and trade of the cocoa, were the establishment of the marine traffic between The Guaira and Veracruz (Mexico) and the most important for their volume and benefit during the whole XVII century up to 1730. Before 1620 the direct communication with the New Spain was very scarce; but once well-known the interest for the cocoa of which made an intense consumption, was growing more and more, to the point that it was frequent the departure and return of 4 or more annual ships among the 2 ports, and in some occasions that number rose to 11 ships. Often the merchants that arrived of Seville or the Canarias, when knowing the high earnings that it provided this trade, preferred to load cocoa in The Guaira and to navigate toward Veracruz where they sold it, and in not few occasions repeated this operation before returning to the Peninsula. However, these trips were not free and to make them it was necessary a special license of the House of Recruiting of Seville. As a result of the escalation of this traffic,  began to be formed in Venezuela, from half-filled of the XVII century, a flotilla property of the harvesters and merchants from Caracas, dedicated exclusively to the trade of the cocoa with Mexico, investing part of their product in the purchase of articles of the industry and craft local, and even agricultural that has demand in the markets from Caracas and their jurisdiction, that which provided them an additional gain on the already very grown of the sale of the cocoa. These utilities of the difference among the price of 50 pesos and even more, the fanega, and the production costs, transport and marketing that it could arrive up to 15 pesos, and not more, it allowed the hoarding and the formation of big fortunes in the local merchants' hands, in their majority also farmers endowed with venturesome spirit that took them to look for bigger benefits in the direct placement of their production in the strange markets. 
Once they had own ships, with the creation of the Fleet Colonial Venezuelan, those harvesters and Creole merchants did with hostility the metropolitan ships that took load for Veracruz, and they tried to hinder that trade, so much in the juridical land as in that of the facts, denying the supply of cocoa at the time that you/they went to the Spanish government in protection application for the interests of the neighbors. These reclamos and continuous clamors of Venezuela put it finally in possession of privileges that, toward 1674, they allowed him to exercise an almost absolute monopoly in the Mexican market when excluding of the business of the cocoa of Caracas with the New Spain to other transport ones, and there not being another effect that can sustain the sailing between the ports of Venezuela and that of Veracruz, in fact was the whole traffic in the merchants' from Caracas hands. That monopoly was granted in damage of the county of Guayaquil, main competitor in the trade cacaotero for its biggest production volume and lower prices. Although the cocoa of Caracas justified its higher price in a quality that gave him preference among the consumers. In many occasions the Venezuelan shippers found in Mexico existences of 90.000 or of 100.000 fanegas of cocoa of Guayaquil, against 20.000 or 25.000 fanegas remitted by Caracas. This county introduced a representation before the Council of India, for which requested that prohibits you to arrive in Mexico the cocoa of Guayaquil. From now on the grain of that origin had to appeal to the file of the secret introductions for Acapulco in the times of extreme shortage of the fruit. This secret treatment gave origin to new representations of Caracas, the viceroy from Mexico that had not been able to excuse them to be had arrived alleging mandatory and to exist shortage to have the cocoa great consumption and "to be the main food". Although the viceroy supported that you authorizes the entrance of cocoa for Acapulco paying right double, the Council of India supported the position of Caracas. By means of this exclusive trade, the merchants and farmers from Caracas were able to form to their expense a numerous fleet made up of 18 ships of medium and great behavior that led the cocoa to Veracruz and in the return trip it loaded plates and pots of mud manufactured in Mexico, silver utensils, musical instruments and of farm, and some cloths of local production, as the famous ones "zarapes" and other objects of the picturesque Mexican craft, flour and some articles of Asian origin introduced from the Filipinos by Acapulco. But the value of all these articles was relatively insignificant, because the thick of the return hacíase in silver and minted gold that it ended up constituting the entirety of the currency in circulation in Venezuela, because of the Spaniard there was very little since the ships of the trade with the metropolis returned to this with the fruits acquired by the sale of the European articles and generally, the difference being in favor of these, they drove her in money or in payable letters of change in Seville or Cádiz. Habitually, Venezuela continued receiving from Mexico, until final of the XVIII century, about 500.000 annual pesos in exchange for 10.000 average fanegas in the last 30 years of the XVIII century, I average that rose to 18.000 fanegas in the years of 1701-1780. 
The summary of the exports of cocoa of 1621-1700, throws the following result: 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
Mexico 357.766 fanegas = 82,18% 
Spain 71.595 fanegas = 16,43% 
Other destinations 5.991 fanegas = 1,39% 
Total 435.352 fanegas = 100,00% 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

In the 30 following years these tendencies were accentuated, in such a way that Mexico received very superior quantities, as long as the remittances to Spain fell until a critical point that hardly reached 14.172 fanegas in the first 20 years, product of only 4 remittances, lacking absolutely in 16 years. In that period of 1701-1730, the extractions are summarized this way: 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
Mexico 462.107 fanegas = 75,0% 
Prom. Annual 15.403 fanegas 
Spain 54.415 fanegas = 8,9% 
Prom. Yearly: 1.813 fanegas 
Islands Canarias 4.721 fanegas = 5,6% 
Company French 2.327 fanegas = 5,3% 
Company English 3.433 fanegas = 2,2% 
Islands Windward 2.577 fanegas = 2,0% 
Total 609.580 fanegas = 100,0% 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Between 1701 and 1713 in that the peace was signed by the Treaty of Utrecht, the War of Succession maintained Spain committed in one of its most serious warlike conflicts with England that he found difficult the loss of Gibraltar and Menorca. That treaty of the year 1713 also displaced to the French Company and it placed in its place to the English Company. During that war, the trade suspension with the metropolis was almost absolute and in all that second decade, Spain hardly received a single shipment of cocoa of Caracas, in fact in that year of 1713, for 4.025 fanegas. In the third decade the situation improved in form notable because in those 10 years of 1720-1729  received 26.760 fanegas, and the desabastecimiento state continued producing bitter complaints that arrived to the Crown, which pointed out the guilt of the English Company. It was then when the Compañía Guipuzcoana entered in scene, and in the first year of its exercise (1730) it drove to Spain 13.483 fanegas, a lightly superior quantity halfway all the the 10 year-old introductions precedents. 
To leave, because, of that date the mercantile turn of the government of Caracas changed, although only as for the volume of its shipments and introductions, because under the presence of the Guipuzcoana, Spain spent the first place and Mexico a second, nevertheless that the annual average ascended on the previous period. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
Spain 1.103.323 fanegas = 47,4% 
Prom. Yearly: 23.474 fanegas 
Mexico 799.978 fanegas = 34,3% 
Prom. Yearly: 17.020 fanegas 
Islands Canarias 249.636 fanegas = 10,7% 
Prom. Yearly: 5.311 fanegas 
Company English 31.685 fanegas = 1,4% 
Prom. Yearly: 647 fanegas 
Islands of Windward 61.093 fanegas = 2,6% 
Prom. Yearly: 1.299 fanegas 
Colonies Foreign 82.911 fanegas = 3,5% 
Prom. Yearly: 1.764 fanegas 
Total 2.328.626 fanegas = 47,4% 
Prom. Annual 49.545 fanegas 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

However, although the annual average of the extractions of cocoa almost went up 150%, the benefit of these sales didn't follow the same course then the Compañía Guipuzcoana it knocked down the internal prices that ended up descending to 8 pesos the fanega that didn't reach to pay the cost according to the harvesters; on the other hand the exports going to Mexico, were placed in Veracruz and later in the Fair of Jalapa, until 35 and 40 pesos that were received almost entirely by the farmers who were in turn merchants and exporters, or associated of these. The certain thing is that the product of those sales entered to the government of Caracas. Only after the revolt of Juan Francisco from León, in 1749, the cocoa experienced rises that took to 16 pesos the fanega. Estimating an average of price of 13 pesos, the 1.103.323 fanegas exported by the Guipuzcoana, they produced 14.343.000 pesos; as long as the 800.000 fanegas sold in Mexico to an average of 30 pesos, deduced the expenses of transport should have produced 24.000.000 of pesos, that is to say, 59,7% more envelope a smaller volume of sales in 13,1% to the placements in Spain, because the benefits of the marketing didn't enter to the territory of the government of Caracas. Once canceled the contract of the Guipuzcoana and having ceased their monopoly in fact starting from 1780, the metropolitan marketing was later open to all the merchants, but few years, when extending to this government the Ordinance of Free Trade, Caracas lost its monopoly in Mexico, and the merchants and shipping Venezuelans abandoned its interest for that market that was occupied in the first place by the cocoa of Guayaquil; and for that of Maracaibo and Cumaná, ports of expedition of the areas east cacaoteras and occident of the country. 
Starting from 1790 the ascent of the coffee began that reaches the same level of the cocoa toward the year of 1810. The following political events affected the trade of the cocoa that lost the market of Spain and others of Europe, so that in 1830 the export of this grain was of 30.000 fanegas; it oscillates between this figure and that of 40.000, until the year of 1850. The Federal War makes decline its trade and prices violently, and  doesn't recover but after 1875 and toward final of the century it reaches the 80.000 fanegas, until entering the century xx. In 1904 their export passed of 14.000 t (133.000 fanegas), and from then on  stayed in that level with oscillations up to 20.000 t (182.000 fanegas), although the prices have not followed the same tendency. When entering the century it is quoted Bs. 1,50 kg, the crisis of the decade of 1930 knocks down it seriously and in 1935 it is of only Bs. 0,47. E.AR.F. 
To have an idea about the evolution of the cultivation during the first 30 years of the century xx, it is necessary to appeal to the export figures, which are much more reliable that the scarce estimates about production or demand interns. Until beginnings of the First World War (1914), the exports of cocoa oscillated between 8.000 and 18.000 t, with an average of 16.000 t/año. starting from 1916 and until the great economic depression of the decade of 1930, the annual average of exports was of 20.000 t, with a maximum of 21.000 t in 1921, it calculates that it has not reached again, due to the stabilization of the surfaces under cultivation and mainly because of that the production descended in 50% between 1963 and 1984. The production average of the five year period 1989-1993 was of 15.392 t. The main producing states are Miranda and Sucre, each one with 42% of the production. The exports corresponding to the year 1983 reached 7.647 t, for value of Bs. 767.000.000 to average prices, for the cocoa almond. From 1959, they are come exporting industrialized products (shortening of cocoa, soluble cocoa and liquor of cocoa) in growing magnitudes. H.F. 


 

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