Battle of Boyacá

The Battle of Boyacá (1819), was the decisive battle that ensured the success of Bolívar's campaign to liberate New Granada. The battle of Boyaca is considered the beginning of the independence of the North of South America, and is considered important because it led to the victories of the battle of Carabobo in Venezuela, Pichincha in Ecuador, and Junín and Ayacucho in Peru.[1]

New Granada acquired its definitive independence from the Spanish Monarchy, although fighting with royalist forces would continue for years.[2]:232–235

Brigadier Generals Francisco de Paula Santander and José Antonio Anzoátegui led a combined republican army of Newgranadians to defeat in two hours a Royalist Newgranadian forces led by Spanish Colonels José María Barreiro and Francisco Jiménez.

The battle occurred 150 km from Bogotá in the Andes Mountains, in a place known as Casa de Teja, close to a bridge over the Teatinos River and 3 roads heading to Samaca, Motavita and Tunja, an area which is now part of the Boyacá Department.

Battle of Boyacá
Part of Bolivar in New Granada, Colombian War of Independence
Batalla de Boyaca de Martin Tovar y Tovar

Painting of the Battle of Boyaca, which resulted in the independence of Colombia from Spain; by Martín Tovar y Tovar. Exhibited in the Federal Palace, Caracas, Venezuela.
DateAugust 7, 1819
Result Decisive Republican victory

Flag of New Granada (1814-1816).svg Neogranadians

Flag of Spain (1785–1873, 1875–1931).svg Spanish Monarchy
Commanders and leaders
Simón Bolívar
Flag of New Granada (1814-1816).svg Francisco de Paula Santander
Flag of Spain (1785–1873, 1875–1931).svg José María Barreiro
2850[1] 2670[1]
Casualties and losses
13 dead, 53 injured.[1] over 100 casualties, 150 injured and 1600 prisoners.[1]


Battle of boyaca
1. Map of the Bolívar's campaign to liberate New Granada; 2. Battle of Boyacá's day; 3. Disposition of troops

On August 7, 1819, after Bolívar secured a narrow victory at Vargas Swamp Battle, both armies headed towards Bogotá, which was lightly defended. The capture of the capital in the hands of the Patriot Army would effectively cut off the advance of the republican army and give the strategic initiative to its opponents. At 6:00 a.m., the Spanish forces (Newgranadians-Venezuelan loyalist soldiers) departed from Motavita towards Casa de Teja, a distance of only 25 km which the Spaniards completed in 7 hours 30 minutes, at an average speed of 18 minutes per kilometer. At 10:00 a.m. General Santander's forces departed from Tunja toward Casa de Piedra and the road to Bogota. The Patriot forces completed the 16 km in 4 hours (at an average rate of 15 minutes per kilometer).

The Republican forces split in two: the vanguard reached Casa de Teja at 1:30 p.m., while the rearguard stopped a kilometer and a half behind to get some rest. Shortly before 2:00 p.m., Capitan Andres Ibarra and his forces spotted Casa de Teja and the vanguard of the Republican Army. The Spaniards spotted him too, and Coronel Sebastian Dias, chief of the vanguard of the Spanish army ordered to follow and engage what he believed was only a small observation force. They returned and General Santander ordered Lieutenant Coronel Paris to attack the Republican forces.

The Spanish vanguard crossed a strategic bridge over the Teatinos River and took attack positions there. Meanwhile, the full force of the Patriot army under Santander had reached Casa de Piedra. The Spanish rearguard was still several kilometers behind, so General Anzoátegui ordered to block the way between the vanguard and the rearguard of the Spanish forces. The rearguard, outnumbered, retreated to a small hill close to Casa de Piedra.

Simón Bolívar's forces arrived from Paipa, after the Vargas Swamp battle. He ordered a flank attack on the Spanish rearguard: battalions Barcelona and Bravos de Paez were to attack on the right side while the Legion Britanica and Rifles Battalion attacked on the left. The enemy assumed battle positions: in the center were three artillery pieces surrounded by royal battalions 12 and 22, and on the wings, cavalry units. Arthur Sandes commander of Rifles Battalion charges the royalist artillery. Outnumbered, the Spanish rear guard began to retreat without any clear direction. Therefore, Bolívar ordered lancers units to attack the center of the Republican infantry, while a full cavalry squadron ran away from the battle via the road towards Samaca. Bareiro attempted to break the blockage of the Patriot forces and rendezvous with the Spanish vanguard but heavy enemy fire forced him and his forces to surrender.

Meanwhile, one kilometer and a half behind Casa de Piedra, the Patriot vanguard managed to ford the river and was approaching the rear of the Republican vanguard force. Once it reached them, the vanguard forces engaged in battle, while the rearguard attempted to cross the river by force, using bayonets. The Spanish forces fled, leaving on the bridge their leader, Coronel Juan Taira. As the assembly of enemy prisoners began, the battle was over shortly after 4:00 p.m.

At least 1,600 troops and several of the Spanish commanders, including Barreiro himself, were captured at the end of the battle. New Granada's liberation was assured by this victory, which left the road to Bogotá and the city itself practically undefended, as the survivors headed towards other locations. After the battle, Santander and Anzoátegui were promoted to Divisional General. On the orders of Santander, Colonel Barreiro and 38 more were executed in Bogotá on October 11, 1819, because of the Decree of War to the Death.

The bridge in question, el Puente de Boyacá, is no longer in use but it has been maintained as a symbol of the Independence of South America.

Historical consequences and legacy

Puente Boyaca Nov 09 2005
The Boyaca Bridge
  • The final defeat of Royal forces in the New Kingdom of Granada and the weakening of the rest of the forces in all America.
  • The end of Spanish control over the American provinces, with the escape of viceroy Juan de Samano.
  • The creation of Gran Colombia.
  • The start of an autonomous government in the former Spanish provinces.
  • The subsequent independence of Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador and the creation of Bolivia, after a liberation campaign.

Viceroy Juan de Samano was informed of the defeat and managed to escape, which brought to an end the reign of the Spanish Empire in northern Latin America. In commemoration of this battle, August 7 is a national holiday in Colombia. On this date every 4 years the elected President of Colombia is proclaimed in the Casa de Nariño.

Bogotá starts the usual celebrations one day in advance in commemoration of the foundation of the city, on August 6, 1538.


  1. ^ a b c d e "La Batalla de Boyacá" (in Spanish).
  2. ^ Arana, M., 2013, Bolivar, New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9781439110195

External links

Coordinates: 5°27′00″N 73°25′45″W / 5.45000°N 73.42917°W



was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1819th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 819th year of the 2nd millennium, the 19th year of the 19th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1810s decade. As of the start of 1819, the Gregorian calendar was

12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

August 7

August 7 is the 219th day of the year (220th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 146 days remain until the end of the year.

This day marks the approximate midpoint of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and of winter in the Southern Hemisphere (starting the season at the June solstice).

Bolívar's campaign to liberate New Granada

Bolívar's campaign to liberate New Granada of 1819-1820 was part of the Colombian and Venezuelan wars of independence and was one of the many military campaigns fought by Simón Bolívar. Bolívar's victory in New Granada (today, Colombia) secured the eventual independence of northern South America. It provided Bolívar with the economic and human resources to complete his victory over the Spanish in Venezuela and Colombia. Bolívar's attack on New Granada is considered one of the most daring in military history, compared by contemporaries and some historians to Napoleon's crossing of the Alps in 1800 and José San Martín's Crossing of the Andes in 1817.


Boyacá is the name of a region in Colombia. It may refer to other connections to Colombia:

Battle of Boyacá

Boyacá Department (Gran Colombia)

Boyacá Department

Boyacá, Boyacá, a municipality

Boyacá State, a former stateIn BogotáPuente de Boyacá, a bridgeIn TunjaBoyacá Chicó F.C.

Boyacá Department

Boyacá (Spanish pronunciation: [boʝaˈka]) is one of the thirty-two departments of Colombia, and the remnant of Boyacá State, one of the original nine states of the "United States of Colombia".

Boyacá is centrally located within Colombia, almost entirely within the mountains of the Eastern Cordillera to the border with Venezuela, although the western end of the department extends to the Magdalena River at the town of Puerto Boyacá. Boyacá borders to the north with the Department of Santander, to the northeast with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Norte de Santander, to the east with the departments of Arauca and Casanare. To the south, Boyacá borders the department of Cundinamarca and to the west with the Department of Antioquia covering a total area of 23,189 square kilometres (8,953 sq mi). The capital of Boyacá is the city of Tunja.

Boyacá is known as "The Land of Freedom" because this region was the scene of a series of battles which led to Colombia's independence from Spain. The first one took place on 25 July 1819 in the Pantano de Vargas and the final and decisive battle known as the Battle of Boyacá was fought on 7 August 1819 at Puente de Boyacá.

Boyacá is home to three universities: the Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia (UPTC), the Universidad de Boyacá (UNIBOYACA), and the Saint Thomas Aquinas University.

Colombian military decorations

Colombian military decorations date back as far as the founding of the country. An early decoration was the Cruz de Boyacá that was awarded to the generals who led their forces to victory in the Battle of Boyacá in 1819. This early decoration lives on today as an incarnation of the highest order presented by the Colombian state. There is one decoration higher, but it is only awarded for military conflicts in defence of Colombia. Other than military decorations, Colombia presents decorations on behalf of the National Government, decorations for the National Police, and decorations from the Congress of Colombia.

Colombia–Ireland relations

Colombia–Ireland relations are relations between Colombia and Ireland. The Irish have a long relationship with Colombia dating back to involvement by Irish volunteers in the Spanish American wars of independence (1808-1833).

Colombia–Spain relations

Colombian-Spain relations are the bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Spain and the Republic of Colombia, formally established in 1881, several decades after Colombia's independence from the Spanish Empire. Both nations are members of the Organization of Ibero-American States and the United Nations.

Copa Centenario Batalla de Boyacá

The Copa del Centenario de la Batalla de Boyacá was the second official tournament in the history of the Colombian football, organized to commemorate 100 years since the Battle of Boyacá. The format of the tournament was similar to the 1918 Campeonato Nacional format, because it was played only between teams from the same city: Cali. This tournament was divided in two groups, each group having three teams with only one champion.

Flag of Boyacá Department

The Flag of the Department of Boyacá is the official flag and symbol of the Colombian Department of Boyacá.

The flag was approved by Ordinance 47 of 1967 and Decrees 218 and 495 of 1968 by the Governor of Boyacá. The flag is similar in dimensions to the flags of Costa Rica and Thailand.

The Flag of Boyacá is made up of five horizontal stripes. The extreme superior (first) and inferior (fifth) stripes of green color occupy a 1/6 of the flag and mean faith, devotion to service, respect and the hope of the people of Boyaca, it also symbolizes the fertility of Boyaca's countryside and the emerald green of the land.

The stripes close to the central stripe (second and fourth) colored white are also 1/6 of the flag and mean the love of the people from Boyaca for their Department, to their thoughtfulness and dedicated and decisive virtues to maintain the unity of Boyaca.

The central red stripe occupies 1/3 of the flag and symbolizes the blood of those who sacrificed their lives during the War of Independence from Spain in the fields of Tame, Pisba, Socha, Gámeza, in the Battle of Boyacá.

José Antonio Anzoátegui

José Antonio Anzoátegui (1789–1819) was a Venezuelan Brigadier General in the Battle of Boyacá, helping to lead a republican army of Colombians and Venezuelans against Spanish royalist forces during the Venezuelan War of Independence. He is celebrated as a hero of independence, and the state of Anzoátegui was named for him.


A llanero (Spanish pronunciation: [ʝaˈneɾo], plainsman) is a South American herder. The name is taken from the Llanos grasslands occupying western-central Venezuela and eastern Colombia. The Llanero were originally part Spanish and Indian and have a strong culture including a distinctive form of music.

During the Latin American wars of independence, Llaneros served in both armies and provided the bulk of the cavalry during the war. In 1819, an army of Llaneros, led by Simón Bolívar and José Antonio Páez, defeated the Spanish with a surprise attack when they crossed over the Orinoco plains and the Andes mountains.

National Army of Colombia

The National Army of Colombia (Spanish: Ejército Nacional de Colombia) is the land warfare service branch of the Military Forces of Colombia. It is headed by the Commander of the National Army (Comandante del Ejército Nacional), falls under the authority of the General Commander of the Military Forces (Comandante General de las Fuerzas Militares), and is supervised by the Ministry of National Defense, which answers to the President of Colombia. With over 220,000 active personnel as of 2018, it is the largest and oldest service branch in Colombia, and the third largest army in the Americas after Brazil and the United States.

Its mission statement is to conduct military operations oriented towards defending the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity (of the nation), and protecting the civilian population, and private and state resources, to contribute in generating an environment of peace, security, and development, that guarantees the constitutional order of the nation.The modern Colombian Army has its roots in the Army of the Commoners (Ejército de los Comuneros), which was formed on 7 August 1819 – before the establishment of the present day Colombia – to meet the demands of the Revolutionary War against the Spanish Empire. After their triumph against the Spanish, the Army of the Commoners disbanded, and the Congress of Angostura created the Gran Colombian Army to replace it.


Oicatá is a town and municipality in the Central Boyacá Province, part of the Department of Boyacá, Colombia. The urban centre is situated on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense at an altitude of 2,815 metres (9,236 ft) and a distance of 153 kilometres (95 mi) from the national capital Bogotá and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the department capital Tunja. It borders Cómbita and Tuta in the north, Chivatá and Tunja in the south, Chivatá in the east and in the west Cómbita and Tunja.

Palomo (horse)

Palomo was Simón Bolívar's horse. It accompanied him on most of his campaigns of national liberation. The horse was white, tall, with a tail that almost reached the ground. It was a gift from an elderly peasant woman from Santa Rosa de Viterbo, Boyacá Department, shortly before the Battle of Boyacá in 1819.

According to local lore Bolívar visited Santa Rosa in early 1814 on his way to Tunja on his way to report to the Congress of the United Provinces of New Granada on his setbacks in Venezuela. As the Liberator approached the town on a tired beast of burden, which refused to move any further. There he asked for a guide to take the animal and to lead him into town. During the walk Bolívar and the guide had a conversation in which the guide told Bolívar about his wife Casilda's dreams, especially one in which she saw herself giving a recently born colt to a famous general as a gift. The guide did not know who Bolívar was and was astonished when he learned his identity. When Bolívar made his leave at the edge of town, he smiled and told the guide, "Tell Casilda to keep the colt for me." Five years later when Bolívar returned to New Granda, he received the colt promised by Casilda in the midst of the Battle of Vargas Swamp. He named it Palomo ("cock pigeon") for its gray color. Later on his way back to Venezuela, Bolívar stopped in Santa Rosa to visit Casilda personally and thank her for the horse.

Bolívar lent Palomo to one of his officers, and it died exhausted after a grueling march in the Hacienda Mulaló, in what is today Yumbo, Valle del Cauca Department. It was buried next to the hacienda chapel by a lush, very old ceiba. Palomo's horseshoes and other effects of Bolívar are on exhibit in the Museum of Mulaló.

Public holidays in Colombia

Colombia has 19 holidays (12 Catholic holidays and 7 Civic holidays), plus Palm and Easter Sunday. The city of Barranquilla has 2 extra holidays celebrating Monday and Tuesday of Carnival.

The following are public holidays in Colombia:

Año Nuevo / (Life) (January 1)

Día de los Reyes Magos / (Epiphany) (January 6[1])

Día de San José / (Saint Joseph's Day) (March 19[1])

Jueves Santo / (Maundy Thursday) and Viernes Santo (Good Friday) (the Thursday and Friday before Easter Sunday, variable dates in March or April)

Primero de Mayo / (Labour Day) (May 1)

Ascensión del señor / (Ascension of Jesus) (39 days after Easter Sunday[1])

Corpus Christi (60 days after Easter Sunday[1])

Sagrado Corazón /( Sacred Heart) (68 days after Easter Sunday[1])

San Pedro y San Pablo / Saint Peter and Saint Paul) (June 29[1])

Declaración de la Independencia de Colombia / Declaration of Independence[2] (July 20)

Battle of Boyacá[2] (August 7)

La Asunción / (Assumption of Mary) (August 15[1])

Día de la Raza / (Columbus Day) (October 12[1])

Día de los Santos / All Saints’ Day (November 1[1])

Independencia de Cartagena / Independence of Cartagena (November 11[1])

La Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception) (December 8)

Navidad (Christmas Day) (December 25)Notes

[1] Movable holiday: when they do not fall on a Monday, these holidays are observed the following Monday.

[2] Flag Day

Puente de Boyacá

Puente de Boyacá (in English: The Bridge of Boyacá) is a small bridge located at the Bogota-Tunja highway, 110 km east of Bogotá and 14 km west from Tunja in a valley, crossing Teatinos river. Numerous monuments have been erected in the surroundings to commemorate the historic battle of August 7, 1819 known as the Battle of Boyacá which granted independence to New Granada.

The bridge was built in the early 18th century, and was dedicated as National Monument and memorial of independence in 1920.

Simón Bolívar

Simón José Antonio de la Santisima Trinidad Bolívar Palacios Ponte y Blanco (Spanish: [siˈmon boˈliβaɾ] (listen); English: BOL-iv-ər; 24 July 1783 – 17 December 1830), generally known as Simón Bolívar and also colloquially as El Libertador, or the Liberator, was a Venezuelan military and political leader who led the secession of what are currently the states of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama from the Spanish Empire.

Bolívar was born into a wealthy, aristocratic Criollo family and, as was common for the heirs of upper-class families in his day, was sent to be educated abroad at a young age, arriving in Spain when he was 16 and later moving to France. While in Europe, he was introduced to the ideas of the Enlightenment, which later motivated him to overthrow the reigning Spanish in colonial South America. Taking advantage of the disorder in Spain prompted by the Peninsular War, Bolívar began his campaign for independence in 1808. The campaign for the independence of New Granada was consolidated with the victory at the Battle of Boyacá on 7 August 1819. Later he established an organized national congress within three years. Despite a number of hindrances, including the arrival of an unprecedentedly large Spanish expeditionary force, the revolutionaries eventually prevailed, culminating in the patriot victory at the Battle of Carabobo in 1821, which effectively made Venezuela an independent country.

Following this triumph over the Spanish monarchy, Bolívar participated in the foundation of the first union of independent nations in Latin America, Gran Colombia, of which he was president from 1819 to 1830. Through further military campaigns, he ousted Spanish rulers from Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, the last of which was named after him. He was simultaneously president of Gran Colombia (present-day Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador), Peru, and Bolivia, but soon after his second-in-command, Antonio José de Sucre, was appointed president of Bolivia. Bolívar aimed at a strong and united Spanish America able to cope not only with the threats emanating from Spain and the European Holy Alliance but also with the emerging power of the United States. At the peak of his power, Bolívar ruled over a vast territory from the Argentine border to the Caribbean Sea.

Bolívar fought 472 battles of which 79 were important ones, and during his campaigns rode on horseback 123,000 kilometers, which is 10 times more than Hannibal, three times more than Napoleon, and twice as much as Alexander the Great. Bolívar is viewed as a national icon in much of modern South America, and is considered one of the great heroes of the Hispanic independence movements of the early 19th century, along with José de San Martín, Francisco de Miranda and others. Towards the end of his life, Bolívar despaired of the situation in his native region, with the famous quote "all who served the revolution have plowed the sea". In an address to the Constituent Congress of the Republic of Colombia, Bolívar stated "Fellow citizens! I blush to say this: Independence is the only benefit we have acquired, to the detriment of all the rest."


Ventaquemada is a town and municipality in the Central Boyacá Province, part of the Colombian department of Boyacá. Ventaquemada is located at a distance of 98 kilometres (61 mi) from the capital Bogotá and 29 kilometres (18 mi) from the departmental capital Tunja. The urban centre is situated at an altitude of 2,630 metres (8,630 ft) on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense in the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes. Ventaquemada borders Tunja and Samacá in the north, Boyacá, Boyacá, Jenesano and Nuevo Colón in the east, Turmequé and Villapinzón in the south and Guachetá, Lenguazaque and Villapinzón in the west.

Gran Colombia Gran Colombian independence
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