Colombian Independence Day Explained

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Twitter: @AndreaGompf

In 1810, what we now know as Colombia Querida was called New Granada, and it was one of the final holdouts for Spanish rule in the region. The overall mood of the people could best be described as “not feeling it.” Tiny tyrant Napoleon had recently invaded Spain and put his brother on the Spanish throne, causing most criollos in Spanish America – who were often not allowed to hold high offices and whose trade was restricted – to be like “um, no.” Meanwhile, rebel movements had already sprung up in several of the other territories that made up the New Granada viceroyalty, including Ecuador, Venezuela, and the city of Cartagena.

Pressure for independence was mounting, and on July 20, 1810, Colombian patriots hatched a plan: they would incite a riot in Bogotá. Given the climate of unhappiness and numerous grievances against the Spanish, it didn’t really take much to make this happen. Basically, all they had to do was run through the streets accusing Spanish merchant Joaquín Gonzalez Llorente and Viceroy Antonio José Amar y Borbón of being impolite to Antonio Villavicencio, a well-known patriot sympathizer. Upon hearing of this offense, the people were all, “HOW RUDE. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, GTFO YOU SASSY DOMINEERING SPANIARDS.”

They flooded the streets in revolt, eventually reaching viceroy Amar y Borbón’s doorstep. Faced with the unruly mob, he had no choice but to sign an act that permitted a local ruling council and eventually independence.

The events of this day, now celebrated as Colombia’s Independence Day, were actually only the first official step on Colombia’s long path to freedom – a path that culminated in 1819 when Simon Bolívar marched into Bogotá like a bawse. But they were central in beginning a movement for colonial independence that would spread to all of Spain’s other colonies in the Americas.

Here at Remezcla, we have a message for nuestros hermanos colombianos: ¡Feliz Día de la Independencia! Que lo disfruten con un aguardiente or maybe some sweet nail art: