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Independence Days in Latin America

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Most of the nations of Latin America gained their independence from Spain in the years from 1810-1825. Each nation has its own Independence Day which it celebrates with festivals, parades, etc. Here are some of the dates and the nations that celebrate them.

1. April 19, 1810: Venezuela's Independence Day

Venezuelan Patriots Sign the Act of Independence, April 19, 1810

Venezuela actually celebrates two dates for independence: April 19, 1810 was the date that leading citizens of Caracas decided to rule themselves until such time as King Ferdinand (then a captive of the French) was restored to the Spanish throne. On July 5, 1811, Venezuela decided for a more definitive break, becoming the first Latin American nation to formally sever all ties with Spain.

2. Argentina: The May Revolution

Dr. Mariano Moreno

Although Argentina's official Independence Day is July 9, 1816, many Argentines consider the chaotic days of May, 1810 as the true beginning of their Independence. It was during that month that Argentine patriots declared limited self-rule from Spain. May 25 is celebrated in Argentina as "Primer Gobierno Patrio," which roughly translates as "First Fatherland Government." 

3. July 20, 1810: Colombia's Independence Day

Camilo Torres Tenorio

On July 20, 1810, Colombian patriots had a plan for ridding themselves of Spanish rule. It involved distracting the Spanish Viceroy, neutralizing the military barracks...and borrowing a flower vase. Learn more!

4. September 16, 1810: Mexico's Independence Day

Miguel Hidalgo, Father of Mexican Independence

Mexico's Independence Day is different from that of other nations. In South America, well-off Creole patriots solemnly signed official documents proclaiming their independence from Spain. In Mexico, Father Miguel Hidalgo took to the pulpit of the town church of Dolores and delivered an impassioned speech about the multiple Spanish abuses of the Mexican people. This act became known as "El Grito de Dolores" or "The Cry of Dolores." Within days, Hidalgo had an army of thousands of angry peasants. Although Hidalgo would not live to see Mexico free, he started the unstoppable movement for independence.

5. September 18, 1810: Chile's Independence Day

Bernardo O'Higgins

On September 18, 1810, Chilean Creole leaders, sick of poor Spanish government and the French takeover of Spain, declared a provisional independence. Count Mateo de Toro y Zambrano was elected to serve as the head of a ruling junta.  Today, September 18 is a time for great parties in Chile as the people celebrate this momentous day. 

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