Short Biography of Simon Bolivar

Bolivar believed that South America had to follow its own model of independence and governance. Political institutions in countries in South America had not been given the opportunity to develop and mature because of Spanish hegemonism.

In order to progress towards independence and electoral democracy, South America should “not adopt the best system of government, but the one that is most likely to succeed.”

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Thus, along with Jose de San Martin, Bolivar decided to fight for independence, San Martin in the south, and Bolivar in the north. In 1817 Simon Bolivar had returned to Venezuela to again fight for its independence.

And starting in the west, took the strategic town of Angostura. This time in Venezuela, Bolivar widened his ethnic base by providing incentives to the indigenous peoples and the black slaves.

He gained the assistance of the loaners, who had been conducting a guerrilla war against the royalists. One of his main achievements was the victory at Boyaca which enabled him to occupy Bogota by 1819.

This in turn liberated New Granada, and in December the independence of all the provinces of the viceroyalty was declared and Gran Colombia (which encompasses present-day Venezuela Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador) was created with Simon Bolivar as president.

In June 1821, Bolivar won the battle of Carabobo, and when Caracas fell a few days later, Venezuela was finally completely free from Spanish rule. Bolivar next went south and conquer the province of Quito. On 27 July 1822, Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin met at the city of Guayaquil.

Bolivar came in as the triumphant leader of a series of resounding military victories and the head of the vast new Gran (Greater) Colombia. San Martin on the other hand was struggling with his campaign in Peru and his control in Chile was uncertain. Bolivar was in a far superior position, so after their secret discussions, San Martin left South America altogether and went to Europe.

Bolivar’s political victory over San Martin signified the demise of monarchism as an option for a post-independence settlement. Bolivar desired an even larger union, which would include Chile, Bolivia and Peru.

However, deep divisions between Venezuelans and Colombians and the differences between centralists and federalists made it an extremely daunting task. He tried to overcome these problems by declaring a dictatorship in 1825 but eventually lost his prestige and died by 1830.

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