Jump to content
  • Battle of Boyacá, August 7 1819.

    Beatriz Camino

    Battle of Boyacá, August 7 1819.

    The Battle of Boyacá (1819) was the decisive battle that ensured the liberation of New Granada. It marked the beginning of the independence of the north of South America and led to the victories of the battle of Carabobo in Venezuela, Pichincha in Ecuador, and Junín and Ayacucho in Peru.


    During the early 19th century, several Latin American nations wished to break free from the rule of the Spanish Empire. Inspired by the principles of the French and American revolutions, local leaders and patriots sought to liberate their lands from foreign dominion and establish independent republics. Among these visionaries was Simón Bolívar, commonly known as "The Liberator," who emerged as a prominent figure in the fight for emancipation.

    In 1819, Venezuela found itself engulfed in warfare, witnessing intense clashes between Spanish and Patriot generals and warlords. Meanwhile, in New Granada, a tense calm prevailed as the populace endured the iron-fisted rule of the Spanish. Simon Bolívar was aware that capturing New Granada could open the path to an almost undefended Bogota and so he led his army across the Andes Mountains, which served as a natural barrier dividing Venezuela and Colombia. Despite the losses, he successfully crossed to the western side of the Andes in early July 1819, catching the Spanish off guard.

    On July 25, Bolívar’s army engaged the troops commanded by the young Spanish general, José María Barreiro, in the Battle of Vargas Swamp. Although the outcome was inconclusive, the clash revealed to the Spanish the forceful presence of Bolívar and his intent to march towards Bogota. However, Barreiro anticipated Bolívar's approach and sought to intercept him before he could reach the city.

    The Battle of Boyacá

    On August 7, Barreiro positioned his army in the Andean highlands of Colombia, near the town of Tunja, in a manner that would prevent Bolívar from reaching Bogota before reinforcements arrived. While Barreiro’s forces awaited the arrival of the main army, Bolívar seized the opportunity to strike. He devised a plan where General Francisco de Paula Santander would engage the elite vanguard forces, keeping them occupied, while he launched a surprise attack on the scattered main Spanish army.

    The execution of Bolívar's plan exceeded all expectations, as Santander's forces successfully held the Numancia Battalion and Dragoons at bay, allowing Bolívar to launch a powerful assault on the bewildered and dispersed main Spanish army. Bolívar acted swiftly, encircling the Spanish host and cutting off their access to their best soldiers. Barreiro, facing dire circumstances, swiftly surrendered. The royalists suffered heavy losses, with over 200 soldiers killed and 1,600 captured, while the patriot forces only lost 13 soldiers and had approximately 50 wounded.

    With Barreiro's army crushed, Bolívar rapidly advanced towards the city of Santa Fé de Bogotá, where Viceroy Juan José de Sámano held authority as the highest-ranking Spanish official in Northern South America. The Spanish and royalist inhabitants of the capital were thrown into a state of panic, fleeing during the night. Fearing the retribution of the patriots, Viceroy Sámano himself hastily departed, disguised as a peasant. The newly-converted "patriots" took advantage of the chaos until Bolívar entered the city on August 10, 1819, promptly restoring order.

    Legacy of the Battle

    The outcome of the Battle of Boyacá proved to be a pivotal moment in the struggle for Latin American independence. It significantly diminished the Spanish presence in the northern part of South America and set in motion a series of events that ultimately led to the total liberation of several Latin American countries.

    The victory at the battle and the subsequent capture of Bogotá provided Bolívar with an insurmountable advantage. The Viceroy's hasty flight from Bogotá left behind treasury funds, underscoring the magnitude of Bolívar's triumph. On the other front, General Morillo, the ranking royalist officer in Venezuela, recognized the futility of the royalist cause in the face of such defeat. The desperate situation prompted him to urgently write to King Ferdinand, seeking reinforcements to support the royalist cause. However, Spain's internal challenges prevented their departure, leaving Morillo in a precarious position. In a last-ditch effort, King Ferdinand authorized him to negotiate with the rebels, offering minor concessions in a new, more liberal constitution. Sensing the royalists' desperation, Bolívar agreed to a temporary armistice, but remained vigilant, knowing that the rebels held the upper hand.

    Less than two years later, Bolívar's forces achieved another victory at the Battle of Carabobo. This decisive battle further solidified Bolívar's dominance over the region and accelerated the path to freedom for multiple Latin American nations. He continued his military campaigns, leading his forces to liberate Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru. Bolívar's efforts earned him the title "El Libertador" as he became a symbol of hope and inspiration for many Latin American nations struggling for emancipation.


    1823 B-SP Spain 20 Reales - Ferdinand VII - VFSpain. Ferdinand VII (1808-1833) AR 2 Reales -Trinidad - Santiago - Principe / Lattice CountermarkPERU 1829 G CUZco 8 REALES...PHILIPPINES Counterstamp of FERDINAND VII of SPAIN

    1836 LM-PTS Bolivia 8 Soles - Simon Bolivar - AU1859 PTS-FJ Bolivia 4 Soles - Simon Bolivar - AU1854 PAZ-F Bolivia 4 Soles - Simon Bolivar - AU


    View Related Coins





  • Create New...