Hey all! Did you know that Ecuador celebrates more than one Independence Day each year? They actually celebrate multiple! The most popularly celebrated is August 10th, but one day of celebration was this past week – October 9th.
October 9th is actually the Independence of Guayaquil, and is mostly celebrated by those who live in the city. It is one of the public holidays in Ecuador, and it marks the day when the city of Guayaquil gained independence from Spain in 1820.
The city of Guayaquil was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco de Orellana on July 25, 1538. During the next two hundred years the city was attacked and looted by French and English pirates.
Fun Fact: Francisco de Orellana also completed the first known navigation of the entire length of the Amazon River. He also lost an eye as a teenager during Pizarro’s conquest of Peru. (source)
On October 9, 1820, almost without bloodshed, a group of civilians, supported by soldiers from the “Granaderos de Reserva”, a battalion quartered in Guayaquil, overwhelmed the resistance of the Royalist guards and arrested the Spanish authorities. Guayaquil declared independence from Spain, becoming “Provincia Libre de Guayaquil” (Free Provence of Guayaquil), and José Joaquín de Olmedo was named Jefe Civil (Civilian Chief) of the city.
Fun Fact: José Joaquín de Olmedo was also a famous poet. His best-known work is La victoria de Junin, which pictures the Latin American fighters for independence from Spain as the legitimate heirs of the Incas. The poem consists of 960 verses!
The declaration of independence of Guayaquil became the key victory in the Ecuadorian War of Independence and sparkled the resistance in other cities of Ecuador. The war continued for two more years, and ended with the Battle of Pichincha on May 24, 1822. This date (May 24th) is celebrated as “First Independence Day” because Spain later reclaimed Ecuador, and Ecuador did not gain full independence until August 10, 1830.
During October, the celebration of the Independence of Guayaquil features many artistic and cultural endeavors in city of Guayaquil, which is now called “The Pearl of the Pacific”. A citywide party is held yearly in Guayaquil to celebrate Independence Day.
The celebration in Guayaquil is often combined with celebrations for Día de la Interculturalidad y la Plurinacionalidad (Fun Fact: This day was called “Día de la Raza” or “Day of the Race” until 2011 when it was updated by President Rafael Correa). Celebrated on October 12th, this marks the day in 1492 on which Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colón) first set foot on American soil in what is now known as the Dominican Republic. The date, commemorates the fusion between indigenous peoples of America and the Spanish colonizers, in addition to the appreciation of Hispanic Cultural Heritage. (source)
Fun Fact: Presidente Correa was elected in 2007 and is the current president of Ecuador . He was born in Guayaquil, and went to college in Ecuador, Belgium and the United States. (source)
Guayaquil often appreciates a multi-day artistic festival full of music, food, drinking, dancing, and performances.
Guayaquil is the largest and the most populous city in Ecuador, with around 2.69 million people in the metropolitan area, as well as the nation’s main port. (That’s more people than the entire population of Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota combined!) Guayaquil is located on the western bank of the Guayas River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Guayaquil.