Aug 06

7th of August: Celebrating the Battle of Boyaca in Colombia (and Bogotá’s birthday!)

The Battle of Boyaca
The Battle of Boyaca

On the 7th of August, 1819, the Battle of Boyacá took place in Colombia (then known as New Granada). This was the battle in which Colombia gained independence from the Spanish Monarchy, and it just so happens to be the day after Bogota was born. Double reason to celebrate.

Bogota today
Bogota today

In 1819 a combined republican army consisting of Colombians and Venezuelans (as well as some of the British Legion) took two hours to defeat the Spanish Royalist army in an area 150km from Bogotá, close to a bridge over the Teatinos River. This bridge (El Puente de Boyacá) is not in use any more, but remains a symbol of South American independence. It is the same bridge at which Bolivar’s men caught the Spanish approach, and the battle began.

Plaza Bolivar
Plaza Bolivar, Bogota

With just 66 fatalities compared to the Spanish total of 250 (and 1,600 captured), the victory was resounding and has gone down in history as one of Simon Bolivar’s greatest victories. Later in the same year Bolivar formed the congress of Gran Colombia, which promptly elected him president.

Overlooking the city of Bogota
Overlooking the city of Bogota

Tomorrow the battle is remembered with, funnily enough, a ‘puente’, which as well as a bridge is also the way to say a bank holiday. Celebrations kick off early in Bogota, since today (6th August) is the city’s birthday. This, of course, means that tonight there will undoubtedly be a great atmosphere in the city, including a great party at Armando Records. So be sure to join in the fun and wish Bogota a happy birthday!

Paul

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