Date of this Version
Documentary Editing, Volume 28, Number 3, Fall 2006. ISSN 0196-7134
Maria Antonia's letters to her brother are full of political news and advice, family news, information on the status of their lawsuits, and the condition of his rural and urban properties, including the Aroa mines. One of the topics that consistently appears in their correspondence was the rental, sale, and the lawsuit over the copper mines at Aroa. The mines were part of the Bolivar family patrimony and came to the Liberator upon the death of his brother Juan Vicente in 1810. They had been abandoned in 1804 and taken over by two women, Maria de la Cruz Urquia and Francisca Sagarzasu, who operated them during the war.7 Sim6n Bolivar's claim to ownership of the mines resulted in a lawsuit instituted by Senores Lazo and Estevez that dragged on in the courts for several years. In 1824, Maria was successful in renting the mines to British entrepreneurs John D. Cochrane and Robert Lowry, who turned them into a profitable enterprise for Bolivar.8 Despite this, he urged Maria to advertise their sale in the London newspapers for no less than one hundred thousand pounds sterling.9 The monies from the sale would support both of them in retirement abroad. Maria's lack of diligence in selling the mines caused Bolivar to transfer power of attorney to her son-in law, Gabriel Camacho in 1828, and then to Lino Clemente in 1829.10 The mines were finally sold to British investors in 1832, two years after the death of the Liberator.