The oath of the 33 Orientals, by Juan Manuel Blanes
Dates of Landing of the 33 Patriots Day
Landing of the 33 Patriots Day is a national holiday in Uruguay, always celebrated on 19 April.
It commemorates the return of Juan Lavelleja and his 33 exiled Uruguayan fighters in 1825, who took an oath to free Uruguay from Brazilian control.
The patriots are sometimes known as the 33 Orientals as Uruguay was known as the the Band Oriental ('Eastern Bank') of the Rio de la Plata ('River Plate') - the western bank being Argentina.
The start of the nineteenth century was a turbulent time for the Banda Oriental with possession passing through English, Spanish and Portuguese hands in less than a decade.
In 1820, the region's anticolonial hero, José Gervasio Artigas was forced into exile to Argentina, and by 1822, Banda Oriental had become a province of Brazil following its independence from Portugal.
in 1825, a group of Uruguayan fighters who had been exiled with Artigas returned under the leadership of Juan Antonio Lavalleja, a compatriot of José Gervasio Artigas. They crossed the Plata river landing on Agraciada Beach on the eastern side on 19 April. There they planted a flag of blue, white and red horizontal bars, colours associated with the Banda Oriental and took an oath to fight for independence for Uruguay.
In August 1825, Uruguay declared its independence from Brazil, instigating the Argentina- Brazil War. The conflict lasted until August 1828, when a British negotiated a resolution to the war that led to Brazil recognising Uruguay's independence.