20 de Julio: Celebration of Independence and a nation’s heroes


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It’s the start of Veinte de Julio week, and with final preparations underway for the Independence Day parade on Thursday by Colombia’s Armed Forces, the declaration of independence from Spanish rule on July 20, 1810, also marks the inauguration of a new Congressional year. In Bogotá, the celebrations include a fly-over by the Air Force, as well as an aeronautical display of the military’s helicopter gunships.

The events of July 20, 1810, marked the beginning of Colombia’s long struggle for independence against colonial rule, culminating nine years later with the defeat of the Royalist army at the Battle of Boyacá on August 7, 1819. The liberation army, led by Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander, went on to establish the Republic of Gran Colombia, which included present-day Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela.

While Gran Colombia eventually dissolved into separate nations, Colombia still celebrates July 20th as a national holiday to honor the initial spark of its independence movement. It is a day when Colombians reflect on their history, pay tribute to the heroes of independence, and celebrate their nation’s freedom and sovereignty.

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