Quito’s Independence Day Celebrations in August
During the month of August, the streets of Quito come alive with color, music, concerts, parades, cultural exhibitions and festivities. It is all in celebration of Quito’s Independence Day that falls on 10 August. This date is not exclusively Quito’s Independence Day, as it is celebrated throughout most of the country, as Ecuador’s Independence Day as well. The city of Quito is where independence for Ecuador began, the day Ecuadorians rose up and started to take back their country.
The deciding factor in this uprising was when King Ferdinand VII of Spain was deposed of his throne in 1808 by Napoleon after he invaded Spain. Napoleon then gave the King’s title to his brother, Joseph, which set the stage for a revolt. The Spanish were furious and those who were loyal to King Ferdinand were enraged by Napoleon’s actions. Local Juntas were quickly set up by the Spanish and in Quito a few citizens followed the lead of the Spanish by establishing their own Junta.
On 10 August 1809, the rebels of Quito took power over Quito and displaced the representatives of Joseph Bonaparte. As the rebels lacked the support of other local residents, power over Quito was taken back by Bonaparte’s men. Violent and savage revenge attacks were made on innocent citizens, which led to brutal street fighting. Local Quito residents started to fight back and by 1810, agreements were signed for the region of Quito to be ruled by a Junta.
Independence was not easily won, with many battles that followed, including the historical Battle of Pinhincha just outside Quito. But the actions that took place in Quito on 10 August 1809 were the foundation on which the fight for Ecuador’s independence was formed. It is a day that has remained in hearts of every citizen of Quito with pride. Guayaquil celebrates its independence on 2 October, as it was on this day in 1820 that the province gained its independence. It was given a status of Free Province in the year 1822 and, therefore, celebrates Independence Day annually on 9 October.
But the date is of no consequence, as Quito was the first to rebel against the French and to start the fight for independence. It was their courage, suffering and determination that inspired many citizens and provinces to follow suit.