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Vargas Swamp Battle (Spanish: Batalla del Pantano de Vargas) was an armed conflict that occurred near Paipa, on July 25, 1819. A joint Venezuelan and New Granadan army commanded by Simón Bolívar was trying to prevent Spanish forces from arriving at Santafe de Bogotá, which was lightly defended, before they did. Bolívar's army successfully bested the royalist army in spite of the exhaustion of the troops after climbing the Páramo de Pisba, and crossing the swamp. This battle and the next victory over the Spanish by the Boyacá Bridge secured the independence of New Granada.[1]

Vargas Swamp Battle
Batalla del Pantano de Vargas
Monumento pantano de vargas, completo. 2006.JPG
Vargas Swamp Lancers memorial near Paipa, Boyacá.
Date July 25, 1819
Location Colombia

Decisive Neogranadan victory

Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg Spain

Flag of New Granada.svg Republic of New Granada
*Foreign volunteers

Commanders and leaders
José María Barreiro Simón Bolívar
Francisco de Paula Santander
James Rooke
1,800+ regular forces
~2,600 regular forces
Casualties and losses
Spanish combatant dead:
140 to 500
Neogranadan combatant dead:

During the action the left flank of the Patriot army was outflanked and withdrew in disorder. The British Legions played a decisive role in recovering the situation when their commander James Rooke led the 2nd Rifles in a bayonet charge against the Spanish defenses on the hills, gaining the position at great cost.[2] A cavalry attack by a combined force of Colombian and Venezuelan Lancers then decided the outcome of the battle, turning defeat into victory.[3]

The battle is commemorated in the Vargas Swamp Lancers memorial.[4]


  1. ^ "Batalla del Pantano de Vargas". Toda Colombia. Retrieved 2-009-05-09.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ "Bolivar's British Legion". Ian Fletcher Battlefield Tours. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  3. ^ "Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography: Rooke, James". Society for Irish Latin American Studies. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  4. ^ "Celebración de la batalla del Puente de Boyacá". Ministerio de Defensa Nacional, Republica de Colombia. August 7, 2004. Retrieved 2-009-05-09.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

Coordinates: 5°44′15″N 73°04′30″W / 5.73750°N 73.07500°W / 5.73750; -73.07500