Pichincha is an active stratovolcano in the country of Ecuador, whose capital Quito wraps around its eastern slopes. The mountain's two highest peaks are the Guagua (4,784 metres (15,696 ft)), which means "child" in Quechua and the Rucu (4,698 metres (15,413 ft)), which means "old person". The active caldera is in the Guagua, on the western side of the mountain.
Both peaks are visible from the city of Quito and are easily climbed. Guagua is usually accessed from the village Lloa outside of Quito. In October 1999, the volcano erupted and covered the city with several inches of ash. Prior to that, the last major eruptions were in 1553 and in 1660, when about 30 cm of ash fell on the city.
The province in which it is located takes its name from the mountain, as is the case for many of the other provinces in Ecuador (Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Imbabura, etc.). On May 24th 1822, General Sucre southern campaign in the context of the Spanish-America war of independence, came to a climax when patriot forces defeated the Spanish colonial army on the south East slopes of this volcano. The engagement, known as the Battle of Pichincha, secured the independence of the territories of present day Ecuador.