Imagine inviting a great leader to be your house guest, only to have him die while in your care. That’s exactly what happened when Joaquin de Mier, a Spanish supporter of Colombia’s independence, invited El Libertador – the great Simón Bolivar – to stay at his home, Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, in Santa Marta.
After the Venezuelan-born leader’s wealthy parents died when he was a young boy, he was primarily left in the care of his family’s slave, la negra Hipólita, who he described as “the only mother I have known.” At the age of 14, he entered a military academy, and during this time, he came to value the idea of liberty and he developed a passion for military strategy. After witnessing the coronation of Napoleon in Paris, he strongly desired to emulate the French military leader in his own native land. So Bolivar led Venezuela to independence from Spain in 1821 and went on to liberate and serve as the president of Gran Colombia – comprised of modern-day Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela – from 1819 to 1830. Bolivar also eventually liberated Peru and Bolivia, the latter of which was named after him. But liberation didn’t end the political turmoil in Gran Colombia since there was opposition to how the new republic should be governed. There was so much division that Bolivar eventually resigned from the presidency in April 1830 and planned to live in exile in Europe.
But before making the journey, Bolivar accepted Joaquin de Mier’s invitation to rest up at Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino. On December 6, 1830, Bolivar arrived at the home which was founded by a Spanish priest in 1630 and passed through the hands of other owners before it was eventually inherited by Joaquin de Mier who restored the neglected property to a sugar cane enterprise and distillery. At 1pm on December 17, 1830, Bolivar died from tuberculosis in the main house’s main bedroom. Following Bolivar’s death, the home was willed to Joaquin’s son, Manuel Julián de Mier, before it was sold to the State of Magdalena in 1891. Bolivar’s remains now rest in Caracas, Venezuela.
Today, the former home serves as a museum that houses 19th century furnishings and other objects that once belonged to the de Mier family. What’s left of the sugar mill (el trapiche) and distillery can be found on the property as well as the Bolivarian Museum of Contemporary Art which houses a collection of contemporary works by Latin American artists, an amphitheater, a library, and a botanical garden which is a living collection of a tropical dry forest.
Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino is where South America’s Libertador left this world. Here are some pictures from our visit…
The following are pictures from the collection at the Bolivarian Museum of Contemporary Art which is now a part of the house…
Plan Your Visit
Location: Avenida Libertador, Santa Marta, Colombia
Tel: +57 4332994 or +57 4332995
Cost: $20,000 Colombian pesos (approx. $7 USD) per person
*Featured Image: Source