Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Zea, Francisco Antonio

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ZEA, Francisco Antonio (thay-ah), Colombian statesman, b. in Medellin, 21 Oct., 1770; d. in Bath; England, 22 Nov., 1822. He acquired his primary education in the Seminary of Popayan, and in 1786 entered the College of San Bartolome of Bogota. There he wrote for the “Papel Periodico” his “Hebephilo,” inviting young men to the study of nature, and in 1789, when Jose Celestino, sage Mutis, retired from the academy known as the Expedicion botanica, Zea was appointed his successor. In 1794, with Antonio Nariño, he was implicated in the circulation of the “Droits de l'homme,” sent to Spain, and for two years kept prisoner in the fortress of Cadiz. Although absolved in 1799, he was sent to France on a scientific mission, as the government desired to keep him away from New Granada. On his return, in 1803, he was still prohibited from returning to his country, and was appointed director of the botanical cabinet of Madrid. He was elected member of several Spanish scientific societies, and was editor of the “Mercurio de España” and “Semanario de Agricultura.” In 1808 he espoused the French cause, was appointed chief clerk of the secretary of the interior, and afterward prefect of Malaga. After the retreat of the French from Spain he went to England and by way of Jamaica joined Bolivar in Hayti in 1815. He accompanied the liberator in his expedition to Venezuela in March, 1816, and was appointed general intendant of the army. He was chosen by Bolivar in 1817 a member of the council of state in Angostura, founded with Dr. Roscio the “Correo de Orinoco,” and in 1819, when the congress of Angostura met, he was elected its president. During the absence of Bolivar on his expedition to New Granada, Zea was in charge of the executive as vice-president till he resigned, 14 Sept., 1819. in consequence of the intrigues of Gen. Arismendi. After the proclamation of Colombia as a republic, Bolivar was elected president and Zea vice-president. In 1820 he went as minister to England and France; but his financial negotiations were unfortunate. He was the author of “Las Quinas de Nueva Granada” (Madrid, 1805); “Descripción del Salto de Tequendama” (1806); and “Historia de Colombia” (Paris, 1821).