Simon Bolivar
1783 - 1830
Bolivar, called El Libertador, was the greatest military figure of the independence struggle of Latin America against Spain.

Bolivar was born in Caracas, Venezuela. As a young man he traveled in Europe, and while in Rome he made a vow to liberate Venezuela. On his return to Venezuela, Bolivar joined the group of patriots that seized Caracas in 1810 and set up an independent government. But the Spaniards forced him to retreat - first to Colombia, and then to Jamaica and Haiti. In 1816 he returned, and defeated the Spaniards in a series of battles.

In 1819 Bolivar led the congress that organized the republic of Gran Colombia, which at first included Colombia and Venezuela. Within a few years Panama, Ecuador and Peru joined the republic.

But in 1830, Bolivar's dream to become the 'Washington' of Latin America faded when the republic of Gran Colombia split into three separate states. Bolivar resigned as president of Colombia in the same year.

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