Simón Bolívar liberated South America from Spanish rule in the early 1800's. For that reason, he is sometimes called "El Libertador" or the "George Washington of South America".

Bolivar was born on July 24, 1783 in Caracas, Venezuela. Born into an aristocratic family, Bolivar was very well educated.

In 1808, Bolivar was a member of a group of rebels who seized Caracas and declared independence from Spain. By 1819 and the Battle of Boyaca, Bolivar had freed all of northern South America from the Spanish, paving the way for the eventual creation of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador as independent states.

Bolivar then crossed over the Andes, eventually freeing Peru (Spain's last South American colony) in 1824. Bolivia, which is named for Bolivar, was founded in 1825 out of what was then southern Peru.

Bolivar's dream of a single united South American state was never realized. Once the Spanish had left, South America fell into a cycle of revolution and civil war.

Bolivar died in 1830.

[Editor's note, 4/29/2003: Fixed a geographical immpossibility. Not sure how to fix the author's crediting Bolívar with the breakup of Gran Colombia]

South America did not just happen to collapse into civil war after Simon Bolivar liberated the continent. Actually, the new countries were systematically destabilized according to the rules of the United States' Monroe Doctrine. After World War II, the CIA pursued similar tactics with renewed enthusiasm, right up to the present day.

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