July 20 commemorated Colombia’s Independence Day, where in 1810, Columbia broke free from Spanish colonization. The day marked the signing of the Act of the Revolution, and within the following decade, the Spanish occupation ended.
Colombian Independence Day is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the country. The Colombian government politically acknowledged the proclamation of the nation’s independence in 1873. According to the US State Department, the date went to recognize those previously looked over in later years. It acknowledges the contributions of women, indigenous populations, and Afro-Colombians.
Afro-Colombians had an intrinsic role in the fight for freedom. According to the Latin Republic, “History tells that on July 20, 1810, a fight broke out between Creoles and Spanish officials over the loan of a vase, known as the Llorente vase. The confrontation turned into a popular revolt that led to the independence process. Nine years later, that first protest for independence materialized as the independence army defeated the Spanish.”
Travel Noire reported that it is widely known that Simon Bolivar led much of the extensive war for independence. Still, despite wealthy Colombians attempting to undermine the contributions of Black people during the tumultuous war, historians have proved that many who fought for Bolivar were Africans.
“Afro-Colombians were able to participate at all levels of military and political life in some of the most crucial historical events in the country.”
And their contributions cannot be erased.
The US State Department acknowledged Afro-Colombian contributions that have been largely ignored. A press release from the State Department read, “The United States welcomes Colombia’s commitment to joint programs that increase prosperity for all of its citizens – including women, Afro-Colombians, LGBTQI+ communities, and indigenous peoples – through entrepreneurship mentoring, development assistance, and the implementation of educational and cultural exchanges. We pledge to continue our close cooperation to support lasting peace in Colombia.”