Sunday, 13 March 2011

Simon Bolivar

NAME Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco. You will more likely know him as Simón Bolívar.

WHAT FAMOUS FOR Played a key role in Hispanic America's successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire.

BIRTH b July 24, 1783, Caracas, Venezuela

FAMILY BACKGROUND Simon's 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.

CHILDHOOD Simon's nanny, Hipólita gave young Simon all the affection he needed and indulged him in all his wishes and desires.

EDUCATION Not a simple Simon - Bolívar was educated by private tutors in Caracas and also in Spain, which he 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.

CAREER RECORD 1804 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.
1807 Returned to Venezuela.
1810 After the Spanish governor is deprived of office Bolívar travels to London as representative of the Venezuelan government to attempt to secure British support for revolt against Spanish occupation.
1813 After invading Venezuela successfully, Bolívar is proclaimed El Libertador
1814 Bolívar entered Bogota, Columbia recapturing the city from the dissenting republican forces of Cundinamarca.
1815, After a number of political and military disputes with the government of Cartagena, Bolívar flees to Jamaica, then onto Haiti, where he was granted sanctuary and protection.
1817 With Haitian soldiers and vital material support (on the condition that he abolish slavery), Bolívar lands in Venezuela. He sets up provisional government in Venezuela & is elected president.
1819 Appointed himself President of Greater Colombia.
1824 Proclaimed himself Emperor of Peru.
1825 The Republic of Bolivia is created at the Congress of Upper Peru. Bolívar is thus one of the few men to have a country named after him.
1830 Abdicated as President of Colombia. "America" Bolívar said on his deathbed, " is ungovernable. Those who have served the revolution, have ploughed the sea."

APPEARANCE Long, thin face, long sideburns, dark hair. Like all good revolutionaries Bolívar had a beard.

FAMILY & OTHER AFFAIRS 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.

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 Quto, Ecudaor. 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.

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

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

PHILOSOPHY & RELIGION Bolívar was influenced by Napoleon, Rousseau and the French and American Revolutions. He dreamt of creating one nation from Mexico to Cape Horn. His Letter From Jamaica outlined a continent of constitution Republics based on England’s Houses of Lords and Commons. The president (him of course!) would serve for life.
Religion-wise Bolívar was brought up in the Catholic Church but got himself excommunicated and became an atheist.
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.

SCANDAL Bolívar was prevented from fulfilling his dream of one single South American state by the powerful families whose dreams he threatened.
If one is being critical you could say that having destroyed Spanish rule Bolívar failed to replace it with an adequate form of government and was forced into dictatorship.

MILITARY RECORD During his time in Europe Bolívar was influenced by the revolutionary fervour of the time and vowed to free Venezuela. He fought over 200 battles in his military career.
1810 Bolívar fought under the command of Francisco de Miranda who led the revolt against the Spanish royalists.
1813 Bolívar invaded Venezuela, he captured Caracas, where he established a dictatorship.
1814 Bolívar commanded a force for the United Provinces and entered Bogota, Columbia, recapturing the city from the dissenting republican forces of Cuninamarca.
1815 Withdrew to Jamaica and Haiti. Bolívar raided Spanish American coasts and rallied the insurgents in Haiti proclaiming it a republic.
1817 Bolívar again invaded Venezuela, this time more successfully. He established a revolutionary government at Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar).
1818 Secured independence for Chile & Venezuela
1819 Defeated Spanish in Colombia.
1821 Bolívar countered a resurgence of Spanish royalist activity by leading his army to an overwhelming victory near Carabobo, thus ensuring Venezuelan independence.
1822 Liberated Ecuador. New republic of Colombia now completely independent of Spain
1823 Bolívar was invited to lead Peruvian struggle. Did he accept? Do chicken have lips?
1824 Final victory won and framed constitution
1825 Independence of Upper Peru proclaimed.

TRAVEL Bolívar travelled widely in Europe in his younger days, which inspired him to liberate his country from Spain. He also saw a lot of West Indies and South America

DEATH Died a disillusioned & hated man at a friend’s estate in Columbia, having failed to pacify contending factions in Columbia.
Bolívar resigned his presidency on April 27, 1830, intending to leave the country for exile in Europe or the Caribbean. However he died a disillusioned man on December 17, 1830, at a friend’s estate in Columbia after a painful battle with tubercolis. 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.

APPEARANCES IN MEDIA 1. French composer Darius Milhaud wrote an opera in 1943 "Bolívar," based on his life.
2. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 1991 novel, The General In His Labyrinth, describes the last four months of Bolívar’s life.

ACHIEVEMENTS 1. Freed much of South America from Spanish occupation. Thus creating Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador from Spain
2. Bolivia (formerly Upper Peru ) is named thus in Bolívar’s honour.
3. In Venezuela & Bolivia Bolívar’s birthday is a national holiday.
4. Proclaimed the liberty of slaves in Venezuela.

Sources Wikipedia and my knowledge.

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