By Juan J Miret
Venezuela declared independence from Spain on July 5th 1811 under the leadership of its most prominent native son, Simón Bolívar: The Liberator.
Nevertheless, full control over Venezuelan territory was achieved after Bolívar, with the help of General José Antonio Páez and especially the General Grand Marshall Antonio José de Sucre, whose battle plan Bolívar chose to follow, won the Battle of Carabobo on June 24th 1821 and after José Prudencio Padilla won the Naval Battle of Lake Maracaibo on July 24th 1823.
New Granada’s Congress gave Bolívar total power of the Granadian army, then, Bolívar led several countries to freedom and created a new Republic called Colombia (also known as Great Colombia), consisting of what are now Venezuela, Colombia, Panamá and Ecuador. Later, Bolívar led the army towards the south, liberating Perú and founding Bolivia (named after The Liberator Bolívar).
The Latin American independence movement was launched a year after Simón Bolívar return from Europe, as Napoleon’s invasion of Spain unsettled Spanish authority. Bolívar himself participated in many conspiratorial meetings and on April 19th 1810, the Spanish Governor (Vicente Emparán) was officially deprived of his powers and expelled from Venezuela. A junta took over. To obtain help, Bolívar was sent on a mission to London. His assignment was to explain to England the plight of the revolutionary colony, to gain recognition for it and to obtain arms and support.
Venezuela was in ferment. In March 1811 a national Congress met in Caracas to draft a Constitution. After long deliberation it declared Venezuela’s independence.
Today, Venezuela’s heritage, art and cultural importance is the result of the collective identity of its people. In a larger context, the key elements of Venezuela society have been shaped and impacted by the historical evolutions of its Latin American counterparts. Venezuela’s heritage is naturally connected and related to its culture, as culture defines a nation’s intellectual and artistic endeavors.
Feliz 195 Aniversario a la Tierra de Gracia!