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Simon BOLIVAR

Colombian Simon BOLIVAR

born Simón José Antonio DE LA SANTISIMA TRINIDAD BOLIVARY Y PALACIOS

South American political leader

Source :  Pedro Manuel DELGADO GONZÁLEZ

Born: on July 24, 1783 in Caracas, Venezuela
Died: on December 17, 1830 in Santa Marta, Colombia


Biography

Simón Bolívar was born in Caracas, Captaincy General of Venezuela (now the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela). The Bolívar aristocratic bloodline derives from a small village in the Basque Country (Spain, Europe), called La Puebla de Bolívar, which is the origin of the surname. His father descended remotely from King Fernando III of Castile and Count Amedeo IV of Savoy, and came from the male line of the de Ardanza family. The Bolívars settled in Venezuela in the sixteenth century.

His distant ancestor was Simón de Bolívar (or Simon de Bolibar; the spelling was not standardized until the nineteenth century), who had lived in Santo Domingo from 1550 to 1570 and worked for its governor. When the governor of Santo Domingo was reassigned to Venezuela in 1589, Bolívar went along with him. As an early settler in Caracas Province, he achieved a prominent position in the local society, and he and his descendants acquired estates, encomiendas and positions in the Caracas cabildo. The position of the family is illustrated by the fact that when the Caracas Cathedral was built in 1594, the Bolívar family had one of the first dedicated side chapels. The majority of the wealth of his descendants came from these estates, the most important of which was a sugar plantation in San Mateo, which came with an encomienda that provided the labor needed to run the estate. In later centuries, slave and free black labor would have replaced most of the encomienda labor. A portion of their wealth also came from the silver, gold and, more importantly, copper mines in Venezuela. In 1632, small gold deposits were first mined in Venezuela, leading to further discoveries of much more extensive copper deposits. From his mother's family the Palacioses, Simón Bolívar inherited the copper mines at Cocorote. Slaves provided the majority of the labor in these mines. Towards the end of the seventeenth century copper exploitation became so prominent in Venezuela that it became known as Cobre Caracas ("Caracas copper"). Many of the mines became the property of the Bolívar family. Bolívar's grandfather, Juan de Bolívar y Martínez de Villegas, paid 22,000 ducats to the monastery at Santa Maria de Montserrat in 1728 for a title of nobility that had been granted by the king for its maintenance. The Crown never issued the patent of nobility, and so the purchase became the subject of lawsuits that were still going in Simón Bolívar's lifetime, when independence made the point moot. (If successful, Bolívar's older brother, Juan Vicente, would have become the Marqués de San Luis and Vizconde de Cocorote.) Simón Bolívar used his family's immense wealth to finance his revolutionary efforts.

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