Independence of Cartagena

On November 11, 1811, the city of Cartagena de Indias, declared itself independent from Spain. It was the first city, in what is today Colombia, to do so. It was the second city in South America (Caracas was first).

The city remained independent until Spain sent Pablo Morillo to retake the city in 1815. Morillo surrounded the city and used a naval blockade to prevent supplies from entering the city. After 3 months, the patriots deserted the city without surrendering. The plan was to seek foreign help and then return to retake the city. Unfortunately, the patriots boarded ships captained by traitors to their cause. Most were taken prisoner and eventually died. Some did escape and joined Bolívar in Haiti and went on to help him commence the liberation of Venezuela.

When Morillo finally entered the city, he started a reign of terror. He wanted to teach the rebellious city a lesson. Many of the people of Bocachica were assassinated without trial. There were also mass executions in the Plaza de la Merced, while others were sent to jail.

On February 19, 1816, 9 men were sentenced to die for their participation in the rebellion --Manuel del Castillo y Rada, Martín Amador, Pantaleón Germán Ribón, Santiago Stuart, Antonio José de Ayos, José María García de Toledo and Miguel Díaz Granados, Don Manuel Anguiano, and finally José María Portocarrero. On February 24, 1816, the sentence was carried out and the what are now known and the Nine Martyrs were buried in a common grave in Manga cemetery.

On the spot where the 9 were executed, there is now a monument known as the Paseo or Camellón de los Mártires.

It was because of this incident that Cartagena became known as the CIUDAD HERÓICA (the Heroic City).

On October 10, 1821, Cartagena was again conquered -- only this time by patriot forces. Never again would Spain have power over Cartagena.

In honor of what occurred in Cartagena, November 11, today, is a national holiday.



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