Happy Birthday to Simon de Bolivar

As the Treaty of Paris was signed to end the American Revolutionary War and liberate the North American colonies, the infant Simon de Bolivar made his debut in South America.  The man who became known as the “George Washington of South America” was born on July 24, 1783, in Caracas, Venezuela.  Bolivar had a complicated life, orphaned at an early age and later heartbreak over the death of his young wife. In a trip to Paris to recover from his grief, he became reacquainted with his childhood tutor, who introduced him to ideas and people of the French Enlightenment that had influenced the North Americans.  Bolivar’s military campaigns freed the nations of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela from colonial domination. His dreams of a closely allied confederation of South American republics sharing common political and economic goals were never achieved. He died a disappointed man, his visionary dreams unrealized.