Colombia commemorates the Battle of Boyacá on August 7, 1819. A decisive defeat of Royalist forces by Simón Bolívar was the tipping point in the liberation of the northern part of South America.
The strategic victory at Boyacá led to the fall of the capital, Bogotá, and the liberation of New Granada (roughly modern Colombia). This strengthened Bolívar and led to further Royalist defeats and the foundation of Gran Colombia (Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador). After more years of fighting, it also led to the liberation of what are now Peru and Bolivia. This ended Spanish control of South America.
The Battle of Boyacá Broke Spanish Power in Northern South America
Simón Bolívar is remembered for leading a surprising strategic victory.
By crossing the Cordillera Oriental, the easternmost of Colombia’s three Andes mountain ranges, Bolívar’s forces surprised the Royalists who believed such a crossing was impossible.
After defeating Royalist forces in the Battle of Vargas Swamp on July 25 followed by a short rest, Bolívar feigned a return to Venezuela, but turned around in the night. Royalists rushing to reinforce Bogotá had to pass through Boyocá where Bolívar engaged and defeated them on August 7.
This cleared the way for Simón Bolívar’s forces to take the capital Bogotá, and the rest is history.
La Puente de Boyacá
August 7 is a national holiday in Colombia and the small bridge at Boyocá is a symbol of the nation. It looks so peaceful now.