The House Where El Libertador Left this World

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…

Memorial

Monument to Bolivar

Inside the monument

Inside the monument

Flags just outside of the monument. Jave struck his Usain Bolt pose when he saw the Jamaican flag.

Flags just outside of the monument. Jave struck his Usain Bolt pose when he saw the Jamaican flag.

There are HUGE, fast as lightning iguanas everywhere around the property...yuck!

There are HUGE, fast as lightning iguanas everywhere around the property…yuck!

Entering the house

Entering the house

santa-marta-quinta-de-san-pedro-alejandrino

santa-marta-quinta-de-san-pedro-alejandrino

(l) Jave outside of the kitchen; (r) Inside of the kitchen

The bathroom...the toilet is the blue bowl in the drawer.

The bathroom…the toilet is the blue bowl in the drawer.

santa-marta-quinta-de-san-pedro-alejandrino

A portrait of Bolivar on his deathbed

Our Spanish-speaking guide. I kept telling her, "hablame mas depacio, por favor" ("speak to me slowly, please"). She'd slow down a bit and eventually speed things up again. She was a kind guide though.

Our Spanish-speaking guide. I kept telling her, “háblame más depacio, por favor” (“speak to me slowly, please”). She’d slow down a bit and eventually speed things up again. So I only picked up on things she said here and there. We smiled and nodded a lot. She was a kind guide though.

santa-marta-quinta-de-san-pedro-alejandrino

santa-marta-quinta-de-san-pedro-alejandrino

santa-marta-quinta-de-san-pedro-alejandrino

El trapiche (sugar mill)

El trapiche (sugar mill)

The amphitheater

The amphitheater

The following are pictures from the collection at the Bolivarian Museum of Contemporary Art which is now a part of the house…

santa-marta-quinta-de-san-pedro-alejandrino

santa-marta-quinta-de-san-pedro-alejandrino

santa-marta-quinta-de-san-pedro-alejandrino

A close look at my favorite piece

A close look at my favorite piece

Bolivar's spirit

Bolivar’s spirit…it’s alive and well throughout South America

Plan Your Visit
Location: Avenida Libertador, Santa Marta, Colombia
Tel: +57 4332994 or +57 4332995
Email: info@museobolivariano.org.co
Website
Cost: $20,000 Colombian pesos (approx. $7 USD) per person

*Featured Image: Source

PINNABLE

santa-marta-quinta-de-san-pedro-alejandrino

Are you familiar with the legacy of Simón Bolivar?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin