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Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios (July 24, 1783 – December 17, 1830) was a South American revolutionary leader. Credited with leading the fight for independence in what are now the nations of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, today's Panama and Bolivia, he is revered as a hero in those countries and throughout the rest of Latin America.
Bolívar was born in Caracas (in modern-day Venezuela) into an aristocratic family, and was educated by different tutors, among them Simón Rodríguez, from whose ideas and educational style he received great influence.
Following the death of his parents, he went to Spain in 1799 to complete his education. In Spain he married María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa in 1802 but, on a brief return visit to Venezuela in 1803, she succumbed to yellow fever. Bolívar returned to Europe in 1804 and for a time was part of Napoleon's retinue.
Bolívar returned to Venezuela in 1807 and, when Napoleon made Joseph King of Spain and its colonies in 1808, he participated in the resistance juntas in America. The Caracas junta declared its independence in 1810, and Bolívar was sent to England on a diplomatic mission.
Bolívar returned to Venezuela in 1811. But in July 1812, junta leader Francisco de Miranda surrendered, and Bolívar had to flee to Cartagena de Indias. From there, Bolívar wrote his Cartagena Manifesto .
In 1813 he led the invasion of Venezuela. He entered Merida on May 23 and was proclaimed El Libertador ("liberator"). Caracas was recaptured on August 6, 1813, and the second Venezuelan republic was proclaimed. He then commanded a Colombian nationalist force and captured Bogotá in 1814. However, after a number of military setbacks, Bolívar fled in 1815 to Jamaica, where he petitioned the Haitian leader Alexandre Pétion for aid.
A victory at Boyacá in 1819 added Colombia to the territories free of Spanish control, and in December Bolívar created Gran Colombia (a federation covering much of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador) with himself as president.
Further victories at Carabobo in 1821 and Pichincha in 1822 consolidated his rule. In 1822 he took over Peru, after Argentine General José de San Martín resigned from the title Protector of Peruvian Freedom in July 1821, having partially liberated Peru from the Spanish. Bolívar was named president on September 10, 1821. Bolívar, assisted by Antonio José de Sucre decisively defeated the Spanish in August 1824 at Junín. Sucre destroyed the remnants of the Spanish forces at Ayacucho in December.
In August 1825, at the Congress of Upper Peru the Republic of Bolivia was created in honour of Bolívar. But at home, Bolivar had great difficulties maintaining control of the vast Gran Colombia. By 1827, internal divisions had sparked wars, and the fragile South American coalition collapsed. Bolívar resigned his presidency in 1828 and died from tuberculosis on December 17, 1830, in "La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino", in Santa Marta, Colombia.
- Bolivar's War
- List of places named after Simón Bolívar
- Gabriel García Márquez's novel The General in his Labyrinth (1989), a fictionalized account of Bolívar's last years
- Brigadier General Antonio Valero de Bernabé
- Simon Bolivar University
- ΦΙΑ Don Simón Bolívar is one of the five pillars of the Oldest Latino Fraternity in Existance. Brothers of Phi Iota Alpha unite under the Bolivar's dream of Pan-Americanism ;
see also José de San Martín Bernardo O'Higgins Benito Juarez José Martí, other Latin American heroes who were also influenced by Bolivar's execution of La Gran Colombia and fought for the unity of the Americas.
- History of Simon Bolivar
- The Life of Simon Bolivar
- Bolivar y Ponte a critical review of Bolivar's career by Karl Marx.
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