Simón Bolívar, a soldier and statesman known as “The Liberator”, led the revolutions against Spanish rule in the northern regions of South America. His military career began in 1810, when he fought in support of Venezuelan independence. However, his efforts failed, and he fled abroad in 1815, returning to Venezuela in 1816. Napoleon’s army had been driven out of Spain in 1813 and King Ferdinand VII had ascended to the throne; he was set on destroying all insurgents in his South American colonies. His Royalist army, under General Pablo Marillo, had overrun most of Venezuela and New Grenada. However, the unruly Royalist troops, combined with the heavy demands made on the local populations, were soon confronted by a new insurgents’ revolt. Bolívar gathered his forces in eastern Venezuela and established the Venezuelan Third Republic in 1817. He then crossed the Andes in 1819 to liberate New Granada. The Battle of Boyaca is considered the beginning of the independence of the northern part of South America and led to victories at the Battle of Carabobo in Venezuela, Pichincha in Ecuador, and Junín and Ayachucho in Peru. Bolívar and his allies defeated the Spanish in New Granada in 1819, Venezuela and Panama in 1821, Ecuador in 1822, Peru in 1824, and Bolivia in 1825. In 1819, following the liberation of New Granada, the state of ‘Gran Colombia’ was proclaimed, with Bolívar as its first president. He was also the 6th president of Peru in1824-27 and the first president of Bolivia from August-December 1825.
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