If you travel around Ecuador for a while, you will soon realize someone named Sucre must have been a pretty important figure. Every town has at least one main street or plaza named after this guy and before they started using the US dollar as the main currency, they had sucres. Quito’s beautiful theatre was named after this man as well, which looks like this:
Even though his name keeps popping up everywhere I never actually took the time to look into this guy’s legacy until today. And why today? Today is the 24th of May, which means it is a public holiday here in Ecuador to commemorate the Battle of Pichincha. Pichincha is another recurring name here. It is first of all, a volcano just outside Quito (which I hiked… sort of). It is also a province, a canton, a town, a large bank and a school, among others.
Let’s focus on the battle though, since it is what we owe this day off to! The battle of Pichincha took place in 1822 on the slopes of said volcano led by none other than our favorite general, Antonio José de Sucre. According to a children’s history book, this is how the final battle went down:
Sooo after a long battle, the Spanish were forced to retreat, sadly leaving Abdón Calderón, nicknamed the child hero, critically wounded. On May 25, 1822, Sucre entered with his army in the city of Quito, where he accepted the surrender of all the Spanish forces then based in what the Colombian government called the “Department of Quito”, considered by that Government as an integral part of the Republic of Colombia since its creation on December 17, 1819. So there you have it, the battle of Pichincha in a very small nutshell.
Looking into his life a little further I am a bit ashamed I did not remember more about General de Sucre from my Latin American history classes (sorry prof. Silva). This guy was the great Simon Bolivar‘s bff, whom he succeeded as president of Bolivia in 1825 but only after haven been president of Peru for a couple of months as well. Some life this guy had!
So today, I honor this man who fought for the independence of this beautiful continent and tried to keep it unified until his dying day (he was killed…). Que viva el general de Sucre! Que viva Ecuador!