Miguel de Guemes Day – June 17, 2023

Miguel de Güemes Day, observed every year on June 17, is a public holiday in the Latin American country of Argentina. It is a holiday dedicated to celebrating a famous son of the land who fought for the liberation of his country from foreign powers seeking to colonize it. Not only did Miguel de Güemes fight against the menacing Spanish troops, but he also fought against the crooked royalists occupying government posts in Argentina. Thus, the brave soldier not only took part in the emancipation of his country from Spanish colonialism but also became an armed activist against his own government’s exploitation.

History of Miguel de Guemes Day

Nearly 200 years after his passing, Argentinians decided to immortalize one of their own, who bravely fought for the nation’s freedom from Spanish colonists. The 19th-century military commander, Martín Miguel de Güemes, has been celebrated in Argentina, and particularly in his hometown of Salta, since 2006. Typical of Argentinians, known for enthusiastically expressing their emotions for their national figures, the day sees a lot of them coming out in their thousands to join the procession of Gauchos, depicting Güemes’ soldiers.

After the Argentine Revolution against the Royalist Peru and their loyalists, Güemes joined the military and was assigned to an army unit, which he eventually commandeered and fought against the Spanish with. Charged with defending the northwestern region of the nation, where his hometown of Salta was located, Güemes made sure that no Spanish forces succeeded in taking his hometown. He was appointed the governor of Salta in 1915, until those who were loyal to the royalists, connived and rebelled against him.

Military-wise, Güemes is credited with weakening the Spanish army on his front — an achievement that gave his superiors at Buenos Aires the time they needed to organize a large troop that fought and won battles in Chile and Peru. In 1820, Argentinian military warlords and royalists began to exploit each other’s weaknesses. The governor of Tucumán in the north struck a deal with landowners in Salta. With their help, Güemes was ousted from power and forced to flee. While escaping, he was shot in the back but managed to make it to his military camp, where he died 10 days later. Motivated by his last words, his soldiers retook Salta from the royalists exactly one month after his death. The choice of June 17 as Miguel de Güemes Day is because the hero died on that day.

Miguel de Guemes Day timeline

1785
Birth of Miguel de Güemes

Güemes is born in his hometown of Salta.

1808
Beginning of Military Career

The young man starts his military career by taking part in the defense of Buenos Aires against the British.

1810
Another Army Unit

Güemes joins the army unit that would later fight Spanish troops in Upper Peru.

1817
A Marked Victory

Güemes retakes Humahuaca from the royalist Marshal Jose de La Serna.

1821
Death

Güemes dies after suffering a fatal shot to the back while fleeing.

Miguel de Guemes Day FAQs

What caused the Argentine Revolution?

The Argentine Revolution was sparked by Argentinians’ hatred for Spanish colonialism and the loyalist government, which unfairly treated its people.

Why is the Argentine Revolution important?

The Argentine Revolution is important because it deposed corrupt government officials from power and paved the way for the true independence of the nation from the Spanish and their loyalists.

When did Spain invade Argentina?

Spanish forces took control of Argentina in the 16th century.

How to Observe Miguel de Guemes Day

  1. Commemorate him

    The best way to celebrate this day is to commemorate the life of the Güemes. This can be done in any way that one feels like.

  2. Recount his story

    Today is a good opportunity to learn the story behind the brave Güemes. Observe the Day by retracing his history from birth to death.

  3. Organize exhibitions depicting Güemes' life

    Whether it’s a military parade, a short play about the battles, or a simple procession, organize an event that showcases the life of the hero. Hang posters and Argentinian flags.

5 Interesting Facts About Argentina

  1. Home to southern hemisphere extremes

    Mount Aconcagua and Laguna del Carbon — both in Argentina — are, respectively, the highest and lowest points in the southern hemisphere.

  2. Shocking cow population

    Alongside four other countries, the number of cows in the country exceeds that of people — a feature that makes Argentina the nation with the best steak in the world.

  3. Pioneer of animated films

    ”El Apóstol,” produced in Argentina, is the first animated feature film to be produced in the world.

  4. Reverence for football

    Argentinians love football and their domestic legends such as Diego Armando Maradona, who has a church and religion dedicated to him — The Iglesia Maradoniana.

  5. A special exception

    There is a ban on naming a child ”Messi” in Rosario, Argentina.

Why Miguel de Guemes Day is Important

  1. It celebrates a national hero

    The holiday honors the achievements and life of a national hero, immortalizing him. Every Argentinian celebrates the memory of Miguel de Güemes.

  2. It reminds us of historical moments

    The day reminds us of some of the most important moments in the struggles of Argentina for freedom and stability. Remembering Miguel de Güemes’ legacy is central to this.

  3. It makes Argentinians proud

    Argentinians, especially Saltans, feel super-proud on this day. The day commemorates and celebrates an iconic son of the land, who fought for the country's liberation from colonialism.

Miguel de Guemes Day dates

YearDateDay
2023June 17Saturday
2024June 17Monday
2025June 17Tuesday
2026June 17Wednesday
2027June 17Thursday

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