Simon Bolivar was born July 1783, in Caracas, Venezuela to wealthy aristocratic parents in Venezuela. His parents died when he was young, and he was largely brought up by his nurse, family friends and a series of instructors and educators. One of the most influential of his teachers was Don Simon Rodriguez, who taught the young Bolivar about the ideals of liberty, enlightenment and freedom. When he was 14, his mentor Rodriguez had to flee the country because he was under suspicion of plotting against the Spanish rulers. Bolivar entered the military academy Milicias de Veraguas, where he developed a passion for military strategy. Simon Bolivar was a Venezuelan military and political leader who was instrumental in helping Latin American countries achieve independence from the Spanish Empire. During his lifetime, Bolivar became known as ‘El Libertador’ through helping countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia all achieve independence. Bolivar acted as a political dictator, but to some extent helped lay the foundations of democracy in Latin America. From 1819 to 1830 he served as president of the Hispanic-American republic known as Gran Colombia.