His prolific life could be divided in three periods:
1. Colony (Living in Caracas between 1781 and 1810). He was known for his early writings and translations, edited the Caracas Gazette and held important offices in the government of the Captaincy General of Venezuela. He accompanied Alexander von Humboldt in a part of his Latin American expedition (1800) and was for a short time Simón Bolívar's teacher.
2. Independence War (Living in London between 1810 and 1829). As First Officer of the Foreign Secretariat after the coup on April 19, 1810, he was sent to London as Diplomatic Representative and holds that office till 1813. There he meets Francisco de Miranda and becomes a frecuent visitor of his library in Grafton Street, as well as of the British Museum. He carried diplomatic affairs for Chile and Colombia. As founder of the American Society, he promoted the publication of two important magazines: "The American Library" (1823, "La Biblioteca Americana") and "The American Repertoire" (1826-1827, "El Rerpertorio Americano"). One of his most famous poems "Silva to the Agriculture of the Torrid Zone" ("Silva a la Agricultura de la Zona Tórrida") was written in that period, in 1826. It should be part of a long epic Poem, "America", which he never finished.
3. Government and Consolidation of the Spanish American nationalities (Living in Chile between 1829 and 1865). In 1830, he was designated Rector of the Santiago College and became founder editor of "El Araucano". He held different government offices in Chile, and founded the Universidad de Chile in 1842, being its Rector the rest of his life. Important Works in this Period include: