Simón Bolívar was born in 1783 in New Granada (now Venezuela), into a rich family.
In 1808, France invaded Spain and its colonies, including Venezuela. Bolívar joined the resistance movement, and he began a campaign to gain control of Venezuela from the Spanish empire. He and his followers invaded the country in 1813 in what was called the Admirable Campaign. His efforts resulted in the formation of the Venezuelan Second Republic later that year.
Bolívar was hailed as El Libertador (The Liberator), though civil war soon erupted in the republic. He was forced to flee to Jamaica and seek foreign aid.
He envisioned a South American republic with a parliamentary government similar to England’s, with a life-long president. Other leaders criticized his idea of being a nation's chief who could not be removed from power.
Bolívar returned to South America and fought many battles, eventually claiming several territories. In 1821 he became the leader of the new, united Gran Colombia, a federation that included much of what is now Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador. The federation was free from Spanish control, but the government was weak. Bolívar wanted to create a union of states similar to the United States of America, but he faced opposition from groups throughout the huge region of Gran Colombia, whose nations wanted independence.
Bolívar became dictator of Peru in 1824. In 1825, the "Republic of Bolivia" was created in his honor.
Bolívar resigned his post in 1830 and died later that year.
Source: Simón Bolívar Biography
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