Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Battle of Boyacá -- Preparing for August 7th

After Bolivar's amazing victory at Pantano de Vargas (July 25, 1819), he withdrew his troops to Corrales (near Sogamoso) in order to rest and regroup.

Here's a refresher on Pantano de Vargas:

http://raisingcolombiankids.blogspot.com/2009/03/pantano-de-vargas.html

On August 3, after receiving new recruits and supplies, Bolivar once again began his push toward Bogotá. Expecting this, Spanish General José María Barreiro, headed to Tunja, hoping to block the rebels advance there. However, Bolivar had also anticipated Barreiro's move. He marched his troops toward Tunja not stopping to sleep or rest. On August 5 Bolivar's troops arrived at Tunja. This was long before Barreiro, and therefore, the city was easily taken and secured. The supplies meant for Barreiro that were found there -- food, medicine, horses, and ammunition -- were confiscated and distributed among Bolivar's troops.

While in Tunja, the Republican forces rested for about 40 hours. Then, on the morning of August 7th, Bolivar's scouts returned to Tunja warning him that Barreiro was approaching.

Bolivar began his march and the two armies met on either side of small bridge which spans the Teatinos River -- Puente Boyacá. Lead by Francisco de Paula Santander and José Antonio Anzoátegui the troops easily conquered Barreiro's forces.

When the Spanish surrendered, General Barreiro had escaped (Check out tomorrow's post -- it is a great story). Bolivar had lost 66 men, while the Spanish suffered 250 casualties and 1,600 men were taken prisoner -- including Barreiro's second in command -- Francisco Jiménez.

This was Colombia's Yorktown. Upon winning this battle, the Nuevo Reino de Granada (what is today Colombia) gained its independence from Spain. This post -- and the two that follow will give you more insight into Colombian Independence and the holiday that approaches on this Friday.

To see the post I made about the Puente Boyacá National Park -- click here.

1 comment:

Gerald said...

Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

Your article is very well done, a good read.