Biography of Simón Bolívar, ‘the Liberator’

Biography of Simón Bolívar, ‘the Liberator’

One of the most prominent figures of the american emancipation From the beginning of the 19th century it was, without a doubt, Simón Bolívar. With his military and political campaign, he managed to expel the Spanish royalists from colonies that they had neglected for centuries. It would go down in history as the hero of hispanoamerica and they would call him "The Liberator”.

Simon Bolivar He was born on July 24, 1783 in Caracas into a wealthy Creole family. He had a fairly normal childhood for someone of his social class, although it was marked by the loss of his father when he was two years old to tuberculosis. Thus it happened to be in charge of his mother. Juan Félix Jerez Aristeguieta instituted a mayorazgo for the young Simón in 1785, who was left orphaned four years later, due to the death of his mother.

His education and maintenance from then on were the responsibility of Simón Rodríguez, his teacher. But Bolívar was not comfortable in his mentor's house, so he fled several times. However, it was not until Rodríguez's departure for Europe that he was able to change his scene and move to the Academy of Mathematics. Among its preceptors were Andrés Bello and Guillermo Peldrón. In 1797, he entered as a cadet in the White Militia Battalion of the Valles de Aragua.

Just two years later he traveled to Madrid and met María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro and Alayza, whom he married in 1802. Together they returned to Venezuela, but on January 22, 1803, his wife died of yellow fever. To mitigate the pain, Bolívar decided to return to Europe and, after passing through Cádiz and Madrid, he settled in Paris in 1804.

With his former mentor, Simón Rodríguez, he studied and read classic works. In 1805, the two traveled together to Italy, where Bolívar joined Freemasonry and where he swore to liberate his homeland. Also, at this time is when he met Alexander Humboldt. After knowing the Miranda's independence action, he began to return home and, after traveling through the United States in 1807, he arrived in Venezuela in the middle of that year.

He was integrated into independence circles from the first moment and on April 19, 1810, the Junta de Caracas appointed him, along with López Mendes and Andrés Bello, to be commissioned by the British government. After the independence of Venezuela was proclaimed on July 5, 1811, Bolívar joined the army with the rank of Colonel. One of his first missions was to go to London to get British support. Thanks to the participation of Francisco de Miranda, the commissioners secured a compromise from Great Britain.

After the royal uprising in Puerto Cabello and an earthquake, Miranda was forced to capitulate on July 26, 1812. This was not to the liking of Bolívar, who felt betrayed and decided to make an exchange with the royalist officer Monteverde. In exchange for obtaining a pass to go into exile, Bolívar arrested Miranda and handed him over to the royalists.

Monteverde's help allowed him to flee from the repression of Miranda and took refuge in Cartagena de Indias, where in December 1812 he published his "Memory addressed to the citizens of New Granada by a Caracas man", in which he criticized the mistakes made by Venezuela and advised Nueva Granada not to do them again. He then began his career as one of the main leaders, together with San Martín, of the independence of Spanish America.

In 1813, in the course of the so-called “War to the death”, Recovered Caracas on August 6 and restored the republic. However, after his defeat in June 1814 against Boves at La Puerta, he had to leave the capital and flee again to New Granada. His return and, above all, the difficult circumstances that the New Granada were going through, caused all the Venezuelans in that place to recognize him as their chief. This allowed him to intervene in the internal politics of the place, getting Bogotá to join the United Provinces.

Seeing that it was impossible to carry out any project in New Granada, Bolívar in 1815 went into exile in Jamaica. There he began to promulgate his ideas of a great American confederation and suffered an assassination attempt. Due to the economic straits and the rest of the problems he was going through, he moved to Haiti in 1816, where he obtained the support of General Alexandre Pétion to invade Venezuela.

From there he began the campaign that provided him with the occupation of Guayana and its capital, Angostura, in July 1817. Bolívar proclaimed the third republican period and began to plan his action for the liberation of New Granada and the Venezuelan north. In 1819, he crossed the Andes and, after winning the confrontations of Gámeza and the Pantano de Vargas, he obtained the decisive liberation of Colombia.

He tried to structure the politics of the new country, for which he made a brief truce agreed with Morillo in 1820. Although the young Spanish general was very capable, he was unable to stop Bolívar's troops in Carabobo on June 24, 1821. This victory meant the liberation of Venezuela, with the exception of the stronghold of Puerto Cabello, which ended up yielding in 1823.

Once this conflict is settled, Bolívar then began planning his campaign on Ecuador. His victory at Bomboná in April 1822 and that of Sucre in Pichincha in May, he made Ecuador join the republic of Gran Colombia, previously proclaimed in December 1821. It was during this conquest that he met Manuela Sáenz, the great love of the last years of his life.

July 25, 1822 he interviewed San Martín in Guayaquil. This meeting was quite tense, since Bolívar denied him the cession of the city of Guayaquil and his support for the project to establish a monarchical regime in Peru. Some time later he was summoned by the Congress of that same country to exercise the position of Dictator.

From this new position, began the conquest of Lima it was in the hands of the royalists. His results were quite fast, since he was proclaimed winner in the battle of Junin on August 7, 1824 and entered Lima. The Bolivar victory, together with that of Sucre in Ayachucho in December of that same year, was what definitively consecrated the liberation of america.

A short time later, Bolívar resigned his powers in Peru and moved to the newly constituted Republic of Bolivia. The assembly entrusted him with the task of drafting the draft Constitution of 1826. His Pan-American ideas led him to convene the Congress of Panama in 1826.

But the Páez rebellion in Venezuela in April of that year he forced him to return. In 1827 he managed to suffocate it, but the unity of the Grancolombian Republic it began to unravel. Bolívar was sworn in as president before Congress, which met in Bogotá in September 1827. However, the growing political opposition caused him to proclaim himself Dictator. In 1829, Bolívar had to face a Peruvian incursion on Guayaquil and only a year later, because of the irreversible crisis of the Great Colombia and from the illness that he suffered, he resigned the presidency.

The few months of life that were left to him were spent in Cartagena. That's where he received the news of the assassination of Sucre and, shortly after, he passed away. December 17, 1830, was the day that “The LiberatorOf America lost his life. Most of the Hispanic American countries recognize him to this day as one of the great architects of American emancipation.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

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