Landing of the 33 Patriots Day is celebrated on the Monday closest to April 19 and this year it will be marked on April 17. It is celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of an iconic event in Uruguayan history. It is on this day that the military group Thirty-Three Orientals crossed a river to plant their flag on a war-torn region in Brazil and assert its dominance in the region. Today, it is marked as a federal holiday in the country. Traditionally, the day was celebrated on April 19 but this has since changed.
History of Landing of the 33 Patriots Day
Landing of the 33 Patriots Day is observed annually on the Monday closest to April 19. Uruguay’s rich and wide-spanning history is incomplete without a mention of the Landing of the 33 Patriots. It all started when military leaders Juan Antonio Lavalleja and Manuel Oribe joined forces to create a paramilitary group called the ‘Treinta y Tres Orientales,’ or Thirty-Three Orientals. The central purpose of the group was to eliminate occupying Brazilian forces from Uruguay’s boundaries and reassert military dominance in the region.
On April 19, 1825, the 33 fighters crossed the Plata River into Uruguay, entering the territory without alerting the Brazilian patrolling forces. At the crack of the dawn, they planted the red, white, and blue Flag of Thirty-Three Orientals and changed the course of Uruguayan history. The news of their valor traveled swiftly and sent a stern message to the Brazilian occupiers. The move launched a full-blown civil-disobedience movement, soon turning into the Cisplatine War, which went on for 500 days.
The Thirty-Three Orientals returned to safety and continued their awareness campaign. They knocked on doors, distributed fliers, and relayed critical information about the nature of Brazil’s occupation in Uruguay and the imminent “Brazilianization” of the country. On August 25, 1825, Uruguay declared complete independence from Brazil. The declaration was honored by the occupying forces in 1828. The proud and grateful nation of Uruguay celebrates the anniversary of the event as Landing of the 33 Patriots Day.
Landing of the 33 Patriots Day timeline
A military force of more than 10,000 soldiers invade Uruguay, formerly known as Banda Oriental, eventually annexing it for the Portuguese Empire of Brazil.
The Brazilian Empire becomes independent from Portugal, making Banda Oriental a province of Brazil.
The 33 Orientals, led by Juan Antonio Lavalleja, cross the Plata River and plant the group’s flag on the eastern bank of the Plata River.
Brazil finally acknowledges Uruguay's independence three years after the nation declares its sovereignty.
Landing of the 33 Patriots Day FAQs
When did Uruguay gain independence?
Uruguay declared independence in 1825 after kicking out Brazilian rulers from the country, but Brazil only acknowledged it in 1828.
What is Uruguay best known for?
Uruguay is best known for the production of renewable energy, with 98% of its energy production coming from renewable sources such as hydropower and wind power.
Who were the 33 landing patriots?
The 33 landing patriots were members of the Thirty-Three Orientals who had just returned from exile in Buenos Aires.
How to Observe Landing of the 33 Patriots Day
Fly the flag
To honor the day, fly the Uruguayan Flag. Recommit to the ideas of self-determination and freedom.
Read about it
The Uruguayan struggle for independence inspired the entire continent to take arms against unjust colonization and imperialism. Mark the day by reading about the vast Spanish empire and imperialism in South America.
Uruguay has splendid beaches, beautiful hike trails, gorgeous sunsets, scrumptious street food, and epic nightlife. The country has something for everyone.
5 Surprising Facts About Uruguay
It’s a tiny oasis in South America
Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America.
A dreamland to work in
Uruguay leads the continent in terms of progressive political and labor conditions.
A progressive nation
Uruguay is the only country in the world with legal same-sex marriage, abortion, and marijuana.
Flourishing animal life
Uruguay has so many animals that there are more sheep and cows than people there.
The best of both worlds
Uruguay's geopolitical location places it completely out of the tropics.
Why Landing of the 33 Patriots Day is Important
It honors the valor of exiled heroes
History remembers the frontline warriors who answered the calling for their motherlands and took upon this dangerous task. Tales of their bravery continue to inspire Latin Americans across the world.
It is an inspirational story
This story is common among folks in Uruguay and has been passed down to every generation. The celebration of the anniversary reaffirms the sovereignty of Uruguay while also adding to the richness and relevance of the nation’s history.
Freedom isn’t free
Two centuries ago, 33 brave men risked their lives for their homeland. If not for their courage, Uruguay would not have become the flourishing and dynamic democracy it is now. On April 19, we celebrate the valor of the patriots and take a pledge to fight for this democracy.
Landing of the 33 Patriots Day dates