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Monday, 7 January 2013

Simon Bolivar

Simon Bolivar was born in a house in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 24, 1783. His father, Coronel Don Juan Vicente Bolívar y Ponter, was a wealthy aristocratic landowner who had married into Spanish aristocracy. His mother was Doña María de la Concepción Palacios y Blanco . He had two older sisters and a brother: María Antonia, Juana, and Juan Vicente. Another sister, María del Carmen, died at birth.

Bolívar's father died when Simon was two and a half years old and his mother passed away when he was approaching nine years of age. He then was placed in the custody of a severe instructor, Miguel José Sanz, but this relationship did not work out and he was sent back to his home.

He was educated by private tutors in Caracas and also in Spain, which Bolivar completed in 1799. The most influential of his tutors was Don Simón Rodríguez, who understood young Simon's personality and inclinations, and tried from the very beginning to be an empathetic friend. They took long walks through the countryside and climbed mountains. Don Simón taught the youngster how to swim and ride horses, and, in the process, taught him about liberty, human rights, politics, history, and sociology.

When Simon was fourteen, Don Simón had to abandon the country, as he was accused of being involved in a conspiracy against the Spanish government in Caracas. Thus, Simon entered the military academy of the Milicias de Veraguas, which his father had directed as colonel years earlier. Through these years of military training, he developed his fervent passion for armaments and military strategy, which he later would employ on the battlefields of the wars of independence.

For a time Bolívar was part of Napoleon's retinue during which he witnessed the coronation of the French Emperor in Notre Dame, and this majestic event left a profound a impression upon him. From that moment he wished that he could emulate similar triumphant glory for the people back home in Venezuela.

While in Madrid during 1802, he married María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa, who was the daughter of a nobleman. However on a brief return visit to Venezuela the following year, she succumbed to yellow fever. Bolívar never married again.

Bolívar was a Freemason. He was initiated in 1803 in Cadiz, Spain's Masonic Lodge Lautaro. It was in this lodge that he first met some of his revolutionary peers, such as José de San Martín. In May 1806 he was conferred the rank of Master Mason in the "Scottish Mother of St. Alexander of Scotland" in Paris.

Bolivar had a long, thin face, long sideburns, dark hair.


He was brought up in the Catholic Church but got himself excommunicated and became an atheist.

In 1814 during his exile in Jamaica Bolívar wrote Letter From Jamaica, a vision of what he hoped Latin America might become.

Bolivar freed much of South America from Spanish occupation. On December 17, 1819 he proclaimed the republic of Gran Columbia, comprising the territories of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru, western Guyana and northwest Brazil.

The Republic of Bolivia was created in 1825 at the Congress of Upper Peru. Bolívar is thus one of the few men to have a country named after him.

In the last eight years of his life, Bolívar had a relationship with Manuela Sáenz (1797 – 1856), the illegimate daughter of a Spanish nobleman in Quito, Ecuador. She married a wealthy English merchant in 1817 and became an aristocrat and socialite in Lima, Peru, where she became active in support of revolutionary efforts. Leaving her husband in 1822, she soon began an eight-year collaboration and intimate relationship with Bolívar that lasted until his death in 1830.

After Manuela prevented an 1828 assassination attempt against her lover and facilitated his escape, Bolivar began to call her, "Libertadora del Libertador", the liberator of the liberator and she was celebrated and given many honors.

Bolívar resigned his presidency of Columbia on April 27, 1830, intending to leave the country for exile in Europe or the Caribbean."America," Bolívar said on his deathbed, " is ungovernable. Those who have served the revolution, have ploughed the sea."



He died a disillusioned man on December 17, 1830, at a friend’s estate in Columbia after a painful battle with tuberculosis.

His remains were buried in the cathedral of Santa Marta. Twelve years later, in 1842, at the request of President José Antonio Páez, they were moved from Santa Marta to Caracas, where a monument was set up for his interment in the National Pantheon of Venezuela. The 'Quinta' near Santa Marta has been preserved as a museum with numerous references to his life.



Brazil, Chile, Guyana and Suriname are the only countries in South America that do not have cities, towns or provinces named after Bolivar.

The Bolívar, Venezuela’s basic unit of currency is named after him.

He fought over 200 battles in his military career.

Sources Wikipedia and my knowledge.

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