El Mico meets El Libertador, or at least his retirement pad in Bogotá. These photos from the Monkey’s June 2003 trip show the lovely grounds of Simon de Bolívar’s quinta in the Colombian capital.
The Monkey visited the Bogotá‘s Quinta de Bolívar, a colonial mansion and garden at the foot of Monserrate that was offered to “El Libertador” Simon Bolívar in gratitude for his victorious revolutionary campaign against Spain.
Bolívar was born in Caracas in 1783, and joined the revolutionary movement to oust the Spanish in 1810. After numerous defeats, the resilient Bolívar and his forces captured Angostura (in Venezuela) by 1819, where a congress promptly promoted him to President of Venezuela. Bolívar next led a campaign across the eastern plains of modern-day Colombia and over the Andes, defeating the surprised Spanish forces at Boyacá. Bolívar then made for Bogotá, which he liberated on 8 August 1819. Soon thereafter, Bolívar was pronounced the President of Gran Colombia (which encompassed the modern states of Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela). Heading south toward Peru, Bolívar’s forces met with the Argentine General San Martín, whose revolutionary armies were already in the process of expelling the Spanish from Peru. The two revolutionaries agreed that Bolívar would continue the struggle in Peru, which he succeeded in liberating by 1824.
Bolívar’s dream of a South American United States was derailed time and gain by separatist elements throughout the vast, newly independent region, driving Bolívar to declare himself dictator of Gran Colombia in 1828. Wary of Bolívar’s increasingly authoritarian rule, Venezuela and Ecuador seceded from Gran Colombia in 1830. Bolívar became disillusioned and sickly, and retired from the presidency in 1830, dying a short time later. Whatever animosities some rivals and separatists held against Bolívar during his lifetime, after his death he quickly became a hero revered throughout Latin America, even in areas he played no part in liberating.
Bolívar lived at the quinta with his companion Manuela Saenz intermittently from 1820 to 1830, enjoying time off from military campaigns at the recluse. Today, the quinta is a museum featuring many of the couple’s personal items, as well as relics from the long revolutionary campaign against Spain.
El Mico enjoys the tranquility of the gardens at Bolívar’s quinta. The walled grounds include a small pool and numerous terraces.
The Monkey takes a solemn look at a memorial to El Libertador on the grounds of his quinta. The flags are those of the modern states in the lands that Simon Bolívar helped liberate.
The Monkey climbs a tree in the pleasant confines of the Quinta de Bolívar, in Bogotá.
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