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Venezuelan National Anthem

Gloria al Bravo Pueblo (literally translated “Glory for the Brave People”) is the song that Antonio Guzman Blanco established as the National Anthem of Venezuela on 25 May 1881. Vicente Salias composed the lyrics and Juan José Landaeta created the music, although there have been official modifications throughout the years.

Back in the 1800s, the song was known as a “Venezuelan Marseillaise,” a name that highlighted its patriotism and popularity in the country. More recently, there have been researches that suggest the real authors may have been Andrés Bello and Lino Gallardo, but there is not enough evidence to completely prove it.

Lyrics of the National Anthem of Venezuela

Gloria al Bravo Pueblo

Coro

Gloria al bravo pueblo

que el yugo lanzó

la Ley respetando

la virtud y honor (Bis)

I

¡Abajo cadenas! (bis)

gritaba el Señor (bis)

y el pobre en su choza

libertad pidió:

a este santo nombre

tembló de pavor

el vil egoísmo

que otra vez triunfó. (bis)

Coro

Gloria al bravo pueblo

que el yugo lanzó

la Ley respetando

la virtud y honor (Bis)

II

Gritemos con brío: (bis)

“¡Muera la opresión! (bis)

Compatriotas fieles,

la fuerza es la unión;

y desde el Empíreo

el Supremo Autor,

un sublime aliento

al pueblo infundió. (bis)

Coro

Gloria al bravo pueblo

que el yugo lanzó

la Ley respetando

la virtud y honor (Bis)

III

Unida con lazos (bis)

que el cielo formó (bis)

la América toda

existe en nación;

y si el despotismo

levanta la voz,

seguid el ejemplo

que Caracas dio. (bis)

Coro

Gloria al bravo pueblo

que el yugo lanzó

la Ley respetando

la virtud y honor (Bis)

Translation of the lyrics of the National Anthem of Venezuela

Glory to the Brave People

— Chorus —

Glory to the brave people

who shook off the yoke,

The law respecting,

virtue and honour.

(repeat all)

— I —

“Down with chains!” (2x)

Shouted the Lord; (2x)

And the poor man in his hovel

For Freedom implored.

Upon this holy name

Trembled in great dread

The vile selfishness

That had once prevailed.

(repeat last four lines)

(repeat last two lines)

— Chorus —

Glory to the brave people

who shook off the yoke,

The law respecting,

virtue and honour.

(repeat all)

— II —

Let’s scream out aloud: (2x)

“Death to oppression!” (2x)

Oh, loyal countrymen:

Strength is in unity;

And from the Empyrean

The Supreme Author

A sublime spirit

To the people blew.

(repeat last four lines)

(repeat last two lines)

— Chorus —

Glory to the brave people

who shook off the yoke,

The law respecting,

virtue and honour.

(repeat all)

— III —

United by bonds (2x)

That Heaven has formed, (2x)

The entire America

Exists as a Nation;

And if ever despotism

Raises again its voice,

Then follow the example

That Caracas gave.

(repeat last four lines)

(repeat last two lines)

— Chorus —

Glory to the brave people

who shook off the yoke,

The law respecting,

virtue and honour.

(repeat all)

Composition and Writing Credits: Juan Jose Landaeta and Vicente Salias.

How was Venezuela’s National Anthem Created?

When the Patriotic Society was constituted in Caracas, following the events of the 19 April 1810, its members were excited for the recent success of the first patriotic song, called “Caraqueños, otra época empieza” (translated as Caracas’ people, another time begins). This first version was created by Andres Bello and Cayetano Carreño, and it inspired the doctor Vicente Salias to write its chorus.

After the Independence of Venezuela, the song continued in the mind of the population and became the National Song by common acceptance. The oldest music manuscript known dates back to the mid 19th Century, within the book The City and Its Music by Jose Antonio Calcaño. There is no author mentioned, but its name figures as title. 

Later, in 1868, the newspaper El Federalista reproduced the lyrics of Gloria al Bravo Pueblo in text. It also mentioned that the rooms of the University, in presence of a crowded public, a series of pieces were played, being one of them the Martial Music of the National Anthem.

President Guzman Blanco asked Dr. Eduardo Calcaño, a famous musician and composer, to fix the text of the Anthem without altering it or giving it a different expression. As a result, on 25 May 1881, President Antonio Guzman Blanco issued a decree to definitely establish Gloria al Bravo Pueblo as the National Anthem of Venezuela.

In 1911, Salvador Llamozas made a new official edition as a way to celebrate the 100 years of Venezuela’s Independence. Later, in 1947, Juan Bautista Plaza edited the official edition -once again- on behalf of the country.

Interpretation of the National Anthem of Venezuela

The patriotic song transmitted a high level of prestige and it impacted the highest authorities of the Spanish Army and Royal Treasury, which is shown in the document written in Cadiz on 4 July 1810 and reads as follows:

“The most scandalous is that the alegoric songs that they composed and printed on their independence, asking the entire Hispanic Americas to join forces and follow Caracas as role model to start revolutions.” 

These words refer to the specific interpretation of the third stanza of Glory to the Brave People, which mentions:

— III —

United by bonds (2x)

That Heaven has formed, (2x)

The entire America

Exists as a Nation;

And if ever despotism

Raises again its voice,

Then follow the example

That Caracas gave.

By that time, it was already a patriotic song. After the emancipatory fight, the other patriotic songs had been losing strength and, little by little, they were forgotten. Only Glory to the Brave People persisted, recalling history and its own perception of the future.

In the first stanza, the Anthem implies the way in which all Venezuela’s nationals joined ideological forces against the colonization and the Spanish empire. More especifically, when it expresses:

— I —

“Down with chains!” (2x)

Shouted the Lord; (2x)

This part expresses what the wealthy class thought at the time, as well as those who were connected to Earls and Maquisses. But not only those with several possessions asked for freedom, it was a petition of the impoverished classes too. It was a request of the whole population, including rich and slaves. Everyone claimed for the nonexistent freedom, that same “holy name” that made tyrants and despots tremble:

And the poor man in his hovel

For Freedom implored.

Upon this holy name

Trembled in great dread

This represents the egocentrism and ambition of a few powerful representatives of the monarchy; the exploitation of land and their men -black, white and indigenous during 300 years of extortion and colonialism-; the class distinction and uncountable injustices that oppressed people at the time. All of these chains would disappear after achieving freedom.

The song also mentions the admirable futuristic vision of Vicente Salias, who foresaw the army of heroes that Simon Bolivar would later command, as well as their unthinkable achievements. All of this was a sublime and vibrant inspiration that would lead to freedom, something comparable to God’s doings

And from the Empyrean

The Supreme Author

A sublime spirit

To the people blew.

In the Chorus, the author pays tribute to and evokes Caracas, the city in which the revolutionary movement started and finished the foreign domination, while glorifying its people, as follows.

— Chorus —

Glory to the brave people

who shook off the yoke,

Once the Republican life was a fact, Glory to the Brave People was named “National Song,” proving the aspirations of the people to have it as a patriotic symbol. After all, no other song would be as appropriate as this one. No one had survived the entire independence process.

Uses of the National Anthem

Every day, this song is still played on all local, regional and national radio stations and TV networks. According to the Constitution, this is a mandatory broadcasting that should be played at 12:00 am and at 6:00 pm.

Of course, it is allowed to play a reduced version in which only the Chorus and the first stanza are played. However, during formal and major events, it shall be completely played, including all verses, introductory notes and repetitions of the Chorus.

Debate about the authorship

Even though there is no proof, it may be possible that Glory to the Brave People may have been created on 18 April 1811 to commemorate the first anniversary of the 1810’s revolution.

There have been debates about the authorship. Although Juan Jose Landaeta is officially the composer, some historians think that Lino Gallardo -author of many other patriotic and popular songs at the time- may have been the original author, according to Francisca Paula Gallardo and the Artisan Quintin Rengifo, who was 76 years old in 1881 and still lived in Caracas and who was student of Lino Gallardo, respectively.

Despite the efforts of respected historians and musicologists, the authorship of the National Anthem has not been able to be proved successfully.

References

Anonymous. (n.d.). Venezuela Tuya. Himno Nacional de Venezuela

Daniel D'Amato

By Daniel D'Amato

Daniel D'Amato is a regular Venezuelan who wants to give a glimpse of his country, Venezuela, to the rest of the world.