- Bolívar, Simón
- (1783–1830)Known as El Libertador, Simón Bolívar is regarded as the leader of the struggle for independence from Spain in most of Latin America, having liberated Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia. Bolivar is today celebrated as a national hero throughout most of Latin America.Born on July 24, 1783 in Caracas, Venezuela, to an aristocratic family, in 1799 Bolívar went to Spain to complete his education and became an ardent admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1802 he married the Spaniard María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa, and in 1803 they went to Caracas where she soon died of yellow fever. Bolívar never remarried. In 1804, he returned to Spain and in 1807 went back to Caracas. In 1808, when Napoleon made his brother Joseph king of Spain and its territories, juntas were formed throughout the Spanish-American colonies, initially in support of the deposed King Ferdinand VII but eventually as the forces of independence. The Caracas junta, in which Bolívar participated, declared its independence in 1810. He was sent to Great Britain as a diplomat. In 1811, the junta leader, Francisco de Miranda, assumed dictatorial powers and Bolívar returned to Caracas. When the Spanish attacked in 1812, Miranda surrendered and attempted to escape. Bolívar and others, regarding this surrender as treason, handed him over to the Spanish. Bolívar fled to Cartagena de las Indias, in the Viceroyalty of New Granada, mostly present-day Colombia. There he wrote the Cartagena Manifesto, calling for Latin Americans to unite to form a republic and fight Spain. In 1813, he obtained a military command in the invasion of Venezuela, which took place on May 14, marking the beginning of the Admirable Campaign. He entered Caracas on August 6 and proclaimed the Second Venezuelan Republic, which fell the next year as a result of the royalist rebellion led by José Tomás Boves. Bolívar returned to Nueva Granada where he took part in the republican struggle for independence, but political and military rivalries forced him to flee to Jamaica in 1815. In 1816, with help from the Haitian President Alexandre Pétion, Bolívar went back to Venezuela and took over the city of Angostura, now Ciudad Bolívar. In 1819, the Colombian territory was liberated and in 1821 the federation of Gran Colombia was created, covering the territory of what was to later become Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama. Bolívar was named president. In 1822, in agreement with the Argentinean General José de San Martín, the official Protector of Peruvian Freedom, Bolívar took over the task of completely liberating Peru, which was accomplished on August 6, 1824. On the same day the next year, the Republic of Bolivia was created in his honor, for which he wrote a constitution. Internal political dissension moved Bolívar to declare himself dictator in 1828 as a temporary measure, but this only aggravated the situation and led to a failed assassination attempt later that year. Bolívar resigned on April 27, 1830, and died of tuberculosis several months later on December 17, in Santa Marta, Colombia.See also <
>; < >.FURTHER READING:Bushnell, David. Simón Bolívar: Liberation and Disappointment. New York: Longman, 2003.GEORGIA TRES
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.