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Battle of Boyacá

Colombia Public Holiday observed in Colombia

Battle of Boyaca

When is it?

This holiday is always celebrated on 7 August. If it falls on a weekend, it will not be observed on a weekday.

It marks the Battle of Boyacá on 7 August 1819 which proved to be a decisive victory in the war for independence from Spain.

History of the the holiday

In 1819, Colombia was known as New Grenada and involved in a war for independence from Spain.

Bogota was seen as a key strategic location for both the Republicans and the Royalists to hold, and so both armies were heading to secure the town.

Some 150km north of Bogota the forces met at a bridge over the Teatinos River. The Republican army consisted of Colombian and and Venezuelans, with support from the British Legion. The army was led by Brigadier Generals Francisco de Paula Santander and José Antonio Anzoátegui.

In just two hours they defeated the Royalist Colombian-Venezuelan forces.

Even though fighting with the Royalists continued for a few years, the victory at Boyacá is seen as the definitive battle in the war and the precursor for Colombia's eventual independence from Spain.

This bridge (El Puente de Boyacá) is no longer used, but has been kept as a reminder of South American independence.

How is it celebrated?

This national holiday is celebrated with parades and festivals throughout Colombia. The military will pay homage to the soldiers who fell in the battle.

In Bogota, an annual carnival celebrates its anniversary of Hispanic foundation in 1538 on 6 August, so celebrations in the city begin the day before.

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