Simon Bolivar
Michael D. Robbins © 2003 


Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
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Simon Bolivar
Liberator of South America

(1783-1830) July 24, 1783, Caracas, Venezuela, 10:00 PM, LMT. (Source: recorded) Died of tuberculosis, December 17, 1830, near Santa Marta, Colombia.

If one gives credit to the validity of the Sabian Symbols there is one symbol which is extraordinary evocative and would require a birth from 9:56:04 PM to 9:59:26 PM, because it would read, “A cameo profile of a man in the outline of his country”



(Ascendant, Aries with Mars rising in Aries; MC, Capricorn with Saturn in Capricorn conjunct the MC and Jupiter also in Capricorn; Sun in Leo; Moon in Gemini; Mercury conjunct Uranus in Cancer; Venus in Virgo; Neptune in Libra conjunct DSC; Pluto in Aquarius)



Simon Bolivar was a great South American soldier, statesman and revolutionary who came to be known as “El Libertador” (The Liberator).

In the early part of the nineteenth century he led the revolt against Spanish Rule. After successfully leading eventually revolts in New Granada (Gran Columbia, including Venezuela, Ecuador and Columbia) He became the president (in fact the dictator) of both Columbia and Peru. His over-arching goal was to unite and independent South America into a federation of cooperative countries. While he successfully drove the Spanish from northern South America, the unions he created were fragile and were eventually destroyed from within.

Though his dream of a united South America was not realized, his vision set the tone for great political and social progress in the South American Continent, and he is honored today as South American’s greatest revolutionary and the father of South American independence.

The chart proposed seems reasonably accurate, though may need some fine tuning. Bolivar’s father died when he was three years old, and in that year, the progressed Ascendant had moved into the same degree as rising Mars. As well there were three solar eclipses: one on his Pluto in Aquarius, one on his Sun and one, later on his MC. This is a formidable array of eclipses touching very sensitive points in the chart and more powerful because they are solar eclipses. Such indications are most suitable for the death of a parent.

Sun       SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Jan 30 1786 NS             11:45    10°Aq28' D      
Sun       SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Jul 25 1786 NS              17:46    02°Le26' D      
Sun       SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Dec 21 1786 NS            02:06    29°Sg05' D      

Further when Bolivar’s mother died six years later there was a solar eclipse very close to his Ascendant.

Sun       SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Mar 23 1792 NS            02:57    02°Ar49' D

The second solar eclipse of this nature occurred in the year 1819—the year in which Bolivar conducted one of the most daring and brilliant campaigns in military history, marching his small army through flood-swept planes and through treacherous, icy mountain passes considered by the Spanish as impassible. The audacity of this exploit was extraordinary. The Spanish were taken completely by surprise. The royalist army surrendered to Bolivar.

It was a turning point in the history of northern South America. It is no surprise, then, to find another solar eclipse within a degree of so of the proposed Ascendant and transiting Jupiter hovering in the vicinity of the progressed MC.

Sun       SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Mar 26 1819 NS            08:44    04°Ar30' D      

This same kind of fateful solar eclipse appearing at Bolivar’s Ascendant was repeated in the year of his death in 1830. The Ascendant indicates the direction which the Solar Angel would have the personality follow if the incarnation is to be considered successful. The Solar Angel is a solar Angel, and solar eclipses appear especially related to the will of that guiding Angel as it influences the incarnated life of its personality.

Sun       SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Mar 24 1830 NS            23:38    03°Ar28' D

We know from these three indications, therefore, that we are very close to an accurate astrology chart and may trust the this chart (whether or not it is a degree or two off) for the kinds of indications for which the esoteric astrologer searches—namely those which have to do with soul destiny and its fulfillment.

Simon Bolivar was born in Venezuela.

He traveled around Europe when the effects of the French Revolution were spreading. The power to learn quickly is conferred by the Moon in intelligent Gemini in the third house of mind.  He became inspired (Mars oppose Neptune, Mercury conjunct Uranus) to fight for independence for all South America.

Bolivar became leader of the Venezuelan republicans in 1812. He led a revolt in 1816 and established Venezuela’s independence, although it was not recognized by Spain. In 1819 Bolivar carried the struggle into Columbia, defeated the Spanish and became its first president. He returned to Venezuela, defeated the Spanish at Carabobo in 1821, and captured Caracas. This confirmed Venezuela’s independence. He then went south to help other colonies in revolt. When San Martin resigned as Protector of Peru in 1822, the republicans asked Bolivar to help expel the remaining Spanish forces from the country. This he did, and in 1824 was made “dictator”. (Aries, Leo and Capricorn clearly confer dictatorial powers. We see this in Charlemagne and Bismarck.

In the case of Bolivar and Charlemagne a higher law and idealism are involved.) He moved to Upper Peru the following year and founded a republic, later named Bolivia after him. Having reached the high point of his power as the Liberator of northern South America, he sought to create a League of Hispanic American States, a project which came to a fruition of sorts in 1826. But ambitions between the newly independent countries of South America ran high, and before long (as Bolivar had prophesied) civil war broke out.

It soon became clear that Bolivar’s greater dreams for hemispheric solidarity were not to be fulfilled. Amidst continuing revolts and challenges to his authority (at one point he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt), he finally realized in 1830 that his continuing political presence presented a danger to the internal and external peace of the nations that owed their independence to him.

He planned to seek refuse in Europe, but cancelled his plans when he discovered that his close friend and chosen successor had been assassinated. He retired to the home of a benefactor and died there of tuberculosis. (Transiting Uranus was conjuncting his natal Pluto; there was an eclipse on his SA directed Uranus; transiting Pluto was conjuncting natal Mars; and all this was in the period of a solar eclipse on his Ascendant.)

Bolivar’s chart is extremely powerful for the first ray.

The three signs/constellations transmitting the first ray are all powerfully tenanted. The Sun is found in first ray Leo in the house and Leo and first ray Aries rises, with Mars (exoteric ruler of Aries and expressive of the first ray as well as sixth) rising in Aries, and first ray Saturn (probably its personality ray) culminating in first ray Capricorn (its own sign and in a house in which it is “dignified”).

Mars and Aries conjoined at the Ascendant confer the inspiration to revolt, and the willingness to attempt that which seems impossible. Leo confers abundant authority and magnetism and the ability to centralize control within oneself.

It gave as well a sense of one’s own indispensability, for the idea of “president for life” (historically rather common in South American politics) took root with Bolivar and the constitution he created to ensure his continuing power and control. Capricorn, another first ray sign/constellation (the presence of which is greatly strengthened because Saturn, the exoteric and esoteric ruler of Capricorn is found in its own sign and its own house) conferred an inescapable sense of responsibility and respect for the law—at its best, a higher law—the Law of Freedom.

At its worst, this Saturn in Capricorn position contributed to the authoritarianism for which Bolivar became well known.

We must notice a grand cross (the cross of synthesis) in Bolvar’s chart. Mars in Aries opposes Neptune in Libra, conferring idealism (idealism for a better social order).

Saturn in Capricorn opposes Uranus and Mercury in Cancer, giving the balance between innovation and realism. Further, the cross is representative of the Cardinal Cross—the Cross of will and of spirit. Upon this Cross the three rulers of Aries (Mars, Mercury and Uranus) are to be found.

Mars rising in Aries is obvious in its implications—courage, initiative, the willingness to confront the opposition.

This position gave to Bolivar a readiness to rise in combat and fight relentlessly, as well as great bravery and a willingness to take extraordinary risks.

The real revolutionary impulse, however, comes from the conjunction of Mercury (the esoteric or spiritual ruler of Aries) and Uranus (the hierarchical ruler of Aries) in the sign Cancer, the sign of the “Mother” Revolutionary ideas come through this combination, especially in relation to the “Mother Land”—all of South America—indicated by the fourth house of home. Further, Uranus is exactly counter-parallel to the MC, thus parallel to the IC, adding to Uranus’ revolutionary potential.

Pluto, the planet of death and deep transformation, is found in Aquarius, further emphasizing the radical, revolutionary tendencies.

A few fixed star contacts are of real interest: the Moon parallel fast-moving Alpheratz and Mercury (already conjunct revolutionary Uranus), conjuncting the star of the “Path Finder”, Canopus.

As well there is a very close connection of revolutionary Uranus with the “Central Spiritual Sun”, Alcyone (the planet parallels the star within three minutes of arc). Plus, the IC parallels Alcyone within two minutes of arc. Alcyone is the “Star of the Individual” and deeply connected with the purpose of our entire local cosmo system. It conveys the energies of intelligence in form and shows that Bolivar was preparing a ‘vessel’ for the future.

Simon Bolivar can be seen as the archetype of so many Latin American revolutionaries and dictators who followed him. 

He, however, displayed, for the most part, great wisdom and purity, which is hardly the case for many of his successors. There can be no question of the powerful presence of the first ray of Will and Power—presumably upon the level of the soul. The chart indicates the importance of the sixth, for sixth ray Mars rises in its own sign, conjunct the Ascendant and opposes, almost exactly, sixth ray Neptune.

Clearly he was a man with tremendous powers to inspire, arouse and uplift, as only the sixth ray can. Venus in Virgo, a sign also conferring the sixth ray, adds purity to his motive.

Bolivar’s weaknesses were the obverse of his strengths. As the archetype of the South American dictator, he was often high handed and presumptuous. He was undeniably the liberator, but his sense of his own indispensability was excessive.

He oversaw the  drafting a constitution which made him a life-time president of his new creation, deprived the legislative body of any real power and limited voting rights severely. It was not a prescription for continuing success, and inevitably the fractures in his union began to appear.

It is fascinating to think of Bolivar as a representative of the Shamballa Force.

There is a potent astrological triangle which consists of Aries/Pluto/Shamballa. At the height of Bolivar’s power, when his authority extended from the Caribbean to the Argentine-Bolivian border, transiting Pluto can come to a conjunction of his Aries Ascendant. The Shamballic Will which had driven him had reached its consummation. We remember that Pluto is natally placed in Aquarius, the sign of both revolution and union.

Bolivar was a man of great talent (Sun in Leo, trine the Ascendant, and found in the house of expressed talents—H5), who dreamed of uniting all Spain’s American colonies in a political federation (Jupiter in Capricorn), but his large-minded ambitions were doomed to failure.

Bolivar thought in terms of the entire South American continent whereas the leaders he sought to unite could not see beyond the interests of their own country. It is difficult for more ordinary selfish human beings to hold the breadth of vision of those who see under the influence of the synthesizing light of Shamballa.


Judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.

The United States appear to be destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty.

The Liberator of Venezuela renounces forever and declines irrevocably to accept any office except the post of danger at the head of our soldiers in defense of the salvation of our country."
-Simon Bolivar, at the liberation of Venezuela, refusing to become president. 1813.
(Mars in Aries conjunct Ascendant, square Saturn in Capricorn conjunct MC. Leo Sun opposition Pluto in 11th house.)

"You molded my heart for liberty, justice, greatness, and beauty. You cannot imagine how deeply engraved upon my heart are the lessons you taught me. Never could I delete so much as a comma from the great percepts that set before me."
-Bolivar in a letter to his tutor, Simon Rodriguez.

“When mankind was in its infancy, steeped in uncertainty, ignorance, and error, was it possible to foresee what system it would adopt for preservation.”

“It is harder to release a nation from servitude than to enslave a free nation.”

“Is it conceivable that a newly emancipated people can soar to the heights of liberty, and, unlike Icarus, neither have its wings melt nor fall into an abyss? Such a marvel is inconceivable and without precedent. There is no reasonable probability to bolster our hopes.”

“Republican democracy is overperfect and demands political virtues and talents far superior to our own.”

Simon Bolivar, 1815, wrote:
The role of the inhabitants of the American hemisphere has for centuries been purely passive. Politically they were non-existent. We are still in a position lower than slavery, and therefore it is more difficult for us to rise to the enjoyment of freedom. We were removed from the world in relation to the science of government and administration of the state. We were never viceroys or governors, save in the rarest of instances; seldom archbishops; diplomats never; as military men, only subordinates; as nobles without royal privileges.

Simon Bolivar, 1815, wrote:
As long as our countrymen do not acquire the abilities and political virtues that distinguish our brothers of the north, wholly popular systems, far from working to our advantage, will, I greatly fear, bring about our downfall.

Do not adopt the best system of government, but the one that is most likely to succeed.

Unity, unity, unity, must be our motto.

America is ungovernable; those who have worked for independence have plowed the sea.


Simón Bolívar, El Libertador.
Born July 24, 1783
Caracas, Venezuela
Died December 17, 1830
Santa Marta, Colombia

Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar Palacios y Blanco (born July 24, 1783 in Caracas, Venezuela; died December 17, 1830 in Santa Marta, Colombia) was a South American revolutionary leader.

Credited with leading the fight for independence in what are now the countries of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama and Bolivia, he is revered as a hero in these countries and throughout much of the rest of Latin America.

He was born in Caracas, Venezuela. In 1802, he married María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa who died of yellow fever less than a year later, and he never remarried.

Bolivar is known as "El Libertador", The Liberator.

The Bolívar aristocratic bloodline derives from Puebla de Bolíbar (also Bolívar or Bolívar, today part of the municipality of Ziortza-Bolibar), a small village in the Basque county of Biscay (Spain), and is the origin of their surname. A portion of their wealth by the 1600s came from the Aroa River gold and copper mines in Venezuela.

By the 1500s, vague information about existence of gold was rumored around the rivers Yaracuy, Santa Cruz, and Aroa. In 1605, more precise locations of ores became known, particularly in a small valley lateral to the Aroa River next to La Quebrada de Las Minas.

In 1632, gold was first mined, leading to further discoveries of extensive copper deposits. Towards the later 1600s, copper was exploited with the name "Cobre Caracas". These mines became property of Simón Bolívar's family.

Later in his revolutionary life, Bolivar used part of the mineral income to finance the South American revolutionary wars. Some people claim that their family grew to prominence before gaining great wealth. For example, the Cathedral of Caracas, founded in 1575, has a side chapel dedicated to Simón Bolívar's family.[1]

In this context, Simón Bolívar was born in Caracas, in modern-day Venezuela, into an aristocratic family, and educated by different tutors after his parents died. Among his tutors was Simón Rodríguez, whose ideas and educational style heavily influenced the young man.

Following the death of his parents, he went to Spain in 1799 to complete his education. There he married María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa in 1802, but on a brief return visit to Venezuela in 1803, she succumbed to yellow fever. Bolívar returned to Europe in 1804 and for a time was part of Napoleon's retinue.

Statue of Simón Bolívar in Belgrave Square, LondonBolívar returned to Venezuela in 1807 and, when Napoleon made Joseph Bonaparte King of Spain and its colonies in 1808, he participated in the resistance juntas in South America. The Caracas junta declared its independence in 1810, and Bolívar was sent to England on a diplomatic mission.

Bolívar returned to Venezuela in 1811. But in July 1812, junta leader Francisco de Miranda surrendered, and Bolívar had to flee to Cartagena de Indias. In this period, Bolívar wrote his Manifiesto de Cartagena.

In 1813, after acquiring a military command in New Granada under the direction of the Congress of Tunja, he led the invasion of Venezuela on May 14. This was the beginning of the famous Campaña Admirable, the Admirable Campaign. He entered Mérida on May 23, where he was proclaimed as El Libertador (the liberator from the Spanish army), following the occupation of Trujillo on June 9. Six days later, on June 15, dictated his famous Decree of War to the Death (Decreto de Guerra a Muerte). Caracas was retaken on August 6, 1813, and Bolívar was ratified as "El Libertador", thus proclaiming the Venezuelan Second Republic. Due to the rebellion of José Tomás Boves in 1814 and the fall of the republic, he returned to New Granada, where he then commanded a Colombian nationalist force and entered Bogotá in 1814, recapturing the city from the dissenting republican forces of Cundinamarca. He intended to march into Cartagena and enlist the aid of local forces in order to capture Royalist Santa Marta. However, after a number of political and military disputes with the government of Cartagena, Bolívar fled in 1815 to Jamaica, where he requested the Haitian leader Alexandre Pétion for aid.

In 1816, with Haitian help (given because he promised to free slaves), Bolívar landed in Venezuela and captured Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar).

A victory at the Battle of Boyacá in 1819 added New Granada to the territories free from Spanish control, and in September 7, 1821 the Gran Colombia (a federation covering much of modern Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador) was created, with Bolívar as president and Francisco de Paula Santander as vice president.

Further victories at the Carabobo in 1821 and Pichincha in 1822 consolidated his rule over Venezuela and Ecuador respectively. After a meeting in Guayaquil on July 26 and 27 1822 with Argentine General José de San Martín, who had received the title of Protector of Peruvian Freedom in August 1821 after having partially liberated Peru from the Spanish, Bolívar took over the task of fully liberating Peru. The Peruvian congress named him dictator of Peru on February 10, 1824, which allowed Bolívar to completely reorganize the political and military administration. Bolívar, assisted by Antonio José de Sucre, decisively defeated the Spanish cavalry on August 6 1824 at Junín. Sucre destroyed the still numerically superior remnants of the Spanish forces at Ayacucho on December 9.

On August 6, 1825, at the Congress of Upper Peru, the Republic of Bolivia was created in honour of Bolívar, who drafted a new constitution for the new nation. This constitution reflected the influence of the French and Scottish Enlightenment on Bolívar's political thought, as well as that of classical Greek and Roman authors.

Bolívar had great difficulties maintaining control of the vast Gran Colombia. During 1826, internal divisions had sparked dissent throughout the nation and regional uprisings erupted in Venezuela, thus the fragile South American coalition appeared to be on the verge of collapse.

An amnesty was declared and an arrangement was reached with the Venezuelan rebels, but political dissent in New Granada grew as a consequence of this. In an attempt to keep the federation together as a single entity, Bolívar called for a constitutional convention at Ocaña during April 1828.

He had seen his dream of eventually creating an American Revolution-style federation between all the newly independent republics, with a government ideally set-up solely to recognize and uphold individual rights, succumb to the pressures of particular interests throughout the region, which rejected that model and allegedly had little or no allegiance to classical liberal principles.

For this reason, and to prevent a break-up, Bolivar wanted to implement in Gran Colombia a more centralist model of government, including some or all of the elements of the Bolivian constitution he had written (which included a lifetime presidency with the ability to select a successor, though this was theoretically held in check by an intricate system of balances).

This move was considered controversial and was one of the reasons why the deliberations met with strong opposition. The convention almost ended up drafting a document which would have implemented a radically federalist form of government which would have greatly reduced the powers of the central administration.

Unhappy with what would be the ensuing result, Bolívar's delegates left the convention. After the failure of the convention due to grave political differences, Bolívar proclaimed himself dictator on August 27, 1828 through the "Organic Decree of Dictatorship".

He considered this as a temporary measure, as a means to reestablish his authority and save the republic, though it increased dissatisfaction and anger among his political opponents. An assassination attempt in September 1828 failed.

Although he emerged physically intact, this nevertheless greatly affected Bolívar. Dissident feelings continued, and uprisings occurred in New Granada, Venezuela and Ecuador during the next two years.

Simon Bolívar Memorial Monument, near Santa Marta, ColombiaBolívar finally resigned his presidency on April 27, 1830, intending to leave the country for exile in Europe, possibly in France. He had already sent several crates (containing his belonging and his writings) ahead of him to Europe.

He died before setting sail, after a painful battle with tuberculosis on December 17, 1830, in "La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino", in Santa Marta, Colombia.

His remains were moved from Santa Marta to Caracas in 1842, where a monument was set up for his burial. The 'Quinta' near Santa Marta has been preserved as a museum with numerous references to his life.[2]

Equestrian statue of Bolivar on Bolivar Square, Caracas.On his deathbed, Bolivar asked his aide-de-camp, General Daniel Florencio O'Leary to burn the extensive archive of his writings, letters, and speeches. O'Leary disobeyed the order and his writings survived, providing historians with a vast wealth of information about Bolivar's classical liberal philosophy and thought.

A great admirer of the American Revolution (and a great critic of the French Revolution), Bolívar described himself in his many letters as a classical "liberal" and defender of the free market economic system. Among the books he traveled with when he wrote the Bolivian Constitution were Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws and Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations.

Bolívar's many speeches and writings reveal him to be an adherent of limited government, the separation of powers, freedom of religion, property rights, and the rule of law.

Simón Bolívar has no direct descendants. His bloodline lives on through his sister Juana Bolívar y Palacios who married Dionisio Palacios y Blanco (Simón and Juana's maternal uncle) and had two children: Guillermo and Benigna.

Guillermo died when fighting alongside his uncle in the battle of La Hogaza in 1817. Benigna Palacios y Bolívar married Pedro Amestoy. Their great-grandchildren, Pedro (94) and Eduardo (90) Mendoza-Goiticoa live in Caracas. They are Simón Bolívar's closest living relatives. [3]

Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar was born in Caracas on July 24, 1783, to don Juan Vicente Bolívar y Ponte and doña Maria de la Concepción Palacios y Blanco. An aristocrat by birth, Simón Bolívar received an excellent education from his tutors, especially Simón Rodríguez. Thanks to his tutors, Bolívar became familiar with the works of the Enlightenment as well as those of classical Greece and Rome.

By the age of nine, however, Bolívar lost both his parents and was left in the care of his uncle, don Carlos Palacios. At the age of fifteen, don Carlos Palacios sent him to Spain to continue his education.

Bolívar left for Spain in 1799 with his friend, Esteban Escobar. En route, he stopped in Mexico City where he met with the viceroy of New Spain who was was alarmed with the young Bolívar argued with confidence on behalf of Spanish American independence. Bolívar arrived in Madrid on June of that same year and stayed with his uncle, Esteban Palacios.

In Spain, Bolívar met Maria Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa whom he married soon afterwards in 1802. Shortly after returning to Venezuela, in 1803, Maria Teresa died of yellow fever. Her death greatly affected Bolívar and he vowed never to marry again. A vow which he kept for the rest of his life.

After losing his wife, Bolívar returned to Spain with his tutor and friend, Simón Rodríguez, in 1804. While in Europe he witnessed the proclamation of Napoleon Bonaparte as Emperor of France and later the coronation of Napoleon as King of Italy in Milan. Bolívar lost respect for Napoleon whom he considered to have betrayed the republican ideals. But it was in while in Italy that Bolívar made his famous vow atop Mount Aventin of Rome to never rest until America was free.

Bolívar returned to Venezuela in 1807 after a brief visit to the United States. In 1808 Napoleon installed his brother, Joseph, as King of Spain. This launched a great popular revolt in Spain known as the Peninsular War. In America, as in Spain, regional juntas were formed to resist the new king. Unlike the Spanish junts, however, the American juntas fought against the power of the Spanish king, not only the person of Joseph Bonaparte.

That year, the Caracas junta declared its independence from Spain and Bolívar was sent to England along with Andrés Bello and Luis López Mendez on a diplomatic mission. Bolívar returned to Venezuela on June 3, 1811, and delivered his discourse in favor of independence to the Patriotic Society. On August 13 patriot forces under the command of Francisco de Miranda won a victory in Valencia.

On July 24, 1812, Miranda surrendered after several military setbacks and Bolívar soon had to flee to Cartagena. From there, Bolívar wrote his famous Cartagena Manifesto in which he argued that New Granda should help liberate Venezuela because their cause was the same and Venezuela's freedom would secure that of New Granada. Bolívar received assistance from New Granada and in 1813 he invaded Venezuela. He entered Merida on May 23 and was proclaimed "Libertador" by the people. On June 8 Bolívar proclaimed the "war to the death" in favor of liberty. Bolívar captured Caracas on August 6 and two days later proclaimed the second Venezuelan republic.

After several battles, Bolívar had to flee once more and in 1815 he took refuge in Jamaica from where he wrote his Jamaica Letter. That same year, Bolívar traveled to Haiti and petitioned its president, Alexander Sabes Petión, to help the Spanish American cause. In 1817, with Haitian help, Bolívar returned to the continent to continue fighting.

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 Gran Colombia (a federation of present-day Venezueal, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador) which named Bolívar president. Royalist opposition was eliminated during the following years. After the victory of Antonio José de Sucre over the Spanish forces at the Battle of Pichincha on May 23, 1822, all of northern South America was liberated. With that great victory, Bolívar prepared to march with his army across the Andes and liberate Peru.

On July 26, 1822, Bolívar met with José de San Martín at Guayaquil to discuss the strategy for the liberation of Peru. No one knows what took place in the secret meeting between the two South American heroes, but San Martín returned to Argentina while Bolívar prepared to fight against last Spanish bastion in South America.

In 1823 Bolívar took command of the invasion of Peru and in September arrived in Lima with Sucre to plan the attack. On August 6, 1824, Bolívar and Sucre jointly defeated the Spanish army in the Battle of Junín. On December 9 Sucre destroyed the last remnant of the Spanish army in the Battle of Ayacucho, eliminating Spain's presence in South America.

On August 6, 1825, Sucre called the Congress of Upper Peru which created the Republic of Bolivia in honor of Bolívar. The Bolivian Constitution of 1826, while never enacted, was personally written by Bolívar. Also in 1826, Bolívar called the Congress of Panama, the first hemispheric conference.

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. Surrounded by factional fighting and suffering from tuberculosis, El Libertador Simón Bolívar died on December 17, 1830.



In 1783, Simon Bolivar, the great liberator of South America, was born in Caracas. For more than 200 years, this city had been one of the great centres of Spanish imperial power in South America. Ever since de Losada had founded it in 1567, Caracas had grown in size, power and influence.

The Bolivars were one of the great families of Caracas. In their veins ran the blood of Africa, of the Iberian peninsula, and of the natives of the Andes. They owned large estates of sugar cane which were worked by slave labour, as well as silver mines that produced tremendous wealth. Simon's grandfather had been granted a colonial title of nobility by the Spanish court.

Orphaned before his fifteenth birthday, Simon Bolivar's maternal grandfather, Feliciano Palacios, took him in his care and arranged for him to have the best possible education in Venezuela and in Spain. Amongst his tutors were Simon Rodriguez and Andres Bello. Simon distinguished himself during the years of his education in Spain with his academic accomplishments. There, at the age of 18, he fell in love with Teresa del Toro, who was a year younger. The families insisted on a year's delay of marriage. At the end of the year, Bolivar married Teresa and took his wife back to one of the family's plantations in the valley of Aragua, near Caracas. Not long after, Teresa died of a malignant fever, and the heartbroken Simon swore never to remarry. He kept his oath, however, he always enjoyed the company of women and admitted that the inspiration he gained from them was a necessity to him.

Single, young Bolivar returned to Europe. He was the guest of the Marquis de Uztaiz, who gave him access to one of the greatest private libraries of Spain, famous for its collections on the physical sciences, history, philosophy and politics. It was during this period at Cadiz that Simon met Francisco de Miranda.

Miranda was a remarkable person. He was the type of intellectual that revolution turns into a military leader, and he became the precursor of Venezuela's fight for independence. Born in Caracas, Francisco's education was immense. He had devoted many years to the study of politics. Simon Bolivar was greatly influenced by the older man's grasp of culture and history, and of the philosophy of the "rights of man". Bolivar became a member of Lodge Lautro in Cadiz in 1803, together with two other great South American patriots, José de San Martin, later the liberator of Argentina, and Bernardo O'Higgins, later the national hero of Chile.

Argentine soldier and statesman, national hero of Argentina, José de San Martin was born in Yapeyu in 1778. Played a great part in winning independence for his native land, Chile and Peru. Officer in the Spanish army (1789-1812), but helped Buenos Aires in its struggle for independence (1812-1814). Raised army in Argentina, and in January 1817 marched across the Andes to Chile, where he and Bernardo O'Higgins defeated the Spanish at Chacabuco and Maipo, thus winning independence for Chile. Subsequently, he won independence for Peru and became this country's protector. He resigned in 1822 after differences with Bolivar and died in exile in Boulogne in 1850.

Bernardo O'Higgins, the Chilean revolutionary, born in Chillán in 1778, illegitimate son of Ambrosio O'Higgins, the Irish-born viceroy of Chile and Peru. Played a great part in the Chilean revolt of 1810-1817, and became known as the 'Liberator of Chile'. In 1817-1823 he was the new republic's first president, but was deposed after a revolution and retired to Peru, where he died in 1842.

This was a time when words like "liberty" and "equality" were powerful concepts. The term "rights of man' can be understood only against the background of a Europe dominated by autocratic monarchs, supported by aristocracies that excluded vast majorities of the population. The furnace of the French Revolution had branded those ideas upon the consciousness of a generation. The revolution in France was followed by the era of Napoleon Bonaparte, and there was a growing interest in science and the roots of another revolution, the Industrial Revolution.

In Paris, Simon Bolivar met the great German scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt, who knew South America well. Bolivar told him his feelings of the dignity of life in his homeland, and to this von Humboldt replied:

"I believe that your country is ripe for emancipation. But who will be the man to undertake so vast an enterprise?"

Bolivar traveled to Rome in the company of his former tutor Simon Rodriguez. There, one golden afternoon, they climbed to the top of the Aventin Hill, where more than 2000 years before the ancient Romans had been accustomed to reaffirm their right for freedom.

Simon Bolivar gazed long at the monuments and the ruins of classical buildings spread before him. Then, all of a sudden, he turned to Rodriguez and said:

"I swear before you, I swear by the God of my fathers, by my forefathers themselves, by my honour and my country, that I shall never allow my hands to be idle or my soul to rest until I have broken the shackles which bind us to Spain."

Thus, great decisions are made, and this one was to be the turning point for South American affairs. Sometimes, a person would move to the moment of decision so gradually that at first, there is no sign of change or of the turn in his or her life. But to others, it is a bolt from the blue, a moment of revelation, such as happened to Paul on the Damascus Road.

Not long after his stay in Rome, upon his return to Caracas, Bolivar met with a group known as the Patriotic Society. They were in disorder and had no idea how to go forward. Bolivar forced the issues, cried out to them:

"These doubts are the sad effects of our ancient chains. Chains we no longer need to wear. They say that we should prepare for great projects with calm - are not 300 years of calm sufficient? Without fear, let us lay the cornerstone of South American independence."

Events moved swiftly. Bolivar, Andres Bello and others went to London in search of British help. They also persuaded Francisco de Miranda to return and lead the armies of Liberation. It was his second attempt to break the shackles that bound the southern continent to Spain.

But the general, who had once commanded an army on the Rhine, was now too old - he could not adapt himself to guerrilla warfare bungled the campaign and accepted terms from the Spanish. Bolivar arrested him. The rot,, however, had set in.

The revolution was smashed, the leaders arrested. Miranda was sent to Spain in chains. Bolivar escaped to Curaçao and eventually to Haiti, where Toussaint L'Ouverture offered asylum. All his property and estates in Venezuela were confiscated. Notwithstanding, he kept his courage and his flaming faith in the cause of liberation.

When Bolivar returned to Venezuela, the tide was turned from the neighbouring island of Trinidad. From there, a small band of men, remembered as the "Immortal 45", crossed the Gulf of Paria under the command of a young man by the name of Santiago Moreño. They took the coastal towns, drawing thousands to their cause.

Bolivar's famous Cartagena manifesto demonstrated the importance for all American States to work together for independence. The second phase of the revolution was now underway. Final victory was yet a long way away, however.

Simon Bolivar kept the course and held before him the lesson "Let no motive therefore make you swerve from your duty, violate your vows or betray your trust."

"United we are strong" is a concept as old as humanity. In the history of nations, it manifests itself in the form of federations. Simon Bolivar had a dram of a federation of South American states, with his home country, Venezuela, being part of that. Partly liberator and elected president, partly dictator, Bolivar succeeded in joining Venezuela, Colombia and New Granada into a republic called Colombia. In 1822, Ecuador was joined, and in 1824 Peru. Upper Peru was named Bolivia in his honour, however, the inhabitants of that state were not at all satisfied with Bolivar's constitution and drove out his troops. In 1828, also, the republicans in Colombia rebelled against Bolivar's supreme power, and in 1829, Venezuela split from the federation and elected José Antonio Páez as president. A year later, Bolivar died, leaving behind a shattered federation, but a dream of federation very much alive in the former Spanish colonies of South America.

Páez' power collapsed in the 1840s, when liberal ideas became stronger. From 1846 to 1858, control of the country was in the hands of José Tadeo Monagas and his brother José Gregorio. They were not liberal, and apart from the abolition of slavery in 1854, nothing much was achieved for the people.

After the collapse of the Monagas regime, chaos and turmoil struck Venezuela for twelve years. Páez tried to once more restore order in the early 1860s, but failed. The turmoil ended with Antonio Guzmán Blanco assuming power in 1870 and assuming dictatorial rule until 1888.

A quantity of Venezuelan families from both Caracas and the coastal towns came to Trinidad in the period of the dictators. Others merely renewed older links with the island. French creole families, such as the Ganteaumes and the Pantins, and German creoles such as Wuppermann and Siegert, married into Caracanian families, such as Machado and de Tova.

Guzmán, like the other dictators, did not achieve any alleviation in the mass poverty of Venezuela. He rebuilt Caracas, but the rural masses remained in their hovels. After his regime ended, the country again fell into chaos, until stability was regained at the terrible price of oppression and brutality. Cipriano Castro ruled from 1899 to 1908, followed by Juan Vicente Gómez from 1908 until 1935.

"Bolivar's dreams of liberty and freedom proved illusory," writes Esmond Wright (ed.) in "History of the World". Dr. Philip Sherlock adds in a lecture on Radio Guardian, 1964:

"Bolivar had been successful in the war because he had the support of the great conservative families. They were hostile to Spain. But when Spain was defeated, all the old vested interests began to assert their power and take charge. It was the old landed estate, the latifundia, against any form of democratic rule. Bolivar dreamed of a great federation of the South American continent, that would be the counterpart of the United States. The nine years between 1821 and 1830 found Bolivar struggling to defeat the parochialism and selfishness of the landed proprietors. The struggle brought frustration and defeat."



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