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Camille Pissarro was born in Saint-Thomas, Virgin Islands, on July 10, 1830 to a Jewish French father (Abraham) of Portuguese origin, who had settled in this Danish colony of the West Indies a few years earlier, and to a creole mother named Rachel Manzano-Pomie native of Danish Antilles.
His father sent him to Paris, France from 1842 to 1847 to receive his early education at a boarding school in Passy, a small village near Paris. As early as that time, he spends his free time sketching the countryside and visiting Parisian museums.
On return to Saint-Thomas, he forms a friendship with Danish painter Fritz Melbye, with whom he flees in 1852 to Caracas , Venezuela where he will stay two years, so as to avoid working in his father's business.
In 1855 his father ends up yielding to his will to become a painter and sends him again to Paris, where the French branch of his family was going to give him financial support, in order to have him follow a more serious training.