|Birth Day:||July 24, 1783|
|Death Date:||Dec 17, 1830 (age 47)|
|Birth Place:||Caracas, Venezuela|
As per our current Database, Simon Bolivar died on Dec 17, 1830 (age 47).
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He was raised partially by a slave owned by his aristocratic family.
Simón Bolívar was born in a house in Caracas, Captaincy General of Venezuela, on 24 July 1783. He was baptized as Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios. His mother was María de la Concepción Palacios y Blanco, and his father was Colonel 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.
In 1799, following the early deaths of his father Juan Vicente (dead since 1786) and his mother Concepción (who died in 1792), Bolívar traveled to Mexico, France, and Spain, at the age of 16 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 to be his only wife. She was related to the aristocratic families of the marquis del Toro of Caracas and the marquis de Inicio of Madrid.
When Bolívar was fourteen, Don Simón Rodríguez was forced to leave the country after being accused of involvement in a conspiracy against the Spanish government in Caracas. Bolívar then entered the military academy of the Milicias de Aragua. In 1800, he was sent to Spain to follow his military studies in Madrid, where he remained until 1802. Back in Europe in 1804, he lived in France and traveled to different countries. While in Milan, Bolívar witnessed the coronation of Napoleon as King of Italy (a kingdom in personal union with France in modern northern Italy), an event that left a profound impression on him. Even if he disagreed with the crowning, he was highly sensitive to the popular veneration inspired by the hero.
Eight months after returning to Venezuela with him, she died from yellow fever on 22 January 1803. Bolívar was so devastated by this loss that his relatives feared for his life. He swore never to marry again, a promise he kept. Many years later Bolívar would refer to the death of his wife as the turning point of his life. Indeed, in 1828, he told Luis Perú de Lacroix the following words:
Similarly to some others in the history of American Independence (George Washington, Miguel Hidalgo, José de San Martín, Bernardo O'Higgins, Francisco de Paula Santander, Antonio Nariño, and Francisco de Miranda), Simón Bolívar was a Freemason. He was initiated in 1803 in the Masonic Lodge Lautaro, which operated in Cádiz, 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.
Not surprisingly, Spanish historian Salvador de Madariaga refers to the death of Bolivar's wife as one of the key moments in Hispanic America's history. In 1804, he traveled again to Europe in an attempt to ease his pain and began falling into a dissolute life. It was then that he met again with his old teacher Simón Rodríguez in Paris, who little by little was able to transform his acute depression into a sense of commitment towards a greater cause: the independence of Venezuela. He lived in Napoleonic France for a while and undertook the Grand Tour. During this time in Europe, Bolívar met the intellectual explorer, Alexander von Humboldt in Rome. Humboldt later wrote: "I was wrong back then, when I judged him a puerile man, incapable of realizing so grand an ambition."
Bolívar returned to Venezuela in 1807. After a coup on 19 April 1810, Venezuela achieved de facto independence when the Supreme Junta of Caracas was established and the colonial administrators were deposed. The Supreme Junta sent a delegation to Great Britain to get British recognition and aid. This delegation presided by Bolívar also included two future Venezuelan notables Andrés Bello and Luis López Méndez. The trio met with Francisco de Miranda and persuaded him to return to his native land.
In 1811, a delegation from the Supreme Junta, also including Bolívar, and a crowd of commoners enthusiastically received Miranda in La Guaira. During the insurgence war conducted by Miranda, Bolívar was promoted to colonel and was made commandant of Puerto Cabello the following year, 1812. As Royalist Frigate Captain Domingo de Monteverde was advancing into republican territory from the west, Bolívar lost control of San Felipe Castle along with its ammunition stores on 30 June 1812. Bolívar then retreated to his estate in San Mateo.
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.
Miranda saw the republican cause as lost and signed a capitulation agreement with Monteverde on 25 July, an action that Bolívar and other revolutionary officers deemed treasonous. In one of Bolívar's most morally dubious acts, he and others arrested Miranda and handed him over to the Spanish Royal Army at the port of La Guaira. For his apparent services to the Royalist cause, Monteverde granted Bolívar a passport, and Bolívar left for Curaçao on 27 August. It must be said, though, that Bolívar protested to the Spanish authorities about the reasons why he handled Miranda, insisting that he was not lending a service to the Crown but punishing a defector. 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 Admirable Campaign. On 24 May, Bolívar entered Mérida, where he was proclaimed El Libertador ("The Liberator"). This was followed by the occupation of Trujillo on 9 June. Six days later, and as a result of Spanish massacres on independence supporters, Bolívar 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, establishing the Second Republic of Venezuela. The following year, because of the rebellion of José Tomás Boves and the fall of the republic, Bolívar returned to New Granada, where he commanded a force for the United Provinces.
His forces entered Bogotá in 1814 and recaptured the city from the dissenting republican forces of Cundinamarca. Bolívar intended to march into Cartagena and enlist the aid of local forces in order to capture the Royalist town of Santa Marta. In 1815, however, after a number of political and military disputes with the government of Cartagena, Bolívar fled to Jamaica, where he was denied support. After an assassination attempt in Jamaica, he fled to Haiti, where he was granted protection. He befriended Alexandre Pétion, the president of the recently independent southern republic (as opposed to the Kingdom of Haiti in the north), and petitioned him for aid. He provided the South American leader with a multitude of provisions consisting of ships, men and weapons; only demanding in return that Bolívar promise to abolish slavery in any of the lands he took back from Spain. The pledge would indeed be upheld, and the abolition of slavery in the liberated territories would be regarded as one Bolívar's main achievements.
In the Diario de Bucaramanga, Bolívar's opinion of Ducoudray is presented when Louis Peru de Lacroix asked who had been Bolívar's aides-de-camp since he had been general; he mentioned Charles Eloi Demarquet and Ducoudray. Bolívar 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's departure after only a brief stay had been a "real pleasure."
In 1816, with Haitian soldiers and vital material support, Bolívar landed in Venezuela and fulfilled his promise to Pétion to free Spanish America's slaves on 2 June 1816.
In July 1817, on a second expedition, he captured Angostura 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 (es).
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.
On 15 February 1819, Bolívar was able to open the Venezuelan Second National Congress in Angostura, in which he was elected president and Francisco Antonio Zea was elected vice president. Bolívar then decided that he would first fight for the independence of New Granada, to gain resources of the viceroyalty, intending later to consolidate the independence of Venezuela.
The campaign for the independence of New Granada, which included the crossing of the Andes mountain range, one of history's great military feats, was consolidated with the victory at the Battle of Boyacá on 7 August 1819. Bolívar returned to Angostura, when congress passed a law forming a greater Republic of Colombia on 17 December, making Bolívar president and Zea vice president, with Francisco de Paula Santander vice president on the New Granada side, and Juan Germán Roscio vice president on the Venezuela side.
Morillo was left in control of Caracas and the coastal highlands. After the restoration of the Cádiz Constitution, Morillo ratified two treaties with Bolívar on 25 November 1820, calling for a six-month armistice and recognizing Bolívar as president of the republic. Bolívar and Morillo met in San Fernando de Apure on 27 November, after which Morillo left Venezuela for Spain, leaving La Torre in command.
From his newly consolidated base of power, Bolívar launched outright independence campaigns in Venezuela and Ecuador. These campaigns concluded with the victory at the Battle of Carabobo, after which Bolívar triumphantly entered Caracas on 29 June 1821. On 7 September 1821, Gran Colombia (a state covering much of modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela) was created, with Bolívar as president and Santander as vice president.
Bolívar followed with the Battle of Bombona and the Battle of Pichincha, after which he entered Quito on 16 June 1822. On 26 and 27 July 1822, Bolívar held the Guayaquil Conference with the Argentine General José de San Martín, who had received the title of "Protector of Peruvian Freedom" in August 1821 after partially liberating Peru from the Spanish. Thereafter, Bolívar took over the task of fully liberating Peru.
Bolívar and Manuela met in Quito on 22 June 1822 and they began a long-term affair. The relationship was controversial at the time, because Manuela was already married to James Thorne, but they became estranged in 1822 due to irreconcilable differences. The emotional ties between Manuela and Bolívar were strong, and Manuela attempted suicide when she received the news of Bolívar's death.
The Peruvian congress named Bolívar dictator of Peru on 10 February 1824, which allowed him 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.
Writing to United States Secretary of State John Quincy Adams in 1824, United States Consul in Peru William Tudor stated:
Even though Bolívar condemned the corrupt practices of the Spanish, he ordered some churches stripped of their decorations. On 19 March 1824, José Gabriel Pérez wrote to Antonio José de Sucre about the orders given to him by Bolívar; Pérez talked about "all the ordinary and extraordinary means" that should be applied to assure the subsistence of the patriot army. Indeed, Pérez said that Bolívar issued instructions to take from churches "all golden and silver jewels" in order to coin them and pay war expenditures. Days later, Bolívar himself said to Sucre that there would be a complete lack of resources unless severe actions were taken against "the jewels of the churches, everywhere".
On 6 August 1825, at the Congress of Upper Peru, the "Republic of Bolivia" was created. Bolívar is thus one of the few people to have a country named after him. Bolívar returned to Caracas on 12 January 1827, and then back to Bogotá.
Bolívar had great difficulties maintaining control over the vast Gran Colombia. In 1826, internal divisions 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.
Two months after the failure of this congress to write a new constitution, Bolívar was declared president-liberator in Colombia's "Organic Decree". He considered this a temporary measure, as a means to reestablish his authority and save the republic, although it increased dissatisfaction and anger among his political opponents. An assassination attempt on 25 September 1828 failed (in Spanish it is indeed known as the Noche Septembrina), thanks to the help of his lover, Manuela Sáenz. Bolívar afterward described Manuela as "Liberatrix of the Liberator". Dissent continued, and uprisings occurred in New Granada, Venezuela, and Ecuador during the next two years.
After, Bolivar continued to govern in a rarefied environment, cornered by fractional disputes. Uprisings occurred in New Granada, Venezuela, and Ecuador during the following two years. The separatists accused him of betraying republican principles and of wanting to establish a permanent dictatorship. Gran Colombia declared war against Peru when president General La Mar invaded Guayaquil. He was later defeated by Marshall Antonio José de Sucre in the Battle of the Portete de Tarqui, 27 February 1829. Sucre was killed on 4 June 1830. General Juan José Flores wanted to separate the southern departments (Quito, Guayaquil, and Azuay), known as the District of Ecuador, from Gran Colombia to form an independent country and become its first President. Venezuela was proclaimed independent on 13 January 1830 and José Antonio Páez maintained the presidency of that country, banishing Bolivar.
On 20 January 1830, as his dream fell apart, Bolívar delivered his final address to the nation, announcing that he would be stepping down from the presidency of Gran Colombia. In his speech, a distraught Bolívar urged the people to maintain the union and to be wary of the intentions of those who advocated for separation. (At the time, "Colombians" referred to the people of Gran Colombia (Venezuela, New Granada, and Ecuador), not modern-day Colombia):
José María Obando, the first President of the Republic of New Granada (that succeeded the Gran Colombia), had been directly linked to the assassination of Antonio José de Sucre in 1830. Sucre was regarded by some as a political threat because of his popularity after he led a resounding patriot victory at the Battle of Ayacucho, ending the war against the Spanish Empire in South America. Bolívar also considered him his direct successor and had attempted to make him vice president of Gran Colombia after Francisco de Paula Santander was exiled in 1828.
Saying that "all who served the revolution have plowed the sea", Bolívar finally resigned the presidency on 27 April 1830, intending to leave the country for exile in Europe. He had already sent several crates containing his belongings and writings 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.
Bolívar's 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 they were buried in the cathedral of Caracas together with the remains of his wife and parents. In 1876, he was moved to a monument set up for his interment at 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 later-years lover, Manuela Sáenz, were also interred in Venezuela's National Pantheon.
To honor Bolivar's efforts to help Venezuela during its independence movement, the city of Angostura was renamed to Ciudad Bolivar in 1846.
Bolívar has been depicted in opera, literature, film, and other media, and continues to be a part of the popular culture in many countries. In 1883, to celebrate 100 years since his birth, the Italian musician Nicolò Gabrielli composed the triumphal march Simón Bolívar and dedicated it to then president of Venezuela Antonio Guzmán Blanco. In 1943 Darius Milhaud composed the opera Bolívar. He is also the central character in Gabriel García Márquez's 1989 novel The General in His Labyrinth, in which he is portrayed in a less heroic but more humane manner than in most other parts of his legacy. In 1969, Maximilian Schell played the role of Simón Bolívar in the film of the same name by director Alessandro Blasetti, which also featured actress Rosanna Schiaffino. Bolívar's life was also the basis of the 2013 film Libertador, starring Édgar Ramírez and directed by Alberto Arvelo. In an episode of the Spanish TV series The Ministry of Time, "Tiempo de ilustrados (Time of the Enlightened)", the time agents help him win the heart of his future wife, as this was considered fundamental for Bolívar to fulfil his destiny. Later in the second season of the series the time agents will find him again in 1828 (two years before his death) to avoid his murder, planned by Santander's followers. As of 2019, a Netflix series has been released depicting Bolívar's life and the major events surrounding it. The Netflix series is a Colombian production with Spanish as the main language.
Despite sometimes living in the same South American cities (such as Bogotá, Quito and Lima), Bolívar and Manuela did not always have a face-to-face relationship. This romance was clear in their letters, but few of them have survived. Most of her letters were destroyed after Manuela's death. Contrary to the arguments exposed by Heinz Dieterich, Carlos Álvarez Saá, and a book edited by Fundación Editorial El Perro y la Rana publishing house in 2007, several letters attributed to both Bolívar and Manuela are intentional forgeries.
In 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, Chávez 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 there was no proof of poisoning or any other unnatural cause of death.
Currently, Simon Bolivar is 238 years, 4 months and 14 days old. Simon Bolivar will celebrate 239th birthday on a Sunday 24th of July 2022.
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