Simon Bolivar

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South American Leader Simon Bolivar, who was the most important leader during South America's successful struggle for independence from Spain, collectively known as Bolivar's War. Together with José de San Martín, Bolivar is regarded as one of the Liberators of Spanish South America. Simon Bolivar's political legacy has of course been massive and he is a very important figure in South American political history. He was a great admirer of the American Revolution and a great critic of the French Revolution. Bolívar described himself in his many letters as a "liberal" and defender of the free market economic system.

Simon Bolivar, the Liberator, organized and led military forces, never numbering more than ten thousand, to free the northern portion of South America from Spanish rule in the early nineteenth century. His direct action resulted in independence for Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. While others talked or dreamed of independence, Bolivar united and motivated a small group of followers to defeat the Spanish occupiers through surprise attacks ad wise decisions in the midst of battle.

Born on July 24, 1783, to wealthy Creole parents in Caracas, Venezuela, Bolivar lived a privileged childhood despite the death of his parents before he reached his teens. His guardian saw to it that Bolivar received a sophisticated education from tutors in Caracas, followed by more schooling in Spain in 1799. At the age of nineteen, Bolivar married a woman of Spanish nobility shortly before returning home. Within a year of the couple’s arrival in Venezuela, Bolivar’s bride died of yellow fever.

Brokenhearted, Bolivar returned to Europe and traveled extensively in Italy and France. During this period, he engrossed himself in the study of the philosophies of Rousseau, locke, and Voltaire while at the same time becoming captivated with the individual accomplishments of Napoleon I. On his way home to South America, Bolivar also traveled through the United...
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