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Simón Bolívar

©James Bennett Dream by SV Bosak

South American statesman and military leader, member of the Club of Dreamers (Dream by Susan V. Bosak).

Bolívar brought political independence to six present-day nations. Called "The Liberator," he is among the greatest military figures of South America.

At the age of 18, Bolívar married María Teresa del Toro. Shortly after returning to Venezuela, in 1803, María Teresa died of yellow fever. Her death greatly affected Bolívar and he vowed never to marry again – a vow he kept for the rest of his life. Bolívar once declared that had his wife not died, he might have led a quiet, sedentary life.

After losing his wife, Bolívar returned to Europe. While in Italy, Bolívar made his famous vow atop Mount Aventin of Rome to never rest until South America was free.

Over the years, Bolívar engaged in a number of diplomatic missions and battles. The Battle of Boyaca of August 7, 1819, resulted in a great victory for Bolívar and the army of the revolution. That year, Bolívar created the Angostura Congress which founded the Republic of Colombia (a federation of present-day Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador). Bolívar was named President. Upper Peru was made a separate country and named Bolivia in his honor.

But by 1827, due to personal rivalries among the generals of the revolution, civil wars exploded which destroyed the South American unity for which Bolívar had fought. In poor health and disillusioned, he resigned the presidency in 1830. Shortly thereafter, he died of tuberculosis.

Bolívar died poor and bitterly hated. Yet, it wasn't long before South Americans began to pay tribute to the hero of their independence. Today, monumental statues of Bolívar adorn the central plazas of cities and towns throughout the Andean region.

Said Simón Bolívar:

"The first duty of a government is to give education to the people."

"Out of the most secure things, the most secure is to doubt."

"Judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment."

Recommended Reading:

Simón Bolívar: South American Liberator by Carol Greene. Children's Press, 1989. A look at the life of the South American general and revolutionary some have called the "George Washington of South America."

Simón Bolívar by Dennis Wepman. Chelsea House, 1985. A biography appropriate for older readers.

© SV Bosak, www.legacyproject.org

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