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BOLIVAR, SIMON - Letter appointing the father of Antonio José de Sucre to a military position
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BOLIVAR, SIMON - Letter appointing the father of Antonio José de Sucre to a military position

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BOLIVAR, SIMON. (1783-1830). South American soldier, statesman and revolutionary leader. LS. (“Bolivar”). 1p. Tall 4to. Angostura, December 17, 1817. To the governor and commander general of the province of Guayana. In Spanish with translation.


“Colonel Vicente Sucre is to be considered not only as the Governor of the fortresses of Old Guayana, but as Military Commandant of the Department of the Lower Orinoco and entrusted with the command of the line formed by the chain of villages from Caruachi to Piacoa as being the Commandant nearest thereto. Make him acquainted with this and communicate it to whomsoever it may concern. It will be very useful to carry out the commission which the Commandant of Caicara thinks of conferring on Citizen Narciso Mendoza if the Commissioner is capable of executing it. Your Lordship should give Commandant Riobueno his orders in accordance with the knowledge and information you possess the behavior and aptitude of Mendoza. May God keep Your Honor many years…”


Born into a wealthy family of Spanish aristocrats in Venezuela, Bolivar was orphaned at a young age and raised by family slaves and private tutors, who instilled in him a strong sense of justice and liberty. After attending the Milicias de Veraguas militaryacademy, hewent to Europe to further his education, where he witnessed Napoleon’s coronation in Paris. He returned to Venezuela in 1807, committed to fight for independence from Spain.


He was a part of the delegation to Great Britain after the 1810 coup which formed the Supreme Junta of Caracas, and distinguished himself during the ensuing Venezuelan War of Independence. After the fall of the First Republic of Venezuela in July 1812, Bolivar led the campaign to free the country from Spanish control, enlisting the recently formed United Provinces of New Granada in his so-called Admirable Campaign of 1813, during which time he earned the moniker El Libertador andsuccessfully captured Caracas from the royalists to reestablish the Venezuelan Republic.


However, by 1815, Bolivar found himself at odds with the government of Cartagena and sought refuge in Haiti, which provided him with the means to return to Venezuela and, in January 1817, he began the siege of the city of Angostura (renamed Ciudad Bolivar in 1846), located on the shores of the Orinoco River in the Province of Guayana. “This region was the most strategic base for his operations, for whoever held the province and plains would eventually control all of Venezuela.” (Bolivar, Worcester). Although Bolivar and his comrades captured Angostura, he soon realized that the campaign was hampered by a lack of clear leadership and a formal government. After executing a powerful political rival and pressuring others to bow to his authority, Bolivar set about formalizing his government, declaring Angostura the provisional capital, and establishing a high court, governing council and council of state. Although Venezuela remained a captaincy of Spain, Bolivar ruled the Third Republic of Venezuela as a dictator until February 15, 1819, when the Second National Congress, held in Angostura, elected him president, leading to the unification ofVenezuela and New Granada into the Republic of Gran Colombia. 


Our letter asserts the authority of Vicente Sucre(1761-1824) as governor of the “Fortalezas de la antigua Guayana” and commander of the department of Orinoco between the villages of Caruachi to Piacoa located to the east of Angostura. Like Bolivar, the Sucre family was descended from European aristocracy and eager to fight for the independence of Venezuela and other South American Spanish colonies. Sucre was the father of Antonio José de Sucre, Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho, one of Bolivar’s closest friends and allies who became the second president of Bolivia.


Narciso Mendoza may be the Mexican child soldier (1800-1888) famous for heroically fighting the Spanish during the Mexican War of Independence at the age of 12. He enjoyed a career in the Mexican Army before his exile to Central America, during which he was presumably recruited to the Venezuelan cause through the Commander of Caicara.


Published in several works, including Memorias del General O’Leary: Documentos by Daniel Florencio O’Leary. Written on a folded sheet of partially-printed letterhead that lists Bolivar’s title as “Supreme Chief of the Republic, Captain-General of the Armies of Venezuela and New Granada, etc. etc. etc.” With small file holes in the left margin as well as several tiny worm holes and one spot of minor paper loss along the right edge that affects a single word. Normal wear and in very good condition.


Item #19285


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