My name is Sarah E. Becker. From the moment I was born, my heart has been filled with pride and a strong desire for the freedom of me and my fellow countrymen. My impatience for the breakage of the tyrannical strings that Spain holds us by is growing larger. Questions always fill my head, yet I can not seem to answer a single one of them. What has happened to this once great country? Where has our independence gone off to? How much longer are we to wait until we can take back the land which is rightfully ours?
I remember how I used to ask my father these questions when i was younger. He didn't approve of the way I thought at first, he thought it was "un-lady" like. However I thought it was unfair that my brothers were allowed to talk of rebellion and anger towards Spain to my father, but i was not because I was a woman. However, as I grew older and out of my childhood, my father began to be convinced that I was not the same as any other women here. I was stronger, more determined, more enthusiastic. My belief in freedom is strong, and even my father can sense it when he looks at me.
Now that I've finally hit the age 18, he came to the decision that since I am no longer a child, he will finally tell me the history of my country.
Apparently, for hundreds of years, Spain have held control over Colombia; a country we should be calling our own but which we lack the independence and freedom to do so. Yet, the desire to maintain ourselves in ownership and to call this country our own is growing large. Everyone is already becoming impatient with the fact that no one's come up to argue against the Spanish government already. My brothers are thinking about starting a riot as a protest against the laws. It's a complicated situation, especially with the fact of how we are disputing with the Spaniards for the title of ownership over Colombia, yet at the same time, we are struggling to maintain ourselves in a country that has given us birth in the opposition of the invaders.
What bothers me most is that Spain is merely taking away our pride and freedom for their own benefit. My father told me that the only reason why the Colombia was conquered during the Spanish Conquest was because of the gold those greedy Spaniards found on our land. The beginning of the Spanish Conquest was during 1535. When father told me that Indian tribes had inhabited this land way before the Spanish came, I was surprised. I don't think everyone even knew this. It raised my fury even more because this means that the Indians were the first settlers of Colombia, and they were still taken captives on their own native home! These days, its the Indians who take the worst treatment from the Spanish. They are apparently the lowest of the racial classes. It infuriates me how the Native Indians are treated now by the Spaniards is no different from the treatment they received from the Aztec and Inca masters. How is it that they are the ones forced to be shouldered with the heaviest burdens; why should they be denied in shaping their own fate and is rather made into slaves in their own ancestral homes? Who are the Spaniards to decide OUR fates? The whole thing is absurd. Their increased taxes just to fund their home-front war expenses is ridiculous enough as well!Since the day of Colombia's first settlement on Hispaniola, Indians have been protesting subsequently, but without success; they have been protesting against the unfair laws and the Spanish wrongdoings. Now it is our turn as well to speak out.
I believe its time that we finally start thinking of ways to fight back against the Spanish. Many people will agree with what I have to say. I feel that a revolution may come soon, as I can tell from all of the people around me are getting restless. I hope that this time, our voices will be heard throughout.
Today I joined the underground propaganda committee in Bogota, for I feel that with a pen i can spread ideas more than with a sword. Propaganda is actually one of the most important aspects of fighting a war because it instills a feeling of pride. However, I have been assigned to the "hate propaganda". Basically, I have to show my country how bad Spain is, even if that means stretching the truth. Now, for any moral person this isn't the job for you. I think however that it is clearly a "someone has to do it" job, and if that person is me then so be it. The fact of the matter is I would do anything for my country and if that means mocking the Spanish government or creating slurs to throw at soldiers, then I am happy to do it.
Also, when we win this war, Bolivar will thank us for our great work in giving our great nation hope and courage in its time of need. so whatever it is that Colombia needs is what i will offer. Hopefully, I will be able to meet Bolivar, i hear that he is a man of great speaking ability, and that he is very noble.
I now know, from reading the ideas and words of my peers why we are fighting. It's not just because we hate Spain, with the help of these words our people do not fight blinded by hate anymore. They will believe in our country and they will believe in the ideals and principles that Colombia holds itself to. Through my actions and the actions of people like me, we can not only beat Spain but we can also unite Colombia.
Although I may be unsatisfied with my role in the machine that is this revolution, I truly believe that we are doing the right thing. I see now that Spain should not have imposed such harsh taxes on a country that barely has a leg to stand on, and they should not have turned Colombia into just another troop outpost in the new world.
Victory is finally ours! I understand, that it's been two years since I've last written to you, but these past long years have been years of a great but noble struggle with Spain that finally resulted in a partial success! The year 1824 will be forever remembered, for that was the year Colombia had finally gained all of independence from Spain. I believe the one to be given most credit for this fortunate event is to General Simon Bolivar. When he declared to this nation, in 1819, that he was going to be our President, pride and joy ran through our veins. I was with my father when we heard this news; I can still remember those very words he said to me. "Sarah, through this news, I can already feel the freedom in the air. I never stopped believing our country would finally be free, and without you this could not be possible. You kept the faith in me and I am proud of you for that, my daughter."
Then, my brothers around me started to tell me the story of Simon's childhood and life before he came as our savior and protecter.
Simon Bolivar was born in Caracas on July 24, 1783, in a rich family that owned many land and slaves. Both his parents died when he was still at a young age; when he turned 7 years old, he was turned to tutors to be taught. One of the tutors that he looked up to the most was Simon Rodriguez. It was Rodriguez's fiery persuasiveness that enlightened Simon and made him realize his own inner fire burning in him. He once said, that when he visited Rome, years later, he climbed the Aventine Hill, fell upon his knees, and called God to witness that his true destiny was to break the chains that bound this nation to Spain.
In 1810, Bolivar, while he was the leader of the rebels in Caracus, he was given a task in London to secure the British aid. It was a vain attempt, but Simon took in another task on his own, and persuaded the agent of liberation, Francisco de Miranda, to return and help in with the rebellion. By working together, the two men assembled a congress and a constitution was drafted and promulgated. July 1811, the congress declared Venezuela independent from Spain.
In October, 1813, Bolivar was solemnly acclaimed as the Liberator, and in January, 1814, he was named dictator.
I was surprised to hear such determination from one man. His achievement is known throughout Colombia now, and it still amazes me how fortunate we all are to have come across this one person who can change our lives. Of course there are other revolutionary leaders that also take responsibility in bringing independence to Colombia. Antonio Narino for once. He took part in the uprising at Bogota on July 20th, 1810. This revolution lasted nine years, before Simon Bolivar secured the independence of Gran Colombia.
This is not Sarah E. Becker, but her great-grandson, Joseph Larwood. My great-grandmother had passed away on the year of 1869, when she was 84 years old. I'd found this journal of hers a couple days ago, kept in the box above my attic, and I find the last two entries of her an intrigue. I've never really known the history of Colombia, and how it gained freedom from Spain, but reading her words make me realize how much important this must have been for her when she was just near my age.
In memory of her, I want to end her diary with a final entry that details what resulted after the Colombian revolution. I suppose its the least I can do, to honor her memory.
Of course, after our national hero, Simon Bolivar and his armies defeated the Spanish, the Independent Republic of Gran (which included Columbia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela) was formed. Unfortunatly, the Greater Columbia falls apart in 1828, and in 1830, Venezuela and Ecuador separate into two nations. All of the countries in the Independent Republic of Gran falls apart; only Columbia remains. For the next hundred years, Columbia went through a long history of political assassinations, guerrilla activities, and drug wars. Conservative and Liberal parties began to form. Conservative parties only favored democratic centralism, and the participation held by the church in government and education. Liberals favored fedarlism, antidericalism, and same measure of social legislation.
There were also many civil wars that occured after Colombia's independence. One of the wars occured in 1899, five years after the death of Colombia's President, Nunez. This civil war was called "The war of Thousand Days". It was violence that broke out for three years. Many were killed in this war until finally the Conservatives became victorious. There was also drug wars, in which the United States gave support to the Colombian government with providing military equipment to help rid Colombia of the drug dealers.
Though I've never been in Colombia, I understand the passion and determination my great-grandmother once felt before.
All I want, is to fill in the gap she'd never had the chance to fill in, and show what happened to Colombia after the revolution. It was her dream to break free from the Spaniards, and since it had, I think she at least deserves to get the last part of her diary finished.
(1) "." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 02 Dec. 2009 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/126016/Colombia >.
(2) "Encyclopedia-Columbia." Infoplease: Encyclopedia, Almanac, Atlas, Biographies, Dictionary, Thesaurus. Free online reference, research & homework help. — Infoplease.com. 2007. Columbia University Press. 2 Dec. 2009. http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/world/A0857443.html
(3) "Map of Colombia - South America Countries, Colombia Map Facts History - Worldatlas.com." World Atlas of Maps Flags and Geography Facts and Figures - Maps. http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/samerica/co.htm
(4) Johnson, Harvey L. "History of Simon Bolivar." Welcome to Bolivar Missouri - Local Interests, Business, Schools, and News! http://www.bolivarmo.com/history.htm
(5) "Columbia History Timeline." History Timelines. http://www.history-timelines.org.uk/places-timelines/11-colombia-history-timeline.htm
(6) "Visit Colombia . info - Facts about Colombia - History." Ecotet - Escuela Colombiana de Hoteleria y Turismo. Columbian People. 2001. http://www.ecotet.com/visitcolombia/history.htm
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