Portrait by Arturo Michelena
|President of the Second Republic of Venezuela|
7 August 1813 – 16 July 1814
|Preceded by||Francisco de Miranda
(As 3rd President of the First Republic of Venezuela)
|President of the Third Republic of Venezuela|
October 1817 – 24 February 1819
|Succeeded by||José Antonio Páez
(As 1st President of Venezuela)
|1st President of Gran Colombia|
24 February 1819 – 4 May 1830
|Vice President||Francisco de Paula Santander|
|Succeeded by||Domingo Caycedo|
|1st President of Bolivia|
12 August 1825 – 29 December 1825
|Succeeded by||Antonio José de Sucre|
|8th President of Peru|
8 February 1824 – 28 January 1827
|Preceded by||José Bernardo de Tagle, Marquis of Torre-Tagle|
|Succeeded by||Andrés de Santa Cruz|
|Born||Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios
24 July 1783
Caracas, Captaincy General of Venezuela, Spanish Empire (present-day Venezuela)
|Died||17 December 1830
Santa Marta, Gran Colombia (present-day Colombia)
|Spouse(s)||María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa|
Simón Bolívar (IPA: [siˈmom boˈliβar] ( listen)), in full Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios (24 July 1783 – 17 December 1830), was a Venezuelan military and political leader who played an instrumental role in the establishment of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia as sovereign states, independent of Spanish rule.
Bolívar was born into a wealthy, aristocratic Creole family, and similar to others of his day, he was educated in Europe at a young age, arriving in Spain at the age of 16. There, he was introduced to the thoughts and ideas of learned Enlightenment philosophers, which filled him with the ambition to replace the Spanish as rulers. Taking advantage of the disorder in Spain prompted by the Peninsular War, Bolívar inaugurated his campaign for independence in 1808, appealing to the wealthy creole population by seeking freedom through a conservative process and had an organized national congress established within three years. Despite a number of hindrances, including the arrival of an unprecedented large Spanish expeditionary force, the revolutionaries eventually prevailed, culminating in a patriot victory at the Battle of Carabobo in 1821, which effectively made Venezuela a truly independent country.
Following this triumph over the Spanish monarchy, Bolívar participated in the foundation of the first union of independent nations in Latin America, Gran Colombia, of which he was president from 1819 to 1830. Through further military conquest, he also conquered Ecuador, Peru, and finally, Bolivia (which was named after him), assuming the presidency of each of these new nations. At the peak of his power, Bolívar ruled over a vast territory from the Argentine border to the Caribbean.
- 1 Family history
- 2 Early life
- 3 El Libertador
- 4 Proclamation of presidency
- 5 A Failed Dream
- 6 Death
- 7 Private life
- 8 Descriptions of Bolívar
- 9 Relatives
- 10 Political beliefs
- 11 Freemasonry
- 12 Legacy
- 13 In Popular Culture
- 14 See also
- 15 Explanatory notes
- 16 References
- 17 Further reading
- 18 External links
The surname Bolívar derives from the Bolívar aristocrats who came from a small village in the Basque Country, Spain, called La Puebla de Bolívar. His father came from the female line of the Ardanza family. His maternal grandmother was descended from families from the Canary Islands that settled in the country.[lower-alpha 1]
The Bolívars settled in Brazil in the sixteenth century. Bolívar's first South American ancestor was Simón de Bolívar (or Simon de Bolibar; the spelling was not standardized until the nineteenth century), who went to live and work with the governor of Santo Domingo from 1559 to 1560. When the governor of Santo Domingo was reassigned to Venezuela by the Spanish Crown in 1569, Simón de Bolívar came back with him. As an early settler in Caracas Province, he became prominent in the local society, as a result of which he and his descendants were granted estates, encomiendas, and positions in the Caracas cabildo.
The social position of the family is illustrated by the fact that when Caracas Cathedral was built in 1569, the Bolívar family had one of the first dedicated side chapels. The majority of the wealth of Simón de Bolívar's descendants came from the estates. The most important of these estates was a sugar plantation with an encomienda that provided the labor needed to run the estate. Another portion of the Bolívar wealth came from the silver, gold, and more importantly, copper mines in Venezuela. In 1669, small gold deposits were first mined in Venezuela, leading to further discoveries of much more extensive copper deposits. From his mother's side (the Palacios family) Bolívar inherited the copper mines at Cocorote. Native American and African slaves provided the majority of the labor in these mines.
Toward the end of the seventeenth century, copper exploitation became so prominent in Venezuela that the metal 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 Montserrat in 1728 for a title of nobility that had been granted by the king, Philip V of Spain, for its maintenance. The crown never issued the patent of nobility, and so the purchase became the subject of lawsuits that were still in progress during Bolívar's lifetime, when independence from Spain made the point moot. (If successful, Bolívar's older brother, Juan Vicente, would have become the Marqués de San Luis and Vizconde de Cocorote.) Bolívar ultimately gave away his personal fortune to the revolution.:6
Simón Bolívar was born in a house in Caracas, Captaincy General of Venezuela (now the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela), on 24 July 1783.:6 Bolívar was baptized as Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios. His mother was Doña María de la Concepción Palacios y Blanco and his father was Coronel Don Juan Vicente Bolívar y Ponte. He had two older sisters and a brother: María Antonia, Juana, and Juan Vicente. Another sister, María del Carmen, died at birth.
Bolívar's parents found themselves in a circumstance that forced them to entrust the baby Simón Bolívar to the care of Doña Ines Manceba de Miyares and the family's slave la negra Hipolita. A couple of years later Bolívar returned to the love and care of his parents, but this traumatic experience would have a severe effect on Bolívar's life. Before his third birthday, his father Juan Vicente had died.
Bolívar's father died in his sleep when Bolívar was two and a half years old. Bolívar's mother, Maria Concepción de Palacios y Blanco, died when he was approaching nine years of age. He was then 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. In an effort to give Bolívar the best education possible, he received private lessons from the renowned professors Andrés Bello, Guillermo Pelgrón, Jose Antonio Negrete, Fernando Vides, Father Andújar, and the most influential of all, Don Simón Rodríguez, formerly known as Simón Carreño. Don Simón Rodriguez was later to become Bolívar's friend and mentor, and he instilled in the young man the ideas of liberty, enlightenment, and freedom.
In the meantime, he was mostly cared for by his nurse, a black slave woman named Hipólita, whom he later called "the only mother I have known." His instructor Don Simón understood the young Bolívar'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 Bolívar how to swim and ride horses, and, in the process, taught him about liberty, human rights, politics, history, and sociology.
When Bolívar was fourteen, his private instructor and mentor Simón Rodríguez had to abandon the country, as he was accused of being involved in a conspiracy against the Spanish government in Caracas. Thus, Bolívar entered the military academy of the Milicias de Veraguas, which his father had sought out as colonel years earlier. Through these years of military training, he developed his fervent passion for armaments, liberty, and military strategy, which he later would employ on the battlefields of the wars of independence. A few years later, while in Paris, Bolívar witnessed the coronation of Napoleon in Notre Dame, and this majestic event left a profound impression upon him. From that moment he wished that he could emulate similar triumphant glory for the people of his native land.
Bolívar returned to Venezuela in 1807. After the coup on 19 April 1810, Venezuela achieved de facto independence when the Supreme Junta of Caracas was established and the colonial administrators deposed. The Junta sent a delegation to Great Britain to get British recognition and aid. This delegation, which included Simón Bolívar and future Venezuelan notables Andrés Bello and Luis Lopez Mendez, met with and persuaded Francisco de Miranda to return to his native land. In 1811 a delegation from the Supreme Junta, among them Bolívar, and a crowd of common people enthusiastically received Miranda in La Guaira. During civil war conducted by Miranda, Bolívar was promoted to colonel and made commandant of Puerto Cabello the following year in 1812. At the same time that royalist Frigate Captain Domingo de Monteverde was making fast and vast advances into republican territory from the west, Bolívar lost control of San Felipe Castle along with its ammunition stores on 30 June 1812. Deciding that the situation was lost, Bolívar effectively abandoned his post and retreated to his estate in San Mateo. Miranda also saw the republican cause as lost and signed in San Mateo town a capitulation with Monteverde on 25 July. Then Colonel Bolívar and other revolutionary officers claimed his actions as treasonous. In one of Bolívar's most morally dubious acts, Bolívar and others arrested and handed Miranda over to the Spanish Royal Army in La Guaira port. For his apparent services to the royalist cause, Monteverde granted Bolívar a passport, and Bolívar left for Curaçao on 27 August. In 1813 he was given a military command in Tunja, New Granada (modern day Colombia), under the direction of the Congress of United Provinces of New Granada, which had formed out of the juntas established in 1810.
This was the beginning of the famous Admirable Campaign. He entered Mérida on 24 May, where he was proclaimed as El Libertador (The Liberator). That event was followed by the occupation of Trujillo on 9 June. Six days later, on 15 June, he dictated his famous Decree of War to the Death, allowing the killing of any Spaniard not actively supporting independence. Caracas was retaken on 6 August 1813 and Bolívar was ratified as "El Libertador", thus proclaiming the restoration of the Venezuelan 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 Bogotá in 1814, recapturing the city from the dissenting republican forces of Cundinamarca. He intended to march into Cartagena and enlist the aid of local forces in order to capture Royalist Santa Marta. In 1815, after a number of political and military disputes with the government of Cartagena, however, Bolívar fled to Jamaica, where he was denied support and an attempt was made on his life, after which he fled to Haiti, where he was granted sanctuary and protection. He befriended Alexandre Pétion, the President of the newly independent country, and petitioned him for aid.
In 1816, with Haitian soldiers and vital material support, Bolívar landed in Venezuela and fulfilled his promise to Alexandre Pétion to free Spanish America's slaves on 2 June 1816.:186 In January 1817, on a second expedition, Bolivar captured Angostura in July (now Ciudad Bolívar),:192–201 after defeating the counter-attack of Miguel de la Torre. However, Venezuela remained a captaincy of Spain after the victory in 1818 by Pablo Morillo in the second battle of La Puerta.:212 Yet, Bolivar was able to open the Second National Congress in Angostura on 15 Feb. 1819, in which Bolivar was elected president and Francisco Antonio Zea vice president.:222–225 Bolívar then decided that he would first fight for the independence of New Granada, to gain resources of the vice royalty, intending later to consolidate the independence of Venezuela.
The campaign for the independence of New Granada was consolidated with the victory at the Battle of Boyacá on 7 Aug. 1819.:233 Bolivar returned to Angostura, where congress passed a law forming the Republic of Greater Colombia on 17 Dec., making Bolivar president and Zea vice president, with Santander vice president on the New Granada side, and Juan Germán Roscio vice president on the Venezuela side.:246–247 Morillo was left in control of Caracas and the coastal highlands.:248 After the restoration of the Cadiz Constitution, Morillo ratified two treaties with Bolivar on 25 Nov. 1820, calling for a six-month armistice and recognizing Bolivar as president of the republic.:254–255 Bolivar and Morilla met in San Fernando de Apure on 27 Nov., after which Morilla left Venezuela for Spain, leaving La Torre in command.:255–257
From his newly consolidated base of power, Bolívar launched outright independence campaigns in Venezuela and Ecuador, and these campaigns were concluded with the victory at the Battle of Carabobo, after which he triumphantly entered Caracas on 29 June 1821.:267 On 7 September 1821 the Gran Colombia (a state covering much of modern Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, northern Peru, and northwest of Brazil) was created, with Bolívar as president and Francisco de Paula Santander as vice president. Bolivar followed with the Battle of Bombona and the Battle of Pichincha, after which Bolivar entered Quito on 16 June 1822.:287
On 26 and 27 July 1822, Bolívar held the Guayaquil Conference with the Argentinian 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.:295 Thereafter, Bolívar took over the task of fully liberating Peru. The Peruvian congress named him dictator of Peru on 10 February 1824, which allowed Bolívar to reorganize completely the political and military administration. Assisted by Antonio José de Sucre, Bolívar decisively defeated the Spanish cavalry at the Battle of Junín on 6 August 1824. Sucre destroyed the still numerically superior remnants of the Spanish forces at Ayacucho on 9 December 1824.
Bolivar returned to Caracas on 12 Jan. 1827, but returned to Bogota on 10 Sept. 1827 to assume absolute power, setting the date of the constituent congress, 2 Jan. 1830, as the day he would surrender power.:369,378,408
Proclamation of presidency
Bolívar had great difficulties maintaining control of the vast Gran Colombia. In 1826, internal divisions had sparked dissent throughout the nation, and regional uprisings erupted in Venezuela. The new South American union had 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 this increased the political dissent in neighboring New Granada. In an attempt to keep the nation together as a single entity, Bolívar called for a constitutional convention at Ocaña in March 1828.
Bolívar's dream was freedom for all races in the Americas, but felt the federation found in the US was unworkable.:106,166 For this reason, and to prevent a break-up, Bolívar sought to implement a more centralist model of government in Gran Colombia, 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 (although theoretically, this presidency was held in check by an intricate system of balances).:351 This move was considered controversial in New Granada and was one of the reasons for the deliberations, which met from 9 April to 10 June 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 a central administration. The federalist faction was able to command a majority for the draft of a new constitution which has definite federal characteristics despite its ostensibly centralist outline. Unhappy with what would be the ensuing result, pro-Bolívar delegates withdrew from the convention, leaving it moribund.
Two months after the failure of this congress to write a new constitution, Bolívar was declared president-liberator in Colombia's "Organic Decree".:394 He considered this as a temporary measure, as a means to reestablish his authority and save the republic, although it increased dissatisfaction and anger among his political opponents.:408 An assassination attempt on 25 September 1828 failed, thanks to the help of his lover, Manuela Sáenz.:399–405 Bolívar afterward described Manuela as "Liberatrix of the Liberator".:403 Although Bolívar emerged safely from the attempt, this nevertheless greatly affected him. Dissent continued, and uprisings occurred in New Granada, Venezuela, and Ecuador during the next two years.
A Failed Dream
On January 20, 1830, Bolivar’s last address to the nation, in which he announces that he will be stepping down from the presidency of Gran Colombia, reveals a distraught Bolivar trying at all costs to maintain the union and cautioning the people about the intentions of those who advocated for separation. Back then "Colombians" referred to the people of Gran Colombia (Venezuela, New Granada, and Ecuador), not to be confused with modern-day Colombia:
|“||Bogota, 20 January 1830.
Colombians! Today I cease to govern you. I have served you for twenty years as soldier and leader. During this long period we have taken back our country, liberated three republics, fomented many civil wars, and four times I have returned to the people their omnipotence, convening personally four constitutional congresses. These services were inspired by your virtues, your courage, and your patriotism; mine is the great privilege of having governed you.
The constitutional congress convened on this day is charged by Providence with the task of giving the nation the institutions she desires, following the course of circumstances and the nature of things.
Fearing that I may be regarded as an obstacle to establishing the Republic on the true base of its happiness, I personally have cast myself down from the supreme position of leadership to which your generosity had elevated me.
Colombians! I have been the victim of ignominious suspicions, with no possible way to defend the purity of my principles. The same persons who aspire to the supreme command have conspired to tear your hearts from me, attributing to me their own motives, making me seem to be the instigator of projects they themselves have conceived, representing me, finally, as aspiring to a crown which they themselves have offered on more than one occasion and which I have rejected with the indignation of the fiercest republican. Never, never, I swear to you, has it crossed my mind to aspire to a kingship that my enemies have fabricated in order to ruin me in your regard.
Do not be deceived, Colombians! My only desire has been to contribute to your freedom and to be the preservation of your peace of mind. If for this I am held guilty, I deserve your censure more than any man. Do not listen, I beg you, to the vile slander and the tawdry envy stirring up discord on all sides. Will you allow yourself to be deceived by the false accusations of my detractors? Please don't be foolish!
Colombians! Gather around the constitutional congress. It represents the wisdom of the nation, the legitimate hope of the people, and the final point of reunion of the patriots. Its sovereign decrees will determine our lives, the happiness of the Republic, and the glory of Colombia. If dire circumstances should cause you to abandon it, there will be no health for the country, and you will drown in the ocean of anarchy, leaving as your children's legacy nothing but crime, blood, and death.
Fellow Countrymen! Hear my final plea as I end my political career; in the name of Colombia I ask you, beg you, to remain united, lest you become the assassins of the country and your own executioners.
Bolivar ultimately failed in his attempt to prevent the collapse of the union. Gran Colombia was dissolved later that year and was replaced by the republics of Venezuela, New Granada, and Ecuador. Ironically, these countries were established as centralist nations, and would be governed for decades this way by leaders who, during Bolivar's last years, had accused him of betraying the republican principles and of wanting to establish a permanent dictatorship. These separatists, among them Jose Antonio Paez and Francisco de Paula Santander, had justified their opposition to Bolivar for this reason and publicly denounced him as a monarch. Some of them had in the past been accused of plotting against Bolivar’s life (Santander, who governed the second centralist government of New Granada, and was associated to the September Conspiracy). Jose Maria Obando, who led the first dictatorship of New Granada, had been linked to the assassination of Antonio Jose de Sucre in 1830. Sucre was regarded by some as a political threat due to his popularity after he had led a resounding patriot victory at the Battle of Ayacucho, bringing with it the end of the war against the Spanish Empire in South America. Bolivar also considered him his direct successor and had attempted to make him Vice-President of Gran Colombia after Santander had been exiled in 1828.
For the rest of the 19th century and indeed even early in the 20th century, the political environment of Latin America would be fraught with civil wars and characterized by a socio-political phenomenon known as caudillismo. This consisted on the arrival of an authoritarian but charismatic figure to the political scene who would typically rise to power in unconventional ways, often legitimizing his right to govern through undemocratic processes. These ‘’caudillos’’ would maintain their control primarily on the basis of their personality, and a skewed interpretation of their popularity and what constituted a majority among the masses.
Saying, "All who served the Revolution have plowed the sea",:450 Bolívar finally resigned his presidency on 27 April 1830, intending to leave the country for exile in Europe.:435 He already had sent several crates (containing his belongings and writings, which he had selected) ahead of him to Europe, but he died before setting sail from Cartagena.
On 17 December 1830, at the age of 47, Simón Bolívar died of tuberculosis in the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino in Santa Marta, Gran Colombia (now Colombia). 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 wealth of information about Bolívar's liberal philosophy and thought, as well as details of his personal life, such as his long love affair with Manuela Sáenz. Shortly before her own death in 1856, Sáenz augmented this collection by giving O'Leary her own letters from Bolívar.
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. In 2010, symbolic remains of Bolívar's lover, Manuela Sáenz, were interred by his side during a national ceremony reuniting them and honoring her role in the liberations.
On January 2008, then President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez set up a commission to investigate theories that Bolívar was the victim of an assassination. On several occasions, Chavez has claimed that Bolívar was in fact poisoned by "New Granada traitors". In April 2010, infectious diseases specialist Paul Auwaerter studied records of Bolívar's symptoms and concluded that he might have suffered from chronic arsenic poisoning, but that both acute poisoning and murder were unlikely. In July 2010, Bolívar's body was ordered to be exhumed to advance the investigations. In July 2011, international forensics experts released their report claiming that there was no proof of poisoning or other unnatural cause of death.
In 1799, following the early deaths of his father Juan Vicente (died 1786) and his mother Concepción (died 1792), he traveled to Mexico, France, and Spain, at the age of sixteen years, to complete his education. While in Madrid during 1802 and after a two-year courtship, he married María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaiza, who was his only wife. She was related to the aristocratic families of the Marqués del Toro of Caracas and the Marqués de Inicio of Madrid. Eight months after returning to Venezuela with him, she died from yellow fever. Devastated by his sudden loss and after having sworn never to marry again Bolívar returned to Europe in 1804 where interest in politics became the best medicine against his acute depression. Not surprisingly many years later Bolivar would refer to the death of his wife as the turning point of his life. He lived in Napoleonic France for a while and undertook the Grand Tour. During this time in Europe, Bolivar met Alexander von Humboldt in Rome, Humboldt later writing, "I was wrong back then, when I judged him a puerile man, incapable of realizing so grand an ambition.":64 Manuela Sáenz was his mistress in later life during his presidency in South America.
Descriptions of Bolívar
Ducoudray Holstein's description of Bolívar
In his Memoirs of Simon Bolivar, Henri La Fayette Villaume Ducoudray Holstein - who himself has been called a "not-always-reliable and never impartial witness" ) - described the young Bolivar as he was attempting to seize power in Venezuela and Bolivia in 1814-1816 .
Ducoudray Holstein joined Bolivar and served on his staff as officer and Bolivar's confident during this period. He describes Bolivar as a coward who repeatedly abandoned his military commission in front of enemy, and also as a great lover of women, being accompanied at all times by 2 or more of his mistresses during the military operations. He would not hesitate to stop the fleet transporting the whole army and bound for Margarita Island during 2 days in order to wait for his mistress to join his ship.
According to Ducoudray Holstein Bolivar behaved essentially as an opportunist preferring intrigues and secret manipulation to open fight. He was also incompetent in military matters, systematically avoiding any risks and permanently anxious for his own safety.
In Diario de Bucaramanga, a publication by the Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information, Bolivar's opinion of Ducoudray is presented when Louis Peru de Lacroix asked who had been Bolivar's aides-de-camp since he had been general, he mentioned Charles Eloi Demarquet and Ducoudray; Bolivar confirmed the first but denied the second, saying that he had met him in 1815 and accepted his services, even admitting him to his General Staff, but "I never trusted him enough to make him my aide de camp; to the contrary I had a very unfavorable idea of his person and his services", and that Ducoudray only stayed briefly with him and that his departure had been a "real pleasure".
Karl Marx's description of Bolívar
In an unsympathetic biography titled Bolivar y Ponte, Simon published in the New American Cyclopedia, Karl Marx criticized much of Bolívar's life. Marx begins saying that Bolívar was born to a family of "creole nobility in Venezuela" and that similar to the "custom of wealthy Americans of those times, at the early age of 14 he was sent to Europe". Throughout Marx's piece, he explains how Bolívar abandoned his troops multiple times as well. Marx also explains how Bolívar had to be persuaded by his cousin Ribas to return to fight against the Spanish after staying at Cartagena. Marx then explains that after arriving in Caracas in 1813, Bolívar's "dictatorship soon proved a military anarchy, leaving the most important affairs in the hands of favorites, who squandered the finances of the country, and then resorted to odious means in order to restore them". At the conclusion of the biography, Marx uses Ducoudray Holstein's description of Bolívar.
According to Beddow and Thibodeaux, Marx called Bolívar a "falsifier, deserter, conspirator, liar, coward, and looter" stating that Marx dismissed Bolívar as a "false liberator who merely sought to preserve the power of the old Creole nobility which he belonged".
Bolívar had no children, possibly because of infertility caused by having contracted measles and mumps as a child. His closest living relatives descend from his sisters and brother. One of his sisters died in infancy. 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 Simón in the battle of La Hogaza on 2 December 1817. Benigna had two marriages, the first to Pedro Briceño Méndez and the second to Pedro Amestoy. Their great-grandchildren, Bolívar's closest living relatives, Pedro, and Eduardo Mendoza Goiticoa lived in Caracas, as of 2009. The family still lives in Caracas today.
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 executrix of his will. She retired to Bolívar's estate in Macarao, 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. Bolívar provided for the children and their mother 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 Virginia. In his long life, Fernando 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.
Simón Bolívar was an admirer of both the American and the French Revolutions.:35,52–53 Bolivar even enrolled his nephew, Fernando Bolivar, in a private school in Philadelphia, Germantown Academy, and paid for his education, including attendance at Thomas Jefferson' University of Virginia.:71–72, 369 Bolívar differed, however, 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, despite coming from an area of Spanish America, that relied heavily on slave labor. Second, while he was an admirer of the American independence, he did not believe that its governmental system could work in Latin America. Thus, he claimed that the governance of heterogeneous societies like Venezuela "will require an infinitely firm hand."
Bolívar felt that the US had been established in land especially fertile for democracy. By contrast, he referred to Spanish America as having been subject to the "triple yoke of ignorance, tyranny, and vice.":224 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 Bolívar blamed the fall of the first republic on his subordinates trying to imitate "some ethereal republic" and in the process, not paying attention to the gritty political reality of South America.
Among the books accompanying him as he traveled were, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, Voltaire's Letters, and when he was writing 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 intended to establish a lifelong presidency and a hereditary senate, essentially recreating the British unwritten constitution, as it existed at the time, without formally establishing a monarchy.
Regarding his immigration policy for Colombia, he viewed the immigration of North-Americans and Europeans (except for the Spanish, who were expelled) as necessary to improve the country's economy, arts, and sciences, following the steps of the Latin-American criollo elites, who accepted without question many of the evolutionist, social, and racial theories of their time.
Similarly to some others in the history of American Independence (George Washington, Miguel Hidalgo, José de San Martín, Bernardo O'Higgins and Francisco de Miranda), Simón Bolívar was a Freemason. He was initiated in 1803 in the Masonic Lodge Lautaro which operated in Cadiz, Spain. 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. During his time in London, he frequented "The Great American Reunion" lodge in London, founded by Francisco de Miranda. In April 1824, Simón Bolívar was given the 33rd degree of Inspector General Honorary.
Due to the historical relevance of Bolivar as a key element during the process of independence in Hispanic America, his memory has been strongly attached to sentiments of nationalism and patriotism, being a recurrent theme of rhetoric in politics, especially in Venzuela. For instance, the nationalist government led by Marcos Pérez Jiménez and the left-wing political movement led by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela both prominently utilize the memory, image, and written legacy of Bolívar an important part of their political messages and propaganda. Since the image of Bolívar became an important part to the national identities of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, his mantle is often claimed by Hispanic American politicians all across the political spectrum.
Monuments and physical legacy
The nations of Bolivia and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Venezuela), and their respective currencies (the Bolivian boliviano and the Venezuelan bolívar) are all named after Bolivar. Additionally, most cities and towns in Venezuela are built around a main square known as Plaza Bolívar, as is the case with Bogotá. In this example, most governmental buildings and public structures are located on or around the plaza, including the National Capitol and the Palace of Justice. Busts and statues in his memory can be found around the world, including in the capital cities of Quito, Lima, Washington, D.C., Algiers, Paris, Ottawa, London, Bucharest, Havana, Ankara, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Prague, New Delhi, Port-au-Prince, Santo Domingo, Paramaribo, Sucre, Buenos Aires, San José, etc.
Outside of Latin America, the variety of monuments to Simon Bolivar are a continuing testament to his legacy. Many cities in Spain, especially in the Basque Country have constructed monuments to Bolivar, including a large monument in Bilbao and a comprehensive Venezuelan government-funded museum in Bolivar, his ancestral hometown. An imposing bronze equestrian statue of Simon Bolivar at the entrance to Central Park at the Avenue of the Americas in New York also celebrates Bolivar's contributions to Latin America.
Monuments to Bolivar's military legacy also comprise one of Venezuelan Navy's sail training barques, which is named after him, and the USS Simon Bolivar (SSBN-641), a Benjamin Franklin-class fleet ballistic missile submarine which served with the U.S. Navy between 1965 and 1995.
In Popular Culture
Bolivar's life was the basis of the 2013 film Libertador, starring Edgar Ramirez and directed by Alberto Arvelo.
- Bolivarian Revolution
- General Louis Peru de Lacroix, a biographer of Bolivar who served as one of his generals
- Gabriel García Márquez's novel The General in His Labyrinth (1989), a fictionalized account of Bolívar's last days
- National Pantheon of Venezuela
- Toussaint Louverture
- Miguel Hidalgo
- Francisco de Miranda
- Jose de San Martin
- Alexandre Pétion
- Simón Bolívar (Talacca), Houston, Texas
- "Por las venas del libertador corría sangre guanche, en efecto, su abuela materna, doña Francisca Blanco de Herrera, descendía de san martines, era nieta de Juana Gutiérrez, de "nación guanche", y procedía además de otras familias canarias establecidas en Venezuela, tales como las de Blanco, Ponte, Herrera, Saavedra, Peraza, Ascanio y Guerra" ("Through the Liberator's veins ran Guanche blood. In fact his maternal grandmother, Francisca Blanco de Herrera, was a descendant of the original Canarian people, as she was the granddaughter of Juana Gutiérrez, of "the Guanche nation", and also came from other Canarian families established in Venezuela, such as Blanco, Ponte, Herrera, Saavedra, Peraza, Ascanio and Guerra. "). Hernández García, Julio: Book "Canarias – América: El orgullo de ser canario en América" (Canarias – America: The pride of being a Canario in America). First edition, 1989. Historia Popular de Canarias (Popular History of the Canary Islands).
- Arismendi Posada 1983, p. 9.
- ed, Thomas Riggs, (2013). The literature of propaganda. Detroit [u.a.]: St. James Press. pp. 153–155. ISBN 9781558628595.
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- Masur 1969, pp. 21–22.
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- Arana, M., 2013, Bolivar, New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9781439110195
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- Lynch 2007, p. 16.
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- Masur (1969), 98-102; and Lynch, Bolívar: A Life, 60-63.
- Bushnell, David. The Liberator, Simón Bolívar. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970. Print.
- Simón Bolívar has been indirectly saved his French friend Benoît Chassériau who 10 December 1815 a few hours before the assassination attempt, visited him and gave him money to seek alternative accommodation. Thus, the Liberator left the room where José Antonio Páez had slept for several nights and depended on the guesthouse Rafael Pisce at the corner of Prince and White streets. The same night, Pio the servant of Bolivar and Paez plunged his murderous knife into the neck of Captain Felix Amestoy, thinking it was the Liberator. References: 1) in ‘Bolívar y los emigrados patriotas en el Caribe (Trinidad, Curazao, San Thomas, Jamaica, Haití)’ - By Paul Verna – Edition INCE, 1983; 2) in ‘Simón Bolívar: Ensayo de interpretación biográfica a través de sus documentos’ - By Tomás Polanco Alcántara - Edition Academia Nacional de la Historia, 1994 - Page 505; 3) in ‘Petión y Bolívar: una etapa decisiva en la emancipación de Hispanoamérica, 1790-1830’ - Colección Bicentenario - By Paul Verna - Ediciones de la Presidencia de la República, 1980 - Page 131
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- 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[dead link].
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- Bushnell & Langley 2008, p. 136.
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Find more about
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|Media from Commons|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
- Simón Bolívar on In Our Time at the BBC. (listen now)
- The Life of Simón Bolívar
- The Louverture Project: Simón Bolívar – Information about the support Bolívar received from Haiti.
- In Profile: Simón Bolívar – The Liberator
- About the surname Bolíbar/Bolívar, in Spanish
- Paternal ancestors of the Liberator, in Spanish
- Coats of arms of the Bolíbars, in Spanish
- Maternal ancestors of the Liberator (Palacios family), in Spanish
- (Spanish) Glrbv.org[dead link]: Biography
- Beside Bolivar: The Edecán Demarquet – About C. E. Demarquet, one of Bolívar's principal aides
- "Building a New History by Exhuming Bolívar" Simon Romero, The New York Times, 3 August 2010
- on YouTube Lecture by Marie Arana, The John W. Kluge Center, The Library of Congress, 6 June 2013
- Simón Bolívar at Find a Grave