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Battle of Boyaca – August 7, 2023

The Battle of Boyacá is commemorated every August 7 in Colombia. It is named after the critical fight that ensured Simón Bolívar’s victorious liberation of New Granada in 1819. The Battle of Boyacá is regarded as the beginning of northern South America’s independence. Despite years of conflict with Royalist armies, New Granada finally achieved its undisputed autonomy from the Spanish monarchy under the command of Brigadier Generals Francisco de Paula Santander and José Antonio Anzoátegui. The famous battle lasted for only two hours.

History of Battle of Boyaca

After military leader Simón Bolívar narrowly prevailed in the Battle of Vargas Swamp on August 5, 1819, South American forces from what are now Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia advanced to Bogotá, a Royalist stronghold. Bolívar’s conquest of the city hindered the republican army and gave its adversaries a strategic advantage. The Spanish forces, or the Newgranadian-Venezuelan loyalist soldiers, left Motavita for Casa de Teja but were intercepted by General José Antonio Anzoátegui and his army, who outnumbered the Spanish.

The South American troops or Patriots successfully approached the Royalist vanguard behind Casa de Piedra. The two forces clashed on the bridge, with the Spanish using bayonets to try and fight their way across the river. The Spanish eventually retreated, leaving their commander, Coronel Juan Taira, on the bridge, and the combat ended just after 4:00 p.m.

At the end of the battle, at least 1,600 men and several Spanish leaders, including Spanish Colonel José María Barreiro, were captured. This victory ensured New Granada’s independence and left the road to Bogotá and the city itself virtually undefended as Royalist survivors escaped to other areas. Brigadier Generals Francisco de Paula Santander and Anzoátegui were promoted to divisional generals, while Colonel Barreiro and 38 others were executed in Bogotá on October 11, 1819, on Santander’s orders following Bolívar’s Decree of War to the Death. El Puente de Boyacá, the bridge where the battle occurred, is no longer operational but has been preserved as a symbol of South America’s independence.

Battle of Boyaca timeline

1810
Colombia’s Journey to Independence Begins

Colombians stage an uprising in Bogotá.

August 5, 1819
Simón Bolívar Takes Charge

He leads the patriots’ fight for independence, successfully beating Spanish forces in Vargas Swamp.

August 7, 1819
The Battle of Boyacá

Patriot forces overwhelm Spanish Royalists on Boyacá Bridge.

1919
Bridge Reconstruction

President Marco Fidel Suárez rebuilds the severely damaged bridge.

Battle of Boyaca FAQs

Who invaded Colombia?

In 1499, Alonso de Ojeda, a Spanish explorer, was the first European to visit the lands that would become Colombia.

Who freed Colombia from Spain?

Simón Bolívar, a military leader and politician, was known as the “Liberator of America” for his role in fighting for the independence of South American colonies from Spain.

Why did Spain want land in Colombia?

Spanish colonizers seized South American territories to expand their empire beyond Europe.

How to Observe Battle of Boyaca

  1. Visit Colombia

    Colombia is the second-most biodiverse country. It has abundant natural resources, cutting-edge cities, and diverse cultural heritage. In recent years, the government has taken significant steps to secure peace with revolutionaries, reduce crime, and maintain its steadfast democratic institutions.

  2. Attend the festivals

    All around the country, festivals are held to celebrate and commemorate the Battle of Boyacá. Civilians and military personnel pay homage to the soldiers who fell in the battle.

  3. Visit Bogotá

    The nation’s capital is the focal point of the festivities. Parades are on nearly every street, and many tourists enjoy visiting the battle site on Boyocá bridge.

5 Interesting Facts About Colombia

  1. It’s a transcontinental country

    Colombia is primarily located in northern South America but also has territories in North America.

  2. It’s bordered by the Caribbean Sea

    The Caribbean Sea borders Colombia’s 1,000-mile northern coast.

  3. It’s beside two oceans

    Colombia is the only South American country home to coastlines and islands in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

  4. It’s highly populated

    The country is the third-most populated in Latin America, right after Mexico and Brazil.

  5. It’s close to the equator

    Because it’s so close to the equator, Colombia’s climate is categorized as tropical and isothermal.

Why Battle of Boyaca is Important

  1. It honors the fallen

    The Battle of Boyacá was a momentous occasion in Colombian history, and several South Americans gave up their lives for independence. This holiday honors their sacrifice and ensures that future generations remember it.

  2. It celebrates Colombian culture

    During the Battle of Boyacá holiday, locals take to the streets to hold parades and other festivities. We love seeing them celebrate the occasion in their unique way!

  3. It’s symbolic

    To honor the troops who fought for freedom, the Colombian president takes a symbolic tour of the area with military personnel and visits the Boyacá Bridge. It’s a meaningful tradition that honors the nation’s long history.

Battle of Boyaca dates

YearDateDay
2023August 7Monday
2024August 7Wednesday
2025August 7Thursday
2026August 7Friday
2027August 7Saturday

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