Declaration of Independence
Ecuador gained freedom from Spain on 24 May 1822, and from Gran Colombia on 13 May 1830. However, Ecuador observes its Independence Day officially on 10 August since the First Cry for freedom from the Spanish rule was made under the leadership of Eugenio Espejo, Bishop Cuero y Caicedo and Carlos Montúfar on this day in the year 1809 in Latin America. The Spanish, albeit, recognize the Independence Day of Ecuador on 16 February 1840, as it was on this day when the First President of Ecuador, General Juan José Flores signed a treaty with the Spaniards and inveigled them to officially recognize Ecuador as a free state. Popularly known as ‘El Primer Grito de Independencia’, Independence Day is observed as a national holiday and celebrated with great enthusiasm across the nation.
The Spanish conquered Ecuador in 1533. In 1809, after almost 300 years of Spanish rule, the people of Ecuador revolted against Spain for the first time. The freedom from Spanish rule marked a new beginning for the Ecuadorians. But this attempt lasted for only twenty fours days as the Spanish armed forces once again took control of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. On 9 October 1820, the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil declared freedom from Spain. This news spread like wildfire leading to similar movements in various parts of the region. On 18 October 1820, Portoviejo announced itself as a separate entity and similar steps were initiated on 3 November 1820 in Cuenca, the economic hub of the southern highlands. On 24 May 1822, the Spanish forces were defeated by Antonio José de Sucre at the Battle of Pichincha, near Quito, leading to the independence of Ecuador. Thereafter, Ecuador joined the Republic of Gran Colombia but separated in 1830. The 19th century witnessed a period of instability as the nation saw a succession of rulers.
The years between 1948 and 1960 witnessed prosperity due to the growth in Banana trade. In 1972, Ecuador emerged as an important oil producer. The era of dictatorship was ended in 1979 as the new Constitution brought back democracy. In 2008, 64 percent voters approved the new constitution in a referendum. The new constitution was backed by the President. In May 2017, Lenin Morena assumed the office of the president after winning election.
O homeland, we greet you a thousand times!
Glory be to you, O homeland, glory be to you!
Your breast overflows with joy and peace,
And we see your radiant face shining
(repeat previous three lines)
More brightly than the sun.
The worthy sons of the soil
Which Pichincha on high is adorning,
Always acclaimed you as sovereign lady
And shed their blood for you.
God observed and accepted the sacrifice,
And that blood was the prolific seed
Of other heroes whom the world in astonishment saw
(repeat previous three lines)
Arising in thousands around you.
Independence Day is a momentous occasion. Civic events and military parades are organized across the nation. Besides, various poultry, artisan and agricultural fairs are held for the entertainment of the people. Many cultural events and programs are held at the Palacio de Gobierno and Plaza de la Independencia in the capital city of Quito. Ecuadorians residing in the United States also celebrate this day with equal fervor and enthusiasm. The diaspora in the United States organizes various sports, music, and cultural shows for the entertainment of the audience.
Some of the noted facts that are worth mentioning include:
• President: Lenín Moreno
• Total area: 109, 483 sq mi (283,560 sq km)
• Population (2014 est.): 15,654,411
• Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua, as well as other Amerindian languages
• Agriculture: coffee, plantains, bananas, rice, cocoa, manioc (tapioca), potatoes, sugarcane; sheep, pork, cattle, beef, pigs, dairy products; balsa wood; fish, shrimp
• Industries: food processing, petroleum, wood products, textiles, chemicals
• Natural resources: timber, fish, petroleum, hydropower