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    Simon Bolivar issues a circular during the "war to the death"

    Simon Bolivar Printed Circular Signed as president of the Second Republic of Venezuela. One page of a bifolium in Spanish, 7.75" x 9.5", Caracas, Venezuela, August 10, 1813. Only days after taking Caracas and becoming president, the Venezuelan political and military leader boldly adds his full signature with paraph, both being large and bold. In this circular, Bolivar notifies the citizenry of the appointment of three new secretaries in his government: Antonio Muños y Tébar (foreign affairs secretary), Colonel Ramon Garcia de Sena (military secretary), and Rafael Diego Merida (justice secretary). The circular further orders that these three new appointees had full authority in their positions. Less than a year later in June 1814, Tébar and Sena died at the Battle of La Puerta. Other period annotations exist on the circular. Some minor ink spotting. Age-toned paper with folds. Ten small pinholes near the right edge.

    Of special interest is the final paragraph which states that the circular was issued from Caracas on August 10, 1813, "the third of Independence, and first war to death [la guerra a muerte]." Weeks earlier on June 15, 1813, Bolivar issued his "Decree of War to the Death," allowing atrocities to be committed against any Spanish citizens in South American not helping the cause of South American independence from Spanish rule. The phrase "la guerra a muerte," printed at the end of this circular, was used after the June decree as a euphemism for those atrocities, freeing South Americans from charges for having committed them in the past or future. As a result of the "War to the Death," brutalities on both sides abounded. Years later, Bolivar declared himself dictator of what was known as Gran Colombia, consisting of present day Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela, and the northern portions of Peru and Brazil. After he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt and Venezuela and Ecuador seceded from the "union" in 1830, Bolivar resigned, disillusioned and in poor health.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    9th Thursday
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