The scion of Venezuelan copper barons, Simon Bolívar took command of the liberation movement against colonial Spain by arresting his erstwhile leader Francisco de Miranda and turning him over to the Spanish authorities. From this dubious beginning, Bolívar embarked on his ‘Admirable Campaign’, marching from New Granada to capture Caracas in 1813, and proclamation as El Libertador with the foundation of the second Venezuelan Republic. After turning his attentions to Colombia, he took Bogota (1814), but then was defeated by the llanero (cowboy) militias organized by the royalists, and fled to Haiti. Spain, no longer encumbered by organizing a resistance to Napoleon, sent a major expeditionary force under Pablo Morillo, which defeated a returning Bolivar at La Puerta, before his ultimate victory at Carabobo (1821). Bolivar was elected president of a newly liberated Gran Colombia, and marched south to rendezvous with the Argentine liberator San Martin at Guayaquil (1822), completing the expulsion of the Spanish from South America (1825).
— OR —