The Act of Independence of Costa Rica was signed on October 29, 1821 by the Town Council of Cartago, after receiving the news that on September 28 in the Provincial Council of the Province of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, meeting in León, had decided the absolute independence from the Spanish Government and the possible annexation to the Mexican Empire proclaimed by Agustín de Iturbide.
The declaration was signed not only by the members of the Municipal Council but also by the subordinate Political Chief of the Costa Rican Party Juan Manuel de Cañas-Trujillo and by several legacies from other towns in Costa Rica that were represented in Cartago. The declaration stated decisions similar to those taken in León, in the sense of proclaiming the absolute independence of Spain and the union with Mexico.
What is the “Acta de Nublados”?
This document issued by the authorities of the Intendencia de León, in the General Captaincy of Guatemala, they expressed their position with regards to the Act of Independence of Central America. It was prepared on September 28, 1821, and Bishop Nicolás García Jerez, and the Provincial Council of Nicaragua participated in its writing.
Relación de hechos que contenían el “Acta de Nublados”
A copy of the declaration signed on October 29, 1821, arrived in the city of León, subsequently the followers of Gabino Gaínza, who proclaimed Guatemalan independence, came before the news, Mayor Miguel González Saravia y Colarte decided to convene the Provincial Council and Bishop Nicolás García Jerez, subject faithful to the Spanish monarchy, in order to “deal with such important matters”. Once the subject was discussed, they wrote an official letter that was sent to all the municipalities of the Province; This document would be known as the Act de Nublados (The “Cloudy” Act), because in its second section it proclaimed the independence from the Spanish Government, “until the clouds of the day become clear”.
According to historian Chester Zelaya, the document declares independence from the Guatemalan authorities unilaterally, without consulting the inhabitants of the Province, and expresses the desire for autonomy that had already been exposed in 1812, to that a General Captaincy be created in León. However, the section by which they act is known appears to establish a “waiting measure”, in case King Ferdinand VII had decided to send reinforcements to stifle the independence movements. Likewise, in its fourth point, it contains prevention against any attempted uprising in the Province: “… the Government will severely punish the disturbers of public tranquility, and disobedience to the authorities”. The act was put into circulation along with the Independence Act, which was retained for several days, perhaps to prevent the inhabitants from first accepting what was agreed in Guatemala.
For its part, the Town Council of León maintained an attitude contrary at first. However, among its members there were doubts, so they sent a commission and invited Mayor González Saravia to give the necessary explanations. In the end, they accepted what was resolved in the “Acta de Nublados”. The authorities of the city of Granada received the news of the independence and the act of León, and accepted what was dictated in Guatemala, rejecting the “Acta de Nublados”.
Texto de la Ley de Independencia
The Act of October 29 says: “Number 57. In the locality that no longer exists, known as Cartago on the twenty-ninth day of the month of October 1821, with premises of the plausible news of having sworn independence in the capital of Mexico and in the Province of Nicaragua, together in extraordinary town hall and open the Very Noble and Loyal City Hall of this town, with the presence of the Vicar and priest Rector, the Minister of Public Finance, countless people of distinction and people, the offices and proceeded to be read by Political Chief Superior, Mr. Miguel González Saravia, numbers 11 and 18 of the current issue, in which, according to the vote of the Nicaraguan parties, the absolute independence of Spanish government was sworn in Leon on the eleventh day and under the plan adopted by the Mexican empire. Having also read a manifesto from Guatemala on the True aspect of its independence, by unanimous vote of all the circumstances, it was agreed: That it be published, proclaimed hey solemnly swear on Thursday the first of November, the absolute independence from the Spanish Government: That the Constitution and laws promulgated by the Mexican Empire will absolutely be observed, in the firm concept that happiness and true consists in the adoption of this plan of interest to these provinces: That the oath corresponding to Mr. Subaltern Political Chief, the Very Noble and Loyal City Council, the aforementioned Mr. Vicar, Mr. Pedro Alvarado, and Rector, and the Minister of Public Finance Mr. Manuel García Escalante, be immediately received. and according to article one to all authority: That this agreement with the insertion of the articles of the side of the Superior Political Chief is published by side: Immediately, Mr. Subaltern Political Chief took the oath in the hands of Mr. Mayor and the Very Noble Townhall; Ecclesiastical Vicar, Rector priest, Ecclesiastics. Present and Lieutenant of the Treasury in the hands of the aforementioned, the undersigned before me the Secretary what I certify.
The real nature of the Declaration
Although the text of October 29, 1821, is known as the Act of Independence of Costa Rica, in a strict sense it was not, since on the one hand the independence of Costa Rica from Spain had already been decided since October 11 in León by the Provincial Council, an assembly of popular election in which Costa Rica was represented, and also, in other towns of Costa Rica. Also, some respective municipalities issued their declarations, which did not always coincide with what was decided in Cartago. For example, the Act signed by the Town Council of San José on November 30, although proclaiming the independence of Spain, refrained from agreeing to the idea of annexation to Mexico. The act of October 29, 1821, is an act of independence solely of the city of Cartago, which was limited to confirming what was already decided by the Provincial Council of Nicaragua and Costa Rica.