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Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar Palacios y Blanco de Rodríguez, commonly known as Simón Bolívar (July 24, 1783 – December 17, 1830) was a South American political leader. Together with José de San Martín, he played a key role in Latin America's successful struggle for independence from Spainmarker.

Following the triumph over the Spanish Monarchy, Bolívar participated in the foundation of the first Republic of Colombia (today referred to by historians as "Gran Colombia" to avoid confusion with the current nation of the same name), a nation formed from several former Spanish colonies. He was President of Gran Colombia from 1819 to 1830. Bolívar is credited with contributing decisively to the independence of the present-day countries of Venezuelamarker, Colombiamarker, Ecuadormarker, Panamamarker, Perumarker, and Boliviamarker and is revered as a national hero in them.

Biography

Family heritage

Bolívar's confirmation by Venezuelan painter Tito Salas
Simón Bolívar was born in Caracasmarker, Captaincy General of Venezuela (now the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuelamarker). The Bolívar aristocratic bloodline derives from a small village in the Basque Country (Spain), called La Puebla de Bolívarmarker, which is the origin of the surname. His father descended remotely from King Fernando III of Castile and Count Amedeo IV of Savoy, and came from the male line of the de Ardanza family.The Bolívars settled in Venezuela in the sixteenth century.

His distant ancestor was Simón de Bolívar (or Simon de Bolibar, the spelling was not settled until the nineteenth century), who had lived in Santo Domingo from 1550 to 1570 and worked for its governor. When the governor of Santo Domingo was reassigned to Venezuela in 1589, Bolívar went along with him. As an early settler in Caracas Province, he achieved a prominent position in the local society, and he and his descendants acquired estates, encomiendas and positions in the Caracas cabildo. The position of the family is illustrated by the fact that when the Caracas Cathedralmarker was built in 1594, the Bolívar family had one of the first dedicated side chapels. The majority of the wealth of his descendants came from these estates, the most important of which was a sugar plantation in San Mateo, which came with an encomienda that provided the labor needed to run the estate. In later centuries, slave and free black labor would have replaced most of the encomienda labor. A portion of their wealth also came from the silver, gold and, more importantly, copper mines in Venezuela. In 1632, small gold deposits were first mined in Venezuela, leading to further discoveries of much more extensive copper deposits. From his mother's family the Palacioses, Simón Bolívar inherited the copper mines at Cocorote. Slaves provided the majority of the labor in these mines. Towards the end of the seventeenth century copper exploitation became so prominent in Venezuela that it became known as Cobre Caracas ("Caracas copper"). Many of the mines became the property of the Bolívar family. Bolívar's grandfather, Juan de Bolívar y Martínez de Villegas, paid 22,000 ducats to the monastery at Santa Maria de Montserratmarker in 1728 for a title of nobility that had been granted by the king for its maintenance. The Crown never issued the patent of nobility, and so the purchase became the subject of lawsuits that were still going in Simón Bolívar's lifetime, when independence made the point moot. (If successful, Bolívar's older brother, Juan Vicente, would have become the Marqués de San Luismarker and Vizconde de Cocorote.) Simón Bolívar used his family's immense wealth to finance his revolutionary efforts.

Following the early deaths of his father Juan Vicente Bolívar y Ponte (died 1786), and his mother María de la Concepción Palacios y Blanco (died 1792), he went to Spain in 1799 at age sixteen to complete his education. There he married María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa, related to the family of the Marqués del Toro of Caracas, in 1802, but, eight months after moving to Venezuela with her new husband, she succumbed to yellow fever. Bolívar returned to Europe in 1804, where he lived in Napoleonic France for a while and undertook the Grand Tour During this time in Europe, it was rumored that he met Alexander Humboldt in Paris. Humboldt wrote in 1804 of having met a young man in Paris and Humboldt had noticed how the young man loved liberty and made for some lively conversation, but he left Humboldt unimpressed.

El Libertador: The Liberator



Bolívar returned to Venezuela in 1807, It was during this period that Bolívar wrote his Manifiesto de Cartagena.

In 1813 he acquired a military command in Tunjamarker, New Granada (today Colombiamarker), under the direction of the Congress of United Provinces of New Granada, which had formed out of the juntas established in 1810. From New Granada Bolívar began an invasion of Venezuela on May 14. This was the beginning of the famous Admirable Campaign. He entered Méridamarker on May 23, where he was proclaimed as El Libertador, following the occupation of Trujillomarker on June 9. Six days later, on June 15, he dictated his famous Decree of War to the Death. Caracas was retaken on August 6, 1813, and Bolívar was ratified as "El Libertador", thus proclaiming the Venezuelan Second Republic. Due to the rebellion of José Tomás Boves in 1814 and the fall of the republic, he returned to New Granada, where he then commanded a force for the United Provinces and entered Bogotámarker in 1814, recapturing the city from the dissenting republican forces of Cundinamarca. He intended to march into Cartagenamarker and enlist the aid of local forces in order to capture Royalist Santa Martamarker. However, after a number of political and military disputes with the government of Cartagena, Bolívar fled, in 1815, first to Jamaica, where he was denied support and an attempt was made on his life, then to Haitimarker, where he was granted sanctuary and protection. He befriended Alexandre Pétion, the leader of the newly independent country, and petitioned him for aid.


In 1817, with Haitian soldiers and vital material support (on the condition that he abolish slavery), Bolívar landed in Venezuela and captured Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívarmarker). However, Venezuela remained mostly a territory of Spain, and Bolivar decided to fight first for the independence of New Granada (which was a vice royalty) in order to consolidate after the independence of other less politically important territories for the Spanish crown, like Venezuela (which was a captaincy).

The campaign for the independence of New Granada was consolidated with the victory at the Battle of Boyacá in 1819, and with the new consolidated power in New Granada, Bolivar launched definitive independence campaigns in Venezuela and Ecuador, sealed with the victories at the Battle of Carabobomarker in 1821 and the Battle of Pichincha in 1822. On September 7, 1821 the Gran Colombia (a nation covering much of modern Venezuelamarker, Colombiamarker, Panamamarker, and Ecuadormarker) was created, with Bolívar as president and Francisco de Paula Santander as vice president.

After a meeting in Guayaquil, on July 26 and July 27, 1822, with Argentinemarker General José de San Martín, who had received the title of Protector of Peruvian Freedom, in August 1821, after having partially liberated Peru from the Spanish, Bolívar took over the task of fully liberating Perumarker. The Peruvian congress named him dictator of Peru, on February 10, 1824, which allowed Bolívar to completely reorganize the political and military administration. Bolívar, assisted by Antonio José de Sucre, decisively defeated the Spanish cavalry, on August 6, 1824, at the Battle of Junín. Sucre destroyed the still numerically superior remnants of the Spanish forces at Ayacucho on December 9.

On August 6, 1825, at the Congress of Upper Peru, the Republic of Boliviamarker was created. Bolívar is thus one of the few men to have a country named after him. The constitution reflected the influence of the French and Scottish Enlightenment on Bolívar's political thought, as well as that of classical Greek and Romanmarker authors.
Battle of Carabobo, June 24, 1821
Battle of Junín, 1824


Bolívar had great difficulties maintaining control of the vast Gran Colombia. During 1826, internal divisions had sparked dissent throughout the nation and regional uprisings erupted in Venezuela, thus the new South American union revealed its fragility and appeared to be on the verge of collapse. To preserve the union, an amnesty was declared and an arrangement was reached with the Venezuelan rebels, but political dissent in neighboring New Granada grew as a consequence of this. In an attempt to keep the nation together as a single entity, Bolívar called for a constitutional convention at Ocañamarker during April 1828.

He had seen his dream of eventually engendering an American Revolution-style federation between all the newly independent republics, with a government ideally set-up solely to recognize and uphold individual rights, succumb to the pressures of particular interests throughout the region, which rejected that model and had little or no allegiance to liberal principles. For this reason, and to prevent a break-up, Bolívar wanted to implement in Gran Colombia a more centralist model of government, including some or all of the elements of the Bolivian constitution he had written, which included a lifetime presidency with the ability to select a successor (though this presidency was theoretically held in check by an intricate system of balances).

This move was considered controversial in New Granada and was one of the reasons the deliberations in favor of such a constitution met with strong opposition at the Convention of Ocaña, which met from April 9 to June 10, 1828. The convention almost ended up drafting a document which would have implemented a radically federalist form of government, which would have greatly reduced the powers of the central administration. Unhappy with what would be the ensuing result, pro-Bolívar delegates withdrew from the convention, leaving it moribund. After the failure of this congress to write a new constitution, Bolívar proclaimed himself dictator on August 27, 1828 through the Organic Decree of Dictatorship. He considered this as a temporary measure, as a means to reestablish his authority and save the republic, though it increased dissatisfaction and anger among his political opponents. An assassination attempt on September 25, 1828 failed, in part thanks to the help of his lover, Manuela Sáenz, according to popular belief. Although Bolívar emerged physically intact from the event, this nevertheless greatly affected him. Dissent continued, and uprisings occurred in New Granada, Venezuela and Ecuador during the next two years.

Death

Saying "All who served the Revolution have plowed the sea", Bolívar finally resigned his presidency on April 27, 1830, intending to leave the country for exile in Europe, possibly in France. He had already sent several crates (containing his belongings and writings, which he had selected) ahead of him to Europe..

He died before setting sail, after a painful battle with tuberculosis on December 17, 1830, in the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino in Santa Martamarker, Gran Colombia (now Colombiamarker), at the age of 47. On his deathbed, Bolívar asked his aide-de-camp, General Daniel F. O'Leary to burn the remaining, extensive archive of his writings, letters, and speeches. O'Leary disobeyed the order and his writings survived, providing historians with a vast wealth of information about Bolívar's liberal philosophy and thought, as well as details of his personal life, such as his longstanding love affair with Manuela Sáenz, who augmented this collection when she turned over her letters from Bolívar to O'Leary shortly before her own death in 1856.

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

Political beliefs

Bolívar described himself in his many letters as a "liberal" who believed in a "free market." He was an admirer of the American Revolution and a great critic of the French Revolution. He considered Thomas Jefferson so important that he sent his nephew to the University of Virginiamarker. However, Bolivar differed in political philosophy from the leaders of the Revolution in the United States on two important matters: First of all, he was staunchly anti-slavery, unlike his North American counterparts, despite coming from an area of Spanish America that relied heavily on slave labour.

Second and perhaps more notably, while he was an admirer of the United States, he did not believe that its system could function in the Latin America. Bolivar felt that the United States, compared to his new nation, was established in a land that was much better suited for democracy, a land and people that could survive in a much looser, more liberal government.

By contrast, he referred to Spanish America as having been subject to the "Triple yoke of ignorance, tyranny, and vice." If a republic could be established in such a land, in his mind, it would have to make some concessions in terms of liberty. This is shown when Bolivar blames the fall of the first republic on his subordinates trying to imitate "some ethereal republic, [the United States]" and in the process, not paying attention to the gritty political reality of South America.

Among the books he traveled with were Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations;" Voltaire's "Letters," and when he wrote the Bolivian Constitution, Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws. His Bolivian Constitution placed him within the camp of what would become Latin American conservatism in the later nineteenth century. The Bolivian Constitution had a lifelong presidency and a hereditary senate, essentially recreating the British unwritten constitution, as it existed at the time, without formally establishing a monarchy. It was his attempts to implement a similar constitution in Gran Colombia that led to his downfall and rejection by 1830.

Legacy

Relatives

Simón Bolívar has no direct descendants. His closest living relatives descend from his sisters and brother. His sister Juana Bolívar y Palacios married their maternal uncle Dionisio Palacios y Blanco and had two children: Guillermo and Benigna.

Guillermo Palacios died fighting alongside his uncle in the battle of La Hogaza on December 2, 1817. Benigna had two marriages, the first one to Pedro Breceño Méndez and the second to Pedro Amestoy. Their great-grandchildren, Pedro, and Eduardo Mendoza Goiticoa lived in Caracasmarker, as of 2000.

His eldest sister, María Antonia married Pablo Clemente Francia and had four children: Josefa, Anacleto, Valentina and Pablo. María Antonia became Bolívar's agent to deal with his properties while he served as president of Gran Colombia and she was an executor of his will. She retired to Bolívar's estate in Macaraomarker, which she inherited from him.

His older brother, Juan Vicente, who died in 1811 on a diplomatic mission to the United States, had three children born out of wedlock whom he recognized: Juan, Fernando Simón and Felicia Bolívar Tinoco. Simón Bolívar saw to their and their mother's well-being after his brother's death. Bolívar was especially close to Fernando and in 1822 sent him to study in the United States, where he attended the University of Virginiamarker. In his long life, he had minor participation in some of the major political events of Venezuelan history and also traveled and lived extensively throughout Europe. He had three children, Benjamín Bolívar Gauthier, Santiago Hernández Bolívar and Claudio Bolívar Taraja. Fernando died in 1898 at the age of 88.

Political legacy

Simón Bolívar lends his name and image to the Venezuelan Bolívar coin


Simón Bolívar's political legacy has been massive and he is a very important figure in South American political history. Claims to the mantle of Simón Bolívar began in the 1840s and have continued throughout modern times. The 'Bolivarianism' of the last two decades, is simply one of the latest manifestations of this phenomenon.

It took more than a decade to rehabilitate his image in South America. By the 1840s the memory of Bolívar proved useful for the construction of a sense of nationhood. In Venezuela, in particular, the state sponsored a type of a 'cult' to Bolívar, first under the President José Antonio Páez and most dramatically under President Antonio Guzmán Blanco. Because the image of Bolívar became central to the national identities of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, his mantle is claimed by nearly all politicians from all parts of the political spectrum.

Honors

Bolívar´s Apotheosis by Tito Salas
Statues of the Liberator can be found in many parts of the world. There is a five meter tall equestrian statue in San Salvador, El Salvador, in a square also called "Plaza Bolívar". Another equestrian statue stands between the Alexandre III bridge and the Petit Palais in Parismarker, Francemarker, being a joint gift to the City of Parismarker from the "five Bolivarian republics" of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Another equestrian statue stands in the Piaza le Simone Bolivar in front of the British School, in Rome, where it faces an equestrian statue of Jose de San Martin. A statue in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. A statue in San Juanmarker de Puerto Rico, a statue signifying the friendship between Canada and South America in Ottawamarker (which caused some controversy at the time of its erection), and also a bust in Sydney, Australia, a bust in Montreal, Canada, and an equestrian statue in Quebec Citymarker, in the Parc de l'Amérique Latine.
Simon Bolivar's statue in Washington DC, USA
A statue in Bolivar, Missourimarker, which was presented by President Rómulo Gallegos of Venezuela and dedicated by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. A central avenue in Ankaramarker, the capital of Turkeymarker, bears his name. Bolivar, West Virginiamarker, bears his name and displays his bust, and Frankfurtmarker, Germany, also has a bust of the general. A monument to him stands in Washington DC. There is a statue in heart of Cairo, Egypt next to the Intercontinental Hotel (Semiramis). These are only a few of the examples.

In Santiago (Chile) a monument celebrating Latin American Freedom, was erected in 1836 at the main square (Plaza de Armas),one of the panels was dedicated to Simón Bolívar. Around 1836-40 a full size equestrian statue was erected in his honour located at a square at the beginning of the avenue that bear his name.

Furthermore, every city and town in Venezuelamarker and Colombiamarker (in this one each capital city but Pastomarker) has a main square known as Plaza Bolívar, that usually has a bust or a statue of Bolívar. The most famous of these Plaza Bolívar are the ones in Bogotámarker and Caracasmarker. The central avenue of Caracas is called Avenida Bolívar, and at its end there is a twin tower complex named Centro Simón Bolívar built during the 1950s that holds several governmental offices. One of the main parks in Guayaquil Ecuador is named after Bolivar, El parque Bolivar. Streets, provinces, and several schools have been named after Simon Bolivar in Ecuador.

See also



Notes

  1. Museo Simon Bolibar, Cenarruza-Puebla de Bolívar, Spain.
  2. Masur, Simon Bolivar (1969), 21-22.
  3. John, Lynch. Simon Bolívar a life. New Haven: Yale UP, 2006. Print.
  4. Bushnell, David. The Liberator, Simon Bolivar. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970. Print.
  5. Bolivar, Simon. Hope of the universe. Paris: UNESCO, 1983. Print.
  6. Simón Bolívar entry on Find a Grave.com.
  7. http://books.google.com/books?id=ZcHpTbbV2NMC&pg=PA136&lpg=PA136&dq=%22some+ethereal+republic%22&source=bl&ots=GVhgx_U9IB&sig=wk60dqlYp1opDj5ZrmAe36HmOv4&hl=en&ei=o4rkSuusGZTYtgObjMWwBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22some%20ethereal%20republic%22&f=false
  8. Lynch, John, Simón Bolívar: A Life, 33. Yale University Press, 2006
  9. De-Sola Ricardo, Irma, "Bolívar Palacios, Juana" in Diccionario de Historia de Venezuela, Vol. 1. Caracas: Fundación Polar, 1999. ISBN 980-6397-37-1 also reproduced in Simón Bolívar.org, Biografías Familiares de Simón Bolívar at Simón Bolívar, el hombre.
  10. De-Sola Ricardo, Irma, "Bolívar Palacios, María Antonia" in Diccionario de Historia de Venezuela, Vol. 1. reproduced in Simón Bolívar.org, Biografías Familiares de Simón Bolíbar.
  11. Fuentes Carvallo, Rafael, "Bolívar, Fernando Simón" in Diccionario de Historia de Venezuela, Vol. 1. reproduced in Simón Bolívar.org, Biografías Familiares de Simón Bolíbar.
  12. Lynch, Bolívar: A Life, 299-304. For a fuller discussion of the evolution of the cult of Bolívar, see Carrera Damas, El culto a Bolívar.
  13. http://www.egy.com/gardencity/99-06-24.shtml


Bibliography about Bolívar

  • Reza, German de la. "La invención de la paz. De la república cristiana del duque de Sully a la sociedad de naciones de Simón Bolívar", México, Siglo XXI Editores, 2009. ISBN 978-607-03-0054-7
  • Bushnell, David and Macaulay, Neill. The Emergence of Latin America in the Nineteenth Century (Second edition). Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-19-508402-0
  • Ducoudray Holstein, H.L.V. Memoirs of Simon Bolivar. Boston: Goodrich, 1829.
  • Lynch, John. Simón Bolívar and the Age of Revolution. London: University of London Institute of Latin American Studies, 1983. ISBN 9780901145543
  • Lynch, John. The Spanish American Revolutions, 1808-1826 (Second edition). New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1986. ISBN 0-393-95537-0
  • Lynch, John. Simón Bolívar: A Life, Verlag: Yale University Press, 2006. ISBN 0300110626.
  • Madariaga, Salvador de. Bolívar. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1952. ISBN 9780313220296
  • Marx, Karl. "Bolivar y Ponte" in The New American Cyclopaedia: A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge, Vol. III. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1858.
  • Masur, Gerhard. Simón Bolívar (Revised edition). Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1969.
  • Mijares, Augusto. The Liberator. Caracas: North American Association of Venezuela, 1983.
  • O'Leary, Daniel Florencio. Bolívar and the War of Independence/Memorias del General Daniel Florencio O'Leary: Narración (Abridged version). Austin: University of Texas, [1888] 1970. ISBN 0-292-70047-4
  • Bushnell, David. The Liberator, Simon Bolivar. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970. Print.
  • Bolivar, Simon. Hope of the universe. Paris: UNESCO, 1983. Print.
  • Bushnell, David. The Liberator, Simon Bolivar. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970. Print.


External links



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