Colombian Independence Day

What is Colombian Independence Day?

Happy Colombian Independence Day! Each year, Colombia commemorates the day that an uprising occurred in its capital, Bogota, in 1810. The uprising was the catalyst for Colombia to break free of Spanish rule and achieve independence. 

When is Colombian Independence Day?

Colombian Independence Day takes place on 20 July every year.

How do Colombians celebrate independence day?

Communities and families come together to celebrate with feasts, parades, parties, music and more! If you’re planning to send money to Colombia as a festive treat for friends or family, Azimo can help you save money with our super low fees.

So, here’s to Colombia as we take a look back at the interesting history of the special day and how the fight for independence started – with a flower vase.

Who colonised Colombia?

The Spanish first colonised Colombia in the late 15th and early 16th centuries after Alonso de Ojeda led the first European expedition to the South American country.

Resentment and unhappiness grew amongst the Colombian population for years under Spanish rule. All the tension finally came to a head when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain and put his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne in 1809. He restricted the country’s trade and favoured high Spanish nobles, not giving any voice or power to the Colombian people.

Throughout the region, rebellions sprang up and declarations of military governments (called “juntas”) occurred. It was only a matter of time before the unrest would reach the capital in Bogota.

The flower vase incident

The people of Bogota hatched a two-part plan to spark a riot and take control of the government. The first part was that a selection of Colombians were to ask a wealthy Spanish merchant, Joaquin Gonzalez Llorente, for a flower vase. The second part was to happen at the same time, where a man named Joaquin Camacho would go to the Viceroy palace and request a meeting about Colombian independence.

The trick was this: they predicted – correctly – that both parties would be met with a rude refusal. The freedom fighters then took to the streets, shouting about the disrespectfulness of the Spanish. After all these years of unrest, and juntas already forming across the country, the population quickly joined to incite a riot.

Patriots, now backed by angry mobs, headed to the palace where the Viceroy Amar y Borbon resided. He had little choice but to now meet their demands: Borbon signed a decree that permitted local councils to rule, thereby limiting Spanish rule.

This semi-independence later became permanent in 1819 with the help of freedom fighters Simon Bolivar and Francisco de Paula at the Battle of Boyaca. Though this didn’t occur until 9 years after the Bogota events, people observe 20th July as the day that started the long march to the independence of Colombia. 

Every year, huge events take place throughout the country: feasts, parades, parties as well as the famous Grand National Concert. Also, the house of the wealthy merchant, Joaquin Gonzalez Llorente, is now known as “20th July Museum”, where different documents and artefacts from the time of Colombia’s independence can be seen.

What’s the cheapest way to send money to Colombia?

If you need to send money to your loved ones in Colombia this Independence Day, the first thing to say is: don’t use your bank. It’s usually the most expensive way to send money abroad. 

Instead, make sure to use a digital money transfer service like Azimo. You’ll get fantastic rates for the Colombian peso and cash pick-up transfers are delivered instantly. 

Register now for two fee-free transfers. 

You can also read our guide: How to transfer money to Colombia.