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.
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).
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.
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))
История одной монополии (The history of one monopoly)
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
One of the members who founded this company was Francisco Mendez Gonzalves.