National Sovereignty Day is an Argentine holiday observed on every fourth Monday (or ideally, the closest one to November 20) in November — this year on November 22. Like other holidays celebrating battles, National Sovereignty Day in Argentina marks the anniversary of the Battle of Vuelta de Obligado — but there’s a twist to it. The Argentine army did not win the battle. Yet the day is nationally celebrated as a public holiday with citizens taking pride in their country’s historic defeat, which went on to become their triumph. They bask in the glory of the statement — “lose the battle but win the war.”
When is National Sovereignty Day Argentina 2021?
National Sovereignty Day is celebrated on the fourth Monday in November, this year on November 22.
History of National Sovereignty Day Argentina
The Battle of Vuelta de Obligado took place on November 20, 1845, when the Anglo-French navy invaded the Paraná River. As the Anglo-French navy went against the will of the Argentine Confederation, a small Argentine army decided to oppose it in a battle. Although the attacking forces emerged victorious on the battleground, the wounds of the fallen soldiers got the best of the enemy’s troops.
Britain and French armies suffered such heavy losses through the whole military campaign that they were forced to surrender on the bargaining table, requesting Juan Manuel de Rosas, the Governor of Buenos Aires, for a peace treaty — despite being victorious.
Consequently, a treaty was signed, marking the day as a historical win for the lost Argentine troops.
National Sovereignty Day is also remembered as a key event in Argentina’s historical calendar in which the country fought against the colonial powers and protected its regions from domination. Although November 20 was enacted as a national observance in 1974, the celebration of the fourth Monday only recently became a national holiday in 2010.
National Sovereignty Day Argentina timeline
Driven by a commercial interest in Uruguay, the British and French use the Paraná River as their route for trading.
The country puts a navigational barrier on the Paraná River, leading to the onset of war on November 20.
In 1974, Argentina recognizes November 20 as a national observance to celebrate the lost war.
Every fourth Monday, the closest to November 20, is a national public holiday in Argentina and the day on which the annual inaugural celebration takes place.
National Sovereignty Day Argentina FAQs
What is National Sovereignty Day in Argentina?
It commemorates the day the Argentine army lost against the Anglo-French navy but still won the war since its opponents eventually had to surrender to a peace treaty.
What is the most popular holiday in Argentina?
25 de Mayo — National Day “is one of the most important holidays in Argentina. It is celebrated as Argentina’s independence day but is actually celebrating a series of events that lead up to the May Revolution and ultimately Argentina’s independence from Spain,” according to Vamos Spanish Academy.
What is national sovereignty?
The Free Dictionary by Farlex defines national sovereignty as: “The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which an independent state is governed and from which all specific political powers are derived; the intentional independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign interference.”
How to Observe National Sovereignty Day Argentina
Learn about it
If you’re a foreigner, spend some time learning more about Argentina’s important events in history. If you're a citizen of Argentina, google the Battle of Vuelta de Obligado to learn more about it. It’s sometimes fun to read about the battles.
Recreate Argentine cuisine
If you've never tried Argentine cuisine, now is the day. Try their national dish, grilled meat, also known as ‘asado,’ or the crumbly shortbread-like biscuits, ‘alfajores’ — although these can be tricky to bake!
Mention it on social media
Tell everyone about the surprising fact that Sovereignty Day, in fact, was a defeat!
5 Facts About Argentina That Will Blow Your Mind
It invented radio broadcasting
Argentina is one of the first countries in the world to have had the first radio broadcast in 1920.
Argentine women get the most plastic surgeries
It’s clearly the most image-conscious country in the world.
It also has the most psychologists
A survey revealed that there are 145 psychologists per 100,000 residents — the highest anywhere in the world.
It’s one of the largest countries in the world
Argentina is ranked as the eighth-largest country in the world.
It was the home to the oldest-known dinosaur species
Argentina and Brazil are prime locations for paleontologists, with the oldest-known fossils of species of dinosaurs being found here.
Why National Sovereignty Day Argentina is Important
It fought against colonial rule
The Argentine Confederation fought against Britain and France for breaking into the Paraná River — a region that belonged to their country. They fought to push away the domination.
It’s a rare holiday that celebrates defeat
How many other holidays do we have that celebrate a lost battle? National Sovereignty Day is a day that shows celebration is not exclusive to victories — some triumphs go beyond that.
And… who doesn’t love Lionel Messi?
Every time we mention Argentina, we think of one name — Messi, the international football star. We'd support him and his country any day.
National Sovereignty Day Argentina dates