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Loja and the Battle of Pichincha

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Each year on May 24th, Ecuadorians celebrate the last battle for independence from Spain. The Liberation Army that fought on the slopes of Pichincha under Antonio José de Sucre was composed of, funded, and supplied by, many insurgents and counted among those were many Lojanos.

In February, the Southern Battalion was assembled in Saraguro for the march north to Quito with men from Guayaquil, Machala, Loja, and also troops from Peru who responded to a plea for assistance from General Sucre. As the troops passed through Loja the population was instructed to provide tens of thousands of pesos, 600 mules and 300 horses, and considerable numbers of men.

Even though these supplies and funds were a hardship for the people of Loja, they were given freely out of the strong desire for complete freedom from Spanish rule. Loja had already declared its independence from Spain a year and a half earlier, on November 18, 1820.

Following the surrender of Spanish forces, the land and inhabitants of wha…