Simón Bolívar

Early Life and Setbacks

Born of a wealthy creole family in Caracas, Venezuela, Bolívar was educated by tutors such as Andrés Bello and Simón Rodríguez, and was influenced by the writings of European rationalists such as John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau. When the revolution against Spain broke out in 1810, he enthusiastically joined the rebel army, but in 1812, his forces were defeated at Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. In bitter response, he joined the men who imprisoned the patriot leader, Francisco de Miranda. In July, 1812, following an armistice, Bolívar went to Cartagena and joined forces with Colombian patriot, Antonio Nariño. He returned to win notable victories against the Spanish; in Aug., 1813, he entered Caracas and was given the title of "the liberator." In 1814, the Spanish recaptured Caracas and the revolutionaries were scattered by a royalist force under Pablo Morillo. Bolívar escaped to Jamaica, where he wrote La Carta de Jamaica (The Letter from Jamaica), his inspired political document advocating republican government throughout Spanish America, modeled after Great Britain.

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