Who founded the Argentinian herb mate enterprise Cruz de Malta? This company sold herb mate for more than a century. Nowadays, the brand belongs to Molinos.

  • 5
    downvote for not showing prior research.
    – John Dee
    May 3, 2018 at 1:24
  • 1
    This unsourced blog post states that that Cruz de Malta brand was originally Chilean and only purchased by Molinos de la Plata in 2006.
    – Brian Z
    Feb 16, 2019 at 18:30

3 Answers 3


Cruz de Malta, a yerba mate tea (herbal tea), was originally a brand of Sociedade Comercial Francisco Mendes e Companhía (aka Francisco Mendes & Cia), a company founded by Francisco Mendes Gonçalves in 1874 in Argentina and "dedicated to the industrialization and sale of the herb received from Brazil and Paraguay." (via google translate).

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Francisco Mendes Gonçalves. Source: Memoria Rondonense

Francisco Mendes Goncalves (b. 1847, d.1930) was Portuguese-born and emigrated to Rio de Janiero sometime before or during the Paraguayan War (1864 - 70). Both he and future partner Thomaz Larangeira were traders who benefitted from the war.

A few years after the war ended, Gonçalves went to Buenos Aires (Argentina) where he married and set up his company in 1874 to manufacture Cruz de Malta (and at least one other brand) using the leaves sent from Brazil and Paraguay by Larangeira.

In 1882 or 1883, they merged their companies to form Empresa Matte Larangeira, with Francisco Murtinho also a partner. By the early 1890s, according records in the company archives, Cruz de Malta was a high-priced, successful brand sold in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

The Cruz de Malta farm was located in Guayrá (which straddles the border between Brazil and Paraguay) and remained for a while in the hands Goncalves family after Francisco's death in 1930. Francisco was also a respected banker in the 1900s.

Main sources:

Paulo Roberto Cimó Queiroz, 'A empresa Laranjeira, Mendes & Cia. e sua presença nos ervais sul-mato-grossenses (1903-1917)' (Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2018) (link automatically downloads PDF)

Paulo Roberto Cimó Queiroz, 'A Companhia Mate Laranjeira e seus fluxos mercantis (1891-1902)' (III Congreso Latinoamericano de Historia Económica y XXIII Jornadas de Historia Económica Simposio 5: Transportes y Servicios en los Mercados Regionales y Nacionales en América Latina (Siglos XIX y XX))

Sócios da Cosan têm 50 mil hectares no Paraguai; no MS, fazenda em território Kaiowá

История одной монополии (The history of one monopoly)

  • Somehow your links currently load very slow and sketchy. However wasn't the foundation 1884, for a bank "aparece el Banco de Comercio, fundado en 1884,"? That is: your link appears confusing towards the date given, NB: The Brazilian page giving 1874 has a very curious starting date! As the dictionary entry for erva & erva mate! Nov 15, 2019 at 14:47
  • @LаngLаngС Concerning the bank, I'm not sure I follow you - he had no involvement in banking that I can see until the 1900s. It's not really relevant, just extra info about FMG. Your NB: yes, curious indeed (and it's a government site)! Nov 15, 2019 at 15:11
  • Your number 1874 stands un-underlined, so I assumed first link is ref, but it only presents the banking date for 1884. So out of this similarity I inferred "mixup on your part". Then I read the second link after it finally finished loading and found that my already started comment was just my confusion. A matter of formatting? Nov 15, 2019 at 15:17
  • 1
    Ah, I see. Maybe I should edit that bit. Nov 15, 2019 at 15:25

Sorry but my english is very poor.

La yerba mate Cruz de Malta se elabora desde 1874, siendo una de las marcas con más trayectoria en el mercado de la yerba mate, uno de los máximos placeres de los argentinos. Es una yerba que cree en la autenticidad del sabor y en la calidad asegurada desde el origen. Elaborada con un cuidadoso proceso de cosecha, selección y estacionamiento de la hoja extraída de las plantaciones del Noreste de nuestro país

From Google Translate:

The yerba mate Cruz de Malta has been made since 1874, being one of the most experienced brands in the yerba mate market, one of the greatest pleasures of Argentines. It is a herb that believes in the authenticity of taste and quality assured from the beginning. Made with a careful process of harvesting, selection and parking of the leaf extracted from the plantations of the Northeast of our country

Fuente: https://www.molinos.com.ar/nuestras-marcas/cruz-de-malta.aspx

  • 5
    You could add the google translation yourself... Nov 15, 2019 at 4:30
  • 3
    Looking at the translation, this does not answer the question.
    – justCal
    Nov 15, 2019 at 13:04

One of the members who founded this company was Francisco Mendez Gonzalves.

  • 10
    This answer would be improved by sources.
    – MCW
    May 2, 2018 at 23:35

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