viernes, 24 de julio de 2015

July 24: Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Lake Maracaibo, in 1823, when Admiral José Prudencio Padilla defeated the Spanish Armada, capping the independence of the Great Colombia.

Acción del Castillo de Maracaibo (1823) Oil on canvas (87 x 124 cm), Museo Nacional de Colombia. Painting by José María Espinosa Prieto (1796-1883)

This battle was the last confrontation of the War of Independence of Venezuela, and major Spanish American War for Independence. The ships belonged to the naval fleet of the Great Colombia that commanded Simon Bolivar.

Depiction of the battle from c. 1830

Let´s recall that the Battle of Carabobo in 1821 is considered as the final one that gave independence to Venezuela. Nevertheless, Lake Maracaibo and the Caribbean Sea were still held by Spain. July 24 is a day of celebration in Zulia, Venezuela's state.

Padilla was appreciated both by Simon Bolívar and General Francisco de Paula Santander.

José Prudencio Padilla was born on March 19, 1784 in Bogotá, Colombia. He served as a seaman in the Spanish navy. During the Battle of Trafalgar, October 21, 1805, he was captured by British forces and taken prisoner. He was returned to Spain in 1808 and assigned to the boatswain's arsenal at Cartagena, New Granada (now Colombia). On On April 11, 1811 he supported the people of Cartagena in their quest for independence. In 1815 he served under the General Simón Bolívar in the struggle for independence from Spain. On July 24, 1823 he achieved a brilliant naval victory over the Spanish forces at the Battle of Lake Maracaibo during the war for the independence of Venezuela. Admiral Jose Padilla was instrumental in achieving the independence of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru and was the creator of the first navy of Colombia.

But the intrigues and contempt for being a Colombian peasant, Padilla of African descent, fell out with the creoles of Spanish origin to the point of charging him for the bombing of the Liberator Bolivar and was executed on October 28, 1828.

Importantly, the last battle he fought the independence of Venezuela was the July 24, 1823, with the Battle of Lake Maracaibo Navy under Admiral José Prudencio Padilla and the Battle of Carabobo on June 24, 1821.