06 August 2016

Happy 478th Birthday Bogota and the Battle of Boyacá Celebrations!

Posted in Blog

Almost 300 years separate the historical events that took place, but the 6th and 7th of August are incredibly important historical dates for the city of Bogota. This year the dates fall on a Saturday and Sunday, marking a weekend full of celebrations and festivities across Colombia’s capital

Happy 478th Birthday Bogota and the Battle of Boyacá Celebrations!

On Saturday, 6th August, Bogota is almost five hundred years old! The indigenous muisca tribe ruled by the Zipa chieftain had indeed long sustained a large population on the plains and foothills way before the Spanish arrived. But it was Spanish occupation and settlement that formally occurred on August 6, 1538, which marked the birth of a city. Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada founded the settlement close to the present day location of Chorro de Quevedo fountain in what is now Bogota’s colonial La Candelaria neighbourhood. The site was named “Santa Fe de Bacatá” (after Santa Fé, his birthplace in Spain and Bacatá, the native name for the locality). “Bacatá” soon became the modern Bogotá by the time it was made the capital of the vice-royalty of New Granada and would develop into one of the prominent centres of Spanish colonial power and civilisation in South America.

To celebrate the 478th anniversary of the capital, Saturday festivities are planned throughout the city and a big party featuring a music concert will be performed. The presentation will not only be a tribute to the capital on its birthday, but a manifestation of diversity and cultural richness that characterises the city of almost seven million Bogotanos. It is expected that some 10,000 people will gather for the concert to celebrate, listen to popular artists and sing to the city on its birthday.

Happy 478th Birthday Bogota and the Battle of Boyacá Celebrations!

On Sunday, 7th August, Colombia honours Simón Bolivar and his republican troops on the 197th anniversary of their victory in the most important battle in the fight for independence. The Battle of Boyacá took place on 7th August 1819 on the banks of the Teatinos river, 110kms outside Bogotá. Brigadier Generals Francisco de Paula Santander and José Antonio Anzoátegui led a combined republican army of Colombians and Venezuelans, complemented by the British Legion, in a surprise attack to defeat Royalist forces in only two hours. Simultaneously, Simón Bolivar’s forces arrived from Paipa, after winning the battle of Vargas Swamp, and commenced a flank attack on the remaining Spanish rearguard. At least 1,600 troops, including Spanish Colonel José Maria Barreiro and several commanders were captured. The battle claimed two hundred Royalist soldier’s lives and only 13 Republican troops were killed. Victory left the road to Bogotá and the city itself practically undefended and meant New Granada’s liberation was assured.

Numerous monuments including a stone Boyacá Bridge and a statue where Simón Bolivar holds the Colombian flag close to his heart have been erected around the battlefield to commemorate the historical triumph which granted Colombia independence.

A decree in 1925 stated that August 7th would permanently become a National Flag Holiday in Colombia. This Sunday will be no different and the proud people of Colombia will fly the national flag from their homes between 8am and 6pm.

Wherever you’re tuning in from, have a great weekend and please join us at Uncover Colombia in wishing Bogotá a Happy Birthday!

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The Uncover Colombia Team