Simón Bolívar

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Simón Bolívar

Simón Bolívar (1783 - 1830) was a Venezuelan military and political leader. He was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He liberated many countries from Spain in South America. Those countries included Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. For a few years he was president of Gran Colombia, a country that no longer exists. The country Bolivia is named after Bolívar.

While in Madrid during 1802, Bolívar married María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaiza.

Revolution in Latin America

White people felt ignored because Spaniards were sent by their governor, and resented wealthy mixed heritage people who could “buy” whiteness. The creoles started calling themselves Americans and not Spaniards to demonstrate that they wanted independence. In 1808, Napoleon conquered Spain, and made his brother, Joseph Bonaparte the new king. The colonies in Latin America rebelled because they said they were loyal to the old king, Charles IV of Spain and not Napoleon.

On September 6th 1815 Simón Bolívar wrote a letter from Jamaica. He explained the causes and reasons why all of South America or parts of it should be independent (free from Spain's ruling). Simón Bolívar was tired of how Venezuela and other countries were treated like slaves and how they were not free. He said “We have been harassed by a conduct which has not only deprived us of our rights but has kept us in a sort of permanent infancy with regard to public affairs.” He kept saying in the Jamaica letter why it's important to be free. “We are still in a position lower than slavery, and therefore it is more difficult for us to rise to the enjoyment of freedom.” This means they could not even enjoy freedom. "Because successes have been partial and spasmodic, we must not lose faith. We are young in the ways of almost all the arts and sciences, although, in a certain manner, we are old in the ways of civilized society."

On May 26, 1819 Bolivar gathered with a group of guerrillas that wanted to defeat the Spanish army. They got supplies and they crossed hundreds of miles of plains, swamps, rivers, etc. Many of the men died of hunger, diseases, and other causes on the way there. Crossing plains on August 7, they encountered the royalists and won the battle in Boyacá on August 10. Bolívar then occupied Boyoca, Colombia. Bolivar won the fight of Carabobo in June 1821, and after that Caracas fell. A few days later and Venezuela was free of the Spanish royalists, then Bolívar went South and conquered Quito. On July 27, 1822 Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín met in the Guayaquil Conference. Bolivar came in as a military leader. Bolivar and San Martin went back to Europe where they both had a meeting. They were preparing to march across the Andes to Peru to defeat the Spanish royalists in August of 1824. Bolivar launched his campaign and soon he won a small but important battle at Junin. The royalists retreated and eventually lost.

Bolivar’s legacy is that he helped many of the Latin American countries achieve independence. People called him "El Liberator" because he freed the people. Some people hated him because they thought he was a traitor, and he was going to be a dictator.

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