Simón Bolívar's Quest for Glory

By Richard W. Slatta; Jane Lucas De Grummond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
Delirium over Manuela
and Chimborazo, 1822

With Colombia and Venezuela secure, Bolívar turned his vision south toward the western coast of South America. Bolívar determined to defeat the Royalist bastion at Pasto, 320 miles southwest of Bogotá near the border with Ecuador. That stronghold had defeated every Patriot army sent against it the past ten years. Only winding trails, not roads, penetrated the mountainous province of Pasto that sheltered the town of the same name, the only sizable population between Popayán to the north and Quito 130 miles farther south. Tough, fanatical Royalists inhabited this isolated, theocratic enclave. They believed the king of Spain to be God’s regent on earth; Patriots served the Devil. Beginning in December 1821, Bolívar tried forgeries and propaganda to win over religious and political leaders in Pasto. His various ruses all failed. He resigned himself to attacking the mountain stronghold and began assembling an army in Cali. They would march northwest to the nearby port of Buenaventura, then sail the eight hundred miles to join José Antonio Sucre and his one thousand Colombians at Guayaquil, Ecuador. Sucre had found a strong San Martín party there but not the Argentine’s army.

Bolívar saw San Martín as a real threat to his own quest for glory, a concern he confided to Santander. “I do not wish to go [to Peru] if glory does not follow me…. I do not wish to lose the fruits of eleven years through one defeat, and I do not wish San Martín to see me other than as I deserve

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