Public Holiday: Colombian Independence Day

20 Jul 2025

Date 2024

Saturday, 20 of July

Date 2025

Sunday, 20 of July

Official: Colombian Declaration of Independence
Spanish: Día de la independencia Declaración de Independencia 20 de julio
Colombia Independence Day

Independence Day is celebrated every year on July 20. In 1872 President Manuel Murillo Toro established the annual celebration of this day as the main date of Colombian nationality. It's a day to celebrate throughout the national territory and diplomatic headquarters.

Origin and meaning

On July 20, 1810, in Bogotá, as planned, the Morales brothers went to ask Llorente for a vase to borrow to decorate a table, where they would offer a banquet for an important visitor, Don Antonio Villavicencio. Llorente, an unfriendly merchant and nothing close to the ideals of the Creoles, explained that the vase was in poor condition and would not do any favors, but the Morales brothers insisted on taking it. Llorente, as expected, reacted and insulted them. Francisco José de Caldas, a supposed enemy of change, passed by in front of the store and greeted Llorente. Following the plan to the letter, the Morales left shouting that the Spanish could not continue oppressing the people, that it was an injustice. Carbonell was waiting outside for the moment to stir up the atmosphere in the city. Thus began what we know today as the exclamation of independence.

The Creoles called for a public meeting where ideas were put forward in front of the citizens, taking advantage of the fact that it was market day and the square was full. They asked for political rights.

Hours later, a board made up of civil authorities and Creole intellectuals, headed by José María Carbonell, seized power and signed the Independence Act at six in the afternoon.

However, the act did not declare independence. It appointed the members of a new Supreme Juntaand ordered that a congress be installed to establish a new political structure and a constitution for the New Granada be drawn up, in which the provinces would have autonomy and would be united among themselves as federated states. It also recognized the authority of King Fernando VII and Viceroy Antonio Mara y Borbón. The criollos wanted more political power, but not independence. Not yet.

However, the desire for more freedom continued to grow. On August 14, 1810, 20 days after being deposed from command, Viceroy Antonio Amar y Borbón and his wife fled to Cartagena.

The congress began sessions on December 22. In the minutes, those present were made to swear – delegates from only five provinces, since the others could not arrive due to transportation problems – that Congress was the sovereign power and not the Supreme Junta. The conflict broke out immediately.

Antonio Nariño tried to organize the congress, but it was not possible. A few days later, the members fled to avoid being lynched. They were not yet ready for independence, which would be achieved years later, after arduous battles on the liberation route organized by Simón Bolívar.

However, the conspiracy of July 20, 1810 is considered the most important date in the political process because the first step was taken to achieve autonomy and the unification of the independent territory of Spain.

Other events to remember

Where to celebrate?

The most important events are held in Bogotá and Medellín, where military parades are held. Hotels, restaurants and bars take advantage of the occasion to organize parties and buffets. The mayors of several municipalities carry out civic and cultural acts.

Other public holidays