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Colombian Declaration of Independence

Colombian Declaration of Independence refers to the historic events happened on July 20, 1810 in Santa Fe de Bogota, at the time sedes of the Viceroyalty of New Granada and the related events around this date that defined the uprising of the Republic of Colombia.


An important factor in detonating the events of the independence of Colombia and other countries of South America was the crisis of the Spanish monarchy due to the abdication of King Carlos IV forced by Napoleon Bonaparte in favor of Fernando VII who was also forced to abdicate in favor of Napoleon's brother Joseph Bonaparte.

King Joseph was cheered initially by Spanish afrancesados ("Frenchified"), who believed that collaboration with France would bring modernisation and liberty. An example was the abolition of the Spanish Inquisition. However, priesthood and patriots stirred up agitation among the populace, which became widespread after the French army's first examples of repression were presented as fact to unite and enrage the people. The remaining afrancesados were exiled to France following the departure of French troops.

The pro-independence side included both traditionalists and liberals. After the war, they would clash in the Carlist Wars, as new king Ferdinand VII, "the Desired One" (later "the Traitor king"), revoked all the changes made by the independent Cortes, which were summoned in Cadiz acting on his behalf to coordinate the provincial Juntas and resist the French. He restored absolute monarchy, prosecuted and put to death everyone suspected of liberalism, and altered the laws of royal succession in favour of his daughter Isabella II, thus starting a century of civil wars against the supporters of the former legal heir to the throne.

The liberal Cortes had approved the first Spanish Constitution on 19 March 1812, which was later nullified by the king. In Spanish America, the Spanish and Criollo officials formed Juntas that swore allegiance to King Ferdinand. This experience of self-government led the later Libertadores (Liberators) to promote the independence of the Spanish–American colonies..

Together with other Spanish authorities in America, viceroy Antonio Jose Amar y Borbon declared loyalty to the Sevillan Junta. However, the participation of Americans in the juntas was very restricted, and the Junta of Quito founded in 1809, was hastily repressed. Other major factor besides the institutional crisis was the systematic exclusion of the white americans (also named criollo people) of the public administration, aggravated with the uprising of the House of Bourbon allowing only Spanish born citizen to such jobs.

King Carlos III, as a typical Enlightened absolutist fomented the arts and allowed the expression of the Age of Enlightenment in America, holding at the same time a strong politic power. His support to the United States Declaration of Independence generated the creation of new taxes, causing disturbances such as the Revolt of the Comuneros (New Granada) and the Tupac Amaru II's rebellion.

Carlos IV was not very interest in the political power, leaving such duties to his ministers, specially Manuel Godoy being more interested by arts and science subjects, and giving very little imortance to the American colonies, which were forbidden of trading with other colonies, or countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States of America leaving Spain as their only source of goods and merchandises, although Spain were unable to fulfill the trade demands of the Colonies.

Memorial de Agravios - 1809 (pleading of offenses)

See also: [[:es:s:Memorial de Agravios]]

"Memorial de Agravios" was an open letter written by Camilo Torres Tenorio to the Spanish Monarchy critizising the policy of exclusion of the white Americans, as if they were second class citizens, alleging the rights of the criollo people as "the offsprings of the Conquers" and the "legitim heirs of the hegemony", although with great contempt towards the aborigins. The letter has very little effects politically and Torres was executed by hanging later, in 1816.

The first autonomous boards

On August 10, 1809 a group of criollos, leaded by Juan Pio Montufar, established an autonomous Government Board in Quito, swearing loyalty to Fernando VII, but rejecting the viceregal authorities. The Viceroy of new Granada Antonio Jose Amar y Borbon considered this a rebellious act, and fearing for similar acts in the country, ordered repraissals against Quito, together with the troops sent by the Viceroy of Peru.

The next incident happened in Caracas, on April 19, 1810. The mantuanos, together with military and eclessiatic authorities, declared autonomy, again, swearing loyalty to Fernando VII but regecting the viceroyalty. The Cadiz Board of government decided to order the destitution of Amar y Borbon, sending a notification with the royal visitor Antonio Villavicencio, who arrived to Cartagena on may 8th.Lynch, John (2006). Simon Bolivar. A Life, New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300110626.

On May 22 in Cartagena de Indias, the Cartagena Board of government was created with similar terms to the previous. Shortly after, same scenarios surged in Santiago de Cali, Socorro and Pamplona. Finally, Bogota, the central cathedra of the Viceroyalty rebelled on July 20. Initially, the government board declared to Amar y Borbon as president, but shortly after, on July 25, he was deposed an arrested.

Socorro Constitution - 1809

From 1809 to 1830 the government the government failed to remain centralized, due to the lack of a national constitution. Eight separated attempts of constitutions surged in the main populated centres of the country, being the Constitution redacted in Socorro the first one to be completed.

Llorente's flower vase incident

On the morning of July 20, Joaquin Camacho went to the residence of the Viceroy Antonio Jose Amar y Borbon, requesting response on an application for the establishment of a governing board in Santa Fe, but the refusal of the Viceroy coupled his arrogance, made to proceed to join the fray with the excuse of the loan of a vase.

Luis Rubio, went to visit the businessman Jose Gonzalez Llorente to borrow the vase, to use it in a dinner for the visiting royal commissioner Antonio Villavicencio, but once Llorente refused to lend the vase with a haughty attitude. In light of this, and as was planned on the previous day, The "criollos" took the vase and broke it to provoke Llorente and thus raised tempers of the people against the Spanish. The "criollos" knew Llorente, being a merchant, would the refuse to lend the vase, first because it was for sale and second because he would not lend any objects to the "criollos" to meet fellow "criollos".

Subsequently, a group of natives, among whom was Francisco Jose de Caldas, made a bow of submission to Spanish. In response, Antonio Morales Caldas scolded him for, prompting a turbulent response from the people, who tried to attack Llorente. The mayor of Santa Fe, Jose Miguel Pey, tried to calm the people attacking Llorente, while Jose Maria Carbonell encouraged people to join the protest.

See also

Bolivar's campaign to liberate New Granada

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Colombian Declaration of Independence

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