Diplomat John Gustavus Adolphus Williamson is Born

The highway marker that honors Williamson in Person County.On December 2, 1793, John Gustavus Adolphus Williamson, the first American diplomatic representative to Venezuela, was born in Person County.

In 1826 Williamson was appointed Consul of the United States to the Republic of Colombia. He remained there until 1832 when he returned to the United States and married—he stayed in the U.S. for awhile but returned to Columbia alone. While back in the United States to visit his wife he learned that the government was going to recognize the Republic of Venezuela (newly separated from Colombia). Well acquainted with the language and the area, Williamson was selected to be the first American diplomat to Venezuela in 1835.

While in Caracas, Williamson faithfully kept a diary. The surviving manuscript is an important personal narrative of Venezuela’s formative years and a vivid account of current world events, as the author recorded his thoughts after reading newspapers received by mail. Williamson died in 1840 and is buried in the English Cemetery in Caracas. An edited and annotated version of his diary is in the North Carolina State Archives; the original is housed at Louisiana State University.

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