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
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]