iPlayer Radio What's New?
Listen
On Now : Front Row
Damon Albarn, Art Fund Prize shortlist, Sophie Hannah, Proms line-up
Image for Bolivar

Listen now 45 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Bolivar

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 30 October 2008

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and times of Simon Bolivar, hero of the revolutionary wars that liberated Spanish America from Spain. In 1804 Bolivar stood on a small hill in Rome and made a grand declaration. He said, “I swear before you, I swear before the God of my fathers, I swear by my fathers, I swear by my honour, I swear by my country that I will not rest, body or soul, until I have broken the chains with which Spanish power oppresses us.” Unlike most teeenage declarations, Bolivar made good on his word.

A wealthy young man, Bolivar was inspired by Enlightenment thinkers John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau and by the compelling personality of Napoleon. His story is one of ideas and adventure, of armies crossing the Andes, of the far flung influence of the Napoleonic Wars and an unexpectedly large role for Britain. But when he died he was anything but a hero, his reputation undergoing a transformation after his death to make him an icon of liberation and the national hero of Venezuela, Columbia, Equador, Peru and Bolivia – a country that bears his name.

With Anthony McFarlane, Professor of Comparative American Studies at the University of Warwick; John Fisher, Professor of Latin American History at the University of Liverpool and Catherine Davies, Professor in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at the University of Nottingham.

  • Further Reading

    G. Masur, Simón Bolívar (Albuquerque, 1948)

    A. Mijares, The Liberator (Caracas, 1983, translated by John Fisher)

    John Charles Chasteen, Americanos: Latin America's Struggle for Independence (Oxford University Press, 2008)

    D. Bushnell, Simón Bolívar: Liberation and Disappointment (London, 2004)

    David Bushnell (ed.) El Libertador: Writings of Simon Bolivar (Oxford University Press, 2003)

    David Bushnell and Lester D. Langley (eds) Simon Bolivar: Essays on the Life and Legacy of the Liberator (Rowman and Little, Lanham, Maryland, 2008)

    John Lynch, Simón Bolívar: A Life (London, 2006)

    John Lynch, The Spanish American Revolutions (Norton, 1986)

    Catherine Davies, Claire Brewster and Hilary Owen, South American Independence: Gender, Politics, Text (Liverpool University Press, 2007)

    Matthew Brown, Adventuring through Spanish Colonies: Simón Bolívar, Foreign Mercenaries and the Birth of New Nations (Liverpool University Press, 2006)

    Jaime E. Rodriguez, The Independence of Spanish America (Cambridge University Press, 1998)

    Anthony McFarlane, Colombia before Independence: Economy, Society and Politics under Bourbon Rule (Cambridge University Press, 1993)

Broadcasts

Featured in...

  • 19th Century

    Browse the 19th Century era within the In Our Time archive.

  • Enlightenment

    Browse the Enlightenment era within the In Our Time archive.

  • History archive

    Historical themes, events and key individuals from Akhenaten to Xenophon.

In Our Time Downloads

melvyn-bragg.jpg

Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Free downloads

  1. Image for In Our Time Archive: Culture

    In Our Time Archive: Culture

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas as it applies to culture - from literature…

  2. Image for In Our Time Archive: History

    In Our Time Archive: History

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the people, conflicts and events that have shaped the world.

  3. Image for In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of philosophy - from ancient Greek thinkers to the…

  4. Image for In Our Time Archive: Religion

    In Our Time Archive: Religion

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of religious ideas - from the faith systems of…

  5. Image for In Our Time Archive: Science

    In Our Time Archive: Science

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas and the evolution of the sciences - from…

  6. Image for In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas - including topics drawn from philosophy,…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.