Charalá

Charalá is a municipality of Colombia belonging to the department of Santander, received its name in honor to the cacique "Chalalá", pertaining to the tribe of the Guanes. It is known as "Cradle of Liberty of America" ​​due to its contributions in the process of Independence of Colombia, one of its most significant events was the battle of Pienta on August 4, 1819.

José Antonio Galán was born there, the maximum leader leader of the comuneros, Jose Acevedo and Gómez, the Tribune of the Town and Antonio Vargas Reyes, perhaps the most important Colombian doctor of century XIX. And the heroine Antonia Santos Plata, who from a very young age lived with her family in the hacienda el Hatillo in the rural perimeter of Coromoro.

The people of Santander of Charalá have many reasons to claim a place of honor in the texts of history of Colombia. To begin with, its indigenous chalalaes, of the great guane family, refers in terms of praise, both for the elegance of its size and for its peaceful disposition. In addition, three great characters were born in this city of the old province of Socorro: the first was José Antonio Galán, the most revered of the communal leaders, the second, José Acevedo y Gómez, known as the Tribune of the People for his incendiary words July 20, 1810, that famous "if you do not take advantage of these moments of effervescence and heat ...", the third personage was Antonio Vargas Reyes, probably the most important Colombian physician of the 19th century, creator of the medical school that was Would convert in 1868 in the National University.

At that time lived critical moments in the plans for independence. Bolivar's armies had succeeded in crossing, with their battered men, the Pisba moor, and were strengthened with recruits from the province of Tunja. They were already marching to the capital of the viceroyalty: Santafé de Bogota. The main obstacle to Bolívar's advance was now the troops of Colonel José María Barreiro, whom they had already faced in the Vargas Swamp, ten days before the events in Pienta. After the serious losses in the Swamp, by its defeat, that day 4 of August Barreiro waited in Tunja impatiently the arrival of the reinforcements of the troops of the Socorro.

But meanwhile in Pienta the eight hundred Spanish soldiers of Gonzalez were on their hands and knees to advance towards Charala, on their obligatory passage on the road to Tunja. They were facing an army of Charlemagne peasants. In an imprecise number of a thousand or more, these peasants, mostly without military training, went into combat with more value than weaponry.

Machetes, stones, mallets and even a clean fist describe the chronicles of the fighting that were fought first in the middle of the river and above the bridge, and then on the road of withdrawal of the Creole armies to the streets of the village, Spanish. Street by street and house by house was falling Charalá in Spanish hands. His soldiers, largely humiliated by this army of spontaneous ones, were plundered. Horrible stories are told of the abuses of the night of August 4. The Charlemagne women, as is often the case in the battles, paid even more for their rebellion. In any case, hundreds of bodies of men, women and children were insepultos everywhere when the Spanish troops split by the road of Tunja.

But let's leave aside these biographical data to rescue a battle of Independence that can be said to be the greatest contribution of Charalá to national history. This is the battle of Pienta, whose fighting began at dawn on August 4, 1819, just three days before the much more famous Battle of Boyacá.

The war scenario included a bridge embedded on the rocky Pienta river, whose waters will give first the Fonce River, and then the Chicamocha. More Santandereano for where. Through this bridge the royal road passed to go from Socorro to Tunja, in its ascent to the high páramos that separated the two provinces, now departments of Santander and Boyacá.

But before continuing with the details of this forgotten battle, it is worth reviewing the political situation of then. The province of Socorro had years of oppression and armed rebellion; Here was no peace since the ignominious death of José Antonio Galán, almost 40 years ago. It was not in vain that Viceroy Sámano had commissioned the army's command of the tanned Spanish colonel Lucas Gonzalez. At his command he had some of the most well-trained soldiers of the whole viceroyalty of New Granada.

It was Gonzalez's men who captured the renowned lady Antonia Santos Plata, on her hacienda in El Hatillo, accused of being a helper of the fearsome Coromoro guerrillas. For the days of this battle, not a week had passed, since his execution in the main park of Socorro. The fury of this public execution certainly fueled the rancor of the guerrillas, led by Fernando Santos, brother of the immolated Antonia.

Yes it's correct; We were the Creoles, not the Spaniards, the defeated in Pienta. But there is nothing to erase this battle of history.

The historical fact that Colonel Gonzalez failed to meet his appointment with Barreiro. Reason has the former president of the Colombian Academy of History, Socorrano Horacio Rodríguez Plata, when he states in one of his writings:

"What happened to the liberating army, exhausted after the Battle of the Vargas Swamp, on the afternoon of August 7, did the troops of Barreiro increase with those of Gonzalez? Vez de Barreiro and his officers the prisoners would have been Bolivar , Santander and Anzoátegui? ".

There I leave you the restlessness

Diego Andrés Rosselli Cock - Doctor and Journalist, Bogotá, Colombia