Today, all of Colombia is celebrating and rejoicing its 201-year old independence from Spain. The Spanish arrived in the 1500’s and stayed for over 300 years as it colonized the region and enslaved native populations. The fight for independence started in 1819 and was 14-years in the making; led by Simon Bolivar and Francisco de Paula Santander who liberated five countries from Spanish rule.
The third largest Spanish speaking country in the world, once known as New Grenada, is home to 45 million people that will be celebrating today with concerts and firework displays.
President and Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent their congratulatory remarks:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the Colombian people on the anniversary of your nation’s independence this July 20.
The United States and Colombia are united by our common interests, including a steadfast commitment to democracy, equal opportunity, and human rights. The people and governments of our two countries are exchanging ideas, bridging cultural divides, and finding solutions to our common problems. Just this year at the Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festival we had the opportunity to share and celebrate Colombia’s rich, vibrant culture with the many American and international visitors. This festival was an excellent way to experience Colombia’s art, music, and cuisine, and to reinforce the strong people-to-people ties between our two nations.
I look forward to our continued cooperation as we work to achieve our common goals and I wish all Colombians everywhere a safe and happy independence day.