Wednesday, 6 August 2014


“Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty.” - Ho Chi Minh

On August 7, Colombia celebrates Boyacá Day (Independence Day), while the Ivory Coast celebrates its Republic Day.

It is the anniversary of the birth of:
Constantius II, Roman emperor (317);
Carl Ritter, geographer (1779);
Mata Hari, spy (1876);
Louis Leakey, anthropologist (1903);
Ralph Bunche, Nobel Peace Prize (1950) laureate, statesman (1904);
B. J. Thomas, singer (1942);
Loni Anderson, actress (1944);
Greg Chappell, cricketer (1948);
Alberto Salazar, Marathon man (1958).

Sainfoin, Onobrychis viciifolia, is the birthday plant for today. It symbolises trust in God and in the language of flowers it speaks the words: “You confuse me”.  The common name of the plant is derived from the French and means “holy hay”. A legend relates how when Christ was born, his head rested on some hay and this immediately sprouted pink flowers, becoming sainfoin.

The Battle of Boyacá in Colombia, then known as New Granada, was the battle in which Colombia acquired its definitive independence from Spanish Monarchy, although fighting with royalist forces would continue for years. Brigadier Generals Francisco de Paula Santander and José Antonio Anzoátegui led a combined republican army of Colombians and Venezuelans, complemented by the British Legion, to defeat in two hours a Royalist Colombian-Venezuelan forces led by Spanish Colonels José María Barreiro and Francisco Jiménez.

Simón Bolívar credited the victory to the British Legion declaring that “those soldier liberators are the men who deserve these laurels” when offered laurels after the victory.The battle occurred 150 km from Bogotá in the Andes Mountains, in a place known as Casa de Teja, close to a bridge over the Teatinos River and 3 roads heading to Samaca, Motavita and Tunja, an area which is now part of the Boyacá Department.

Viceroy Juan de Samano was informed of the defeat and managed to escape and flee to Spain, which brought to an end the reign of the Spanish Empire in northern Latin America. In commemoration of this battle, August 7 is a national holiday in Colombia. On this date every 4 years the elected President of Colombia is proclaimed in the Casa de Nariño. Bogotá starts the usual celebrations one day in advance in commemoration of the foundation of the city, on August 6, 1538.

1 comment:

  1. How interesting! I had heard of sainfoin but had not seen the plant - it's lovely!