Independence Day in Colombia Date in the current year: July 20, 2024

Independence Day in Colombia The Republic of Colombia celebrates its Independence Day on July 20. It is a public holiday that commemorates the Colombian Declaration of Independence that eventually led to the creation of the Republic of Gran Colombia.

Before the arrival of Europeans, the present territory of Colombia was inhabited by Amerindian peoples. The main cultures of pre-Columbian Colombia included San Agustín, Tierradentro, Tumaco, Tolima, Nariño, Calima, Zenú, Quimbaya, Tairona, and Muisca.

The first Spanish explorers to arrive in the region were Alonso de Ojeda in 1499, Rodrigo de Bastidas in 1500, and Christopher Columbus in 1502. Santa Marta, founded on July 29, 1525, was the first Spanish settlement in Colombia. It was followed by Cartagena in 1533.

Spanish conquistadors began an expedition to the interior in a search for El Dorado, claiming the districts through which they passed. In 1538, the Spanish named the region the New Kingdom of Granada. It comprised modern-day Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama.

In 1542, New Granada became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru that encompassed most of the Spanish possessions in South America. Five years later, the region was designated as the Captaincy-General of New Granada within the viceroyalty. It become the Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. After a temporary removal, it was reestablished in 1739. Alongside what is now Colombia, the viceroyalty included the present territories of Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador.

In 1808, Spanish kings Charles IV and then Ferdinand VII were forced to abdicate by Napoleon Bonaparte, who designated his brother, Joseph, as King of Spain. In response, the Spanish established the Supreme Central and Governing Junta of the Kingdom that didn’t recognize Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain and acted as an emergency government.

Most colonial authorities in the Americas swore allegiance to the Junta. Despite their formal declarations of loyalty, many Spanish Americans wanted to establish their own juntas and gain more autonomy. And they finally got a chance to do this amid the new political crisis that erupted in 1810, following the dissolution of the Supreme Central Junta in favor of regency. The juntas swore loyalty to King Ferdinand VII but rejected the viceroyalty.

In Colombia, juntas were established in Cartagena, Santiago de Cali, Socorro, Pamplona, and finally in Santa Fe de Bogota, the seat of the bishop of the Viceroyalty of New Granada. On July 20, 1810, a group of revolutionaries established the Junta de Santa Fe. Although Colombia was established as a sovereign state only in 1819, it is the establishment of the Junta de Santa Fe that is regarded as the Colombian Declaration of Independence. Its anniversary is celebrated as Colombia Independence Day.

Independence Day is the national holiday of Colombia. It is celebrated with parades, marches, flag hoisting ceremonies, patriotic speeches, sports competitions, outdoor performances, parties, fireworks, and other events and activities held throughout the country.

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