Cúcuta, Congress of

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Cúcuta, Congress of

The constituent congress of Gran Colombia met at Cúcuta, on the border between Venezuela and New Granada, from May to October 1821. Though comprised only of representatives from Venezuela and New Granada, and not the present-day Ecuador, it confirmed the union of all sections of the former Viceroyalty of New Granada in a single independent republic. It adopted the first constitution, which was centralist in structure but typically liberal in providing for the separation of powers and a list of individual rights that did not, however, include freedom of religious worship. By separate enactments, the same congress adopted a first round of legal and institutional reforms that included abolition of the Inquisition and of various colonial taxes, and a free-birth law for the gradual elimination of slavery. To save time, it also elected the first president and vice president of the new nation: Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander.

See alsoInquisition: Spanish Americaxml .


David Bushnell, The Santander Regime in Gran Colombia (1954; repr. 1970), chap. 2; Congreso de Cúcuta de 1821: Constitución y leyes (1971).

Additional Bibliography

Lynch, John. Simón Bolívar: A Life. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.

Riaño Cano, Germán. Elgran calumniado: Réplica a la leyenda negra de Santander. Bogotá, Colombia: Planeta, 2001.

                                        David Bushnell