A short course about Simón Bolívar
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte-Andrade y Blanco (24 July 1783 – 17 December 1830), generally known as Simón Bolívar and also colloquially as El Libertador, or the Liberator, was a Venezuelan military and political leader who led what are currently the countries of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama to independence from the Spanish Empire.
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Bolivia , officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia (Spanish: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia), is a landlocked country located in western-central South America.
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The constitutional capital is Sucre, while the seat of government and executive capital is La Paz. The largest city and principal industrial center is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, located on the Llanos Orientales (tropical lowlands), a mostly flat region in the east of the country.
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Before Spanish colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was part of the Inca Empire, while the northern and eastern lowlands were inhabited by independent tribes.
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Spanish conquistadors arriving from Cuzco and Asunción took control of the region in the 16th century.
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During the Spanish colonial period Bolivia was administered by the Royal Audiencia of Charcas. Spain built its empire in large part upon the silver that was extracted from Bolivia's mines.
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After the first call for independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar.
Bolívar was born into a wealthy family and as was common for the heirs of upper-class families in his day, was sent to be educated abroad at a young age, arriving in Spain when he was 16 and later moving to France.
While in Europe he was introduced to the ideas of the Enlightenment, which later motivated him to overthrow the reigning Spanish in colonial South America.
Taking advantage of the disorder in Spain prompted by the Peninsular War, Bolívar began his campaign for independence in 1808.
The campaign for the independence of New Granada was consolidated with the victory at the Battle of Boyacá on 7 August 1819.
He established an organized national congress within three years. Despite a number of hindrances, including the arrival of an unprecedentedly large Spanish expeditionary force, the revolutionaries eventually prevailed, culminating in the patriot victory at the Battle of Carabobo in 1821, which effectively made Venezuela an independent country.
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The Battle of Carabobo, on 24 June 1821, was fought between independence fighters, led by Venezuelan General Simón Bolívar, and the Royalist forces, led by Spanish Field Marshal Miguel de la Torre.
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Bolívar's decisive victory at Carabobo led to the independence of Venezuela and establishment of the Republic of Gran Colombia.
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 campaigns, he ousted Spanish rulers from Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, the last of which was named after him.
He was simultaneously president of Gran Colombia (present-day Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador), Peru, and Bolivia, but soon after, his second-in-command, Antonio José de Sucre, was appointed president of Bolivia.
Bolívar aimed at a strong and united Spanish America able to cope not only with the threats emanating from Spain and the European Holy Alliance but also with the emerging power of the United States.
At the peak of his power, Bolívar ruled over a vast territory from the Argentine border to the Caribbean Sea.
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Antonio José de Sucre y Alcalá (1795–1830), known as "Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho", was a Venezuelan independence leader who served as the fourth President of Peru and as President of Bolivia. Sucre was one of Simón Bolívar's closest friends, generals and statesmen.
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Gran Colombia ("Greater Colombia") is the name historians use to refer to the state, then known simply as Colombia, that encompassed much of northern South America and part of southern Central America from 1819 to 1831.
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The state included the territories of present-day Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela, and parts of northern Peru and northwestern Brazil.
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The term Gran Colombia is used historiographically to distinguish it from the current Republic of Colombia, which is also the official name of the former state.
Bolívar fought 100 battles, of which 79 were important ones, and during his campaigns rode on horseback 70,000 kilometers, which is 10 times more than Hannibal, three times more than Napoleon, and twice as much as Alexander the Great.
Bolívar is viewed as a national icon in much of modern South America, and is considered one of the great heroes of the Hispanic independence movements of the early 19th century, along with José de San Martín, Francisco de Miranda and others.
Towards the end of his life, Bolívar despaired of the situation in his native region, with the famous quote "all who served the revolution have plowed the sea".
In an address to the Constituent Congress of the Republic of Colombia, Bolívar stated "Fellow citizens! I blush to say this: Independence is the only benefit we have acquired, to the detriment of all the rest."
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