Constitution of the Republic of Colombia


This volume, most likely published in Bogota in November 1821, contains the text of the constitution of the first Republic of Colombia, proclaimed by President Simón Bolívar in October of the same year. In 1717‒23, the Spanish imperial authorities combined territories comprising all or parts of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador into the Viceroyalty of the New Kingdom of Granada; Panama was added in 1751. In 1810, following Napoleon’s invasion of Spain in 1808 and the captivity of the Spanish king Ferdinand VII, different jurisdictions in New Granada declared their independence from Spain. After a period of civil war and the Spanish reconquest of New Granada in 1815‒16, Bolívar defeated the Spanish forces in a series of battles between 1819 and 1822. The Republic of Gran Colombia was organized at the Congress of Cúcuta in 1821 and a constitution drafted and adopted. Called Gran Colombia because it included what are now the separate countries of Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador, the republic existed until 1830, when, following the secession of Venezuela and Ecuador, a new constitutional convention was called and a new Republic of New Granada, comprising just Colombia and the Isthmus of Panama, was established. The 1821 constitution is comprised of 191 articles in ten titles, covering the organization of the central government and the powers of the executive, legislature, and the judiciary; the administration of the departments of the country; and the civil and political rights of citizens. This volume, from the collections of the Law Library of Congress, once belonged to the Harvard Law Library, but was sold as a duplicate copy to the Library of Congress in the early 20th century.

Last updated: July 12, 2017