Happy Colombian Independence Day! Each year, Colombia observes this national holiday on 20th July in honour of the events of the same day in 1810. An uprising occurred in Bogota that is considered to be the catalyst that paved the way to breaking free of Spanish rule.
Communities and families come together to celebrate with feasts, parades, parties, music and more! If you’re planning on transferring funds home as a festive treat for friends or family, Azimo can help you save money as you send it with our super low fees.
So, here’s to Colombia as we take a look back at the interesting history of the special day and how the fight for independence started – with a flower vase.
Years of unrest
The Spanish first found and colonised Colombia in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
Resentment and unhappiness grew amongst the Colombian population for years under Spanish rule. All the tension finally came to a head when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain and put his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne in 1809. He restricted the country’s trade and favoured high Spanish nobles, not giving any voice or power to the Colombian people.
All throughout the region, rebellions sprang up and declarations of military governments (called “juntas”) occurred. It was only a matter of time before it would reach the capital in Bogota.
Freedom fighters and the flower vase
The people of Bogota hatched a two part plan to spark a riot and take control of the government. The first part was that a selection of Colombians were to ask a wealthy Spanish merchant, Joaquin Gonzalez Llorente, for a flower vase. The second part was to happen at the same time, where a man named Joaquin Camacho would go to the Viceroy palace and request a meeting about Colombian independence.
The trick was this: they predicted – correctly – that both parties would be met with a rude refusal. The freedom fighters then took to the streets, shouting about the disrespectfulness of the Spanish. After all these years of unrest, and juntas already forming across the country, the population quickly joined to incite a riot.
Patriots, now backed by angry mobs, headed to the palace where the Viceroy Amar y Borbon was. He had little choice but to now meet their demands: Borbon signed a decree that permitted local councils to rule, thereby limiting Spanish rule.
This semi-independence later became permanent in 1819 with the help of freedom fighters Simon Bolivar and Francisco de Paula at the Battle of Boyaca. Though this didn’t occur until 9 years after the Bogota events, people observe 20th July as the day that truly started the break down the Spanish rule.
Now, every year huge events take place throughout the country: feasts, parades, parties as well as the famous Grand National Concert. Also, the house of the wealthy merchant, Joaquin Gonzalez Llorente, is now known as “20th July Museum”, where different documents and artefacts from the time of Colombia’s independence can be viewed.
Let your family and loved ones celebrate in style this Colombian Independence Day – send them money now that they can pick up instantly!