Simon Bolivar Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Simón Bolívar was born in Venezuela, and he played a significant role in South America gaining independence from Spain. In this lesson, learn about Simón Bolívar's early life, how he became a military leader, and how he fought against Spanish control of South America.

Leader in Venezuela

What if the area where you lived was controlled by another country? Several hundred years ago, this was very common in South America, including New Granada, which is now known as Venezuela. This is where a man named Simón Bolívar was born in 1783, who became one of South America's most famous military leaders.

New Granada was what is now Venezuela, a coastal country in the northern part of South America.
Venezuela

Bolívar's family was very wealthy, because they mined gold and copper. After his parents passed away, he moved to Spain. There he met a woman named María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa, and they were married. Sadly, María died just one year after they were married.

Time in Europe

Bolívar traveled in Europe after his wife's death, and there he spent time hanging out with Napoleon Bonaparte. He was the Emperor of France, and Napoleon decided that his brother Joseph would be King of Spain. Why would this bother Simón Bolívar if he didn't live in Spain? Well, the area of South America where Bolívar lived was a colony of Spain. This meant that it was under Spanish control.

Bolivar did not like that his home country in South America was a colony of the Spanish.
military

Simón headed to Britain shortly while he was still in Europe, but then he went back home to New Granada. He was determined that the areas in South America that were colonized by the Spanish would be able to gain independence.

Admirable Campaign

The people of Venezuela had attempted once before to gain independence. They had formed the First Republic of Venezuela, but this lasted only about a year before the Venezuelans surrendered to Spanish leadership. However, Simón Bolívar was not discouraged.

On May 14, 1813, his Admirable Campaign began. This was a period where Bolívar led military forces to gain independence from Spain, and the Second Republic of Venezuela was formed. This also earned him the nickname of El Libertador (The Liberator). However, a civil war broke out and Bolívar had to leave before independence could be achieved.

A painting of Bolivar on horseback during his military campaign
Venezuela

Jamaica, Then Home

Bolívar knew he needed help, so he headed to Jamaica. In order to get help from other countries, he wrote a letter that would become very famous. He shared his vision of how great Venezuela could be if the country was not controlled by Spain. Thanks to this letter, he received help from other countries like Haiti.

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