Ecuador facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Republic of Ecuador
República del Ecuador
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Dios, patria y libertad"  (Spanish)
"Pro Deo, Patria et Libertate"  (Latin)
"God, homeland and liberty"
Capital Quito
Largest city Guayaquil
Official languages Spanish
Demonym Ecuadorian
Ecuadorean
Government Unitary presidential republic
 -  President Rafael Correa
 -  Vice President Jorge Glas
 -  President of the National Assembly Gabriela Rivadeneira
Independence
 -  declared August 10, 1809 
 -  from Spain May 24, 1822 
 -  from Gran Colombia May 13, 1830 
 -  Recognized by Spain February 16, 1830 
Area
 -  Total 275,830 (with Galápagos) km2 (75th)
109,483 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 5
Population
 -  2011 estimate 15,007,343 (65th)
 -  2010 census 14,306,876
 -  Density 53.8/km2 (151st)
139.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $125.283 billion
 -  Per capita $9,127 (90th)
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $65,831 billion (63rd)
 -  Per capita $5,057 (98th)
Gini (2009) 49
high
HDI (2011) Increase 0.720
high · 83rd
Currency U.S. dollar2 (USD)
Time zone ECT, GALT (UTC−5, −6)
Drives on the right
Calling code +593
Internet TLD .ec
1. Quechua and other Amerindian languages spoken by indigenous communities.
2. Sucre until 2000, followed by the U.S. dollar and Ecuadorian centavo coins

Ecuador is a small country in South America. It is along the equator. Ecuador has jungles and mountains like the Andes mountains. On the coast of the Pacific Ocean there are beaches. The capital is Quito in the Andes. Quito is at a high altitude. This makes it hard for some new visitors to breathe. The biggest city is Guayaquil on the coast. Cuenca, Ecuador is famous for its old buildings and colonial architecture. Peru borders Ecuador to the south, and Colombia borders it to the north. The Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean are also part of Ecuador and are famous for lots of animals. Charles Darwin travelled in Galápagos.

History

Pre-Inca era

Various peoples had settled in the area of the future Ecuador before the arrival of the Incas. The archeological evidence suggests that the Paleo-Indians' first dispersal into the Americas occurred near the end of the last glacial period ], around 16,500–13,000 years ago. The first Indians who reached Ecuador may have journeyed by land from North and Central America or by boat down the Pacific Ocean coastline. Much later migrations to Ecuador may have come via the Amazon tributaries, others descended from northern South America, and others ascended from the southern part of South America through the Andes. They developed different languages while emerging as unique ethnic groups.

Even though their languages were unrelated, these groups developed similar groups of cultures, each based in different environments. The people of the coast developed a fishing, hunting, and gathering culture; the people of the highland Andes developed a sedentary agricultural way of life; and the people of the Amazon basin developed a nomadic hunting-and-gathering mode of existence.

Over time these groups began to interact and intermingle with each other so that groups of families in one area became one community or tribe, with a similar language and culture. Many civilizations arose in Ecuador, such as the Valdivia Culture and Machalilla Culture on the coast, the Quitus (near present-day Quito), and the Cañari (near present-day Cuenca). Each civilization developed its own distinctive architecture, pottery, and religious interests.

In the highland Andes mountains, where life was more sedentary, groups of tribes cooperated and formed villages; thus the first nations based on agricultural resources and the domestication of animals formed.

Inca era

When the Incas arrived, they found that these confederations were so developed that it took the Incas two generations of rulers – Topa Inca Yupanqui and Huayna Capac – to absorb them into the Inca Empire. The native confederations that gave them the most problems were deported to distant areas of Peru, Bolivia, and north Argentina. Similarly, a number of loyal Inca subjects from Peru and Bolivia were brought to Ecuador to prevent rebellion. Thus, the region of highland Ecuador became part of the Inca Empire in 1463 sharing the same language.

In contrast, when the Incas made incursions into coastal Ecuador and the eastern Amazon jungles of Ecuador, they found both the environment and indigenous people more hostile. Moreover, when the Incas tried to subdue them, these indigenous people withdrew to the interior and resorted to guerrilla tactics. As a result, Inca expansion into the Amazon basin and the Pacific coast of Ecuador was hampered. The indigenous people of the Amazon jungle and coastal Ecuador remained relatively autonomous until the Spanish soldiers and missionaries arrived in force. The Amazonian people and the Cayapas of Coastal Ecuador were the only groups to resist Inca and Spanish domination, maintaining their language and culture well into the 21st century.

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Inca Empire was involved in a civil war. The untimely death of both the heir Ninan Cuchi and the Emperor Huayna Capac, from a European disease that spread into Ecuador, created a power vacuum between two factions. The northern faction headed by Atahualpa claims that Huayna Capac gave a verbal decree before his death about how the empire should be divided. He gave the territories pertaining to present-day Ecuador and northern Peru to his favorite son Atahualpa, who was to rule from Quito; and he gave the rest to Huáscar, who was to rule from Cuzco. He willed that his heart be buried in Quito, his favorite city, and the rest of his body be buried with his ancestors in Cuzco.

Huáscar did not recognize his father's will, since it did not follow Inca traditions of naming an Inca through the priests. Huáscar ordered Atahualpa to attend their father's burial in Cuzco and pay homage to him as the new Inca ruler. Atahualpa, with a large number of his father's veteran soldiers, decided to ignore Huáscar, and a civil war ensued. A number of bloody battles took place until finally Huáscar was captured. Atahualpa marched south to Cuzco and killed the royal family associated with his brother.

A small band of Spaniards headed by Francisco Pizarro landed in Tumbez and marched over the Andes Mountains until they reached Cajamarca, where the new Inca Atahualpa was to hold an interview with them. Valverde, the priest, tried to convince Atahualpa that he should join the Catholic Church and declare himself a vassal of Spain. This infuriated Atahualpa so much that he threw the Bible to the ground. At this point the enraged Spaniards, with orders from Valverde, attacked and massacred unarmed escorts of the Inca and captured Atahualpa. Pizarro promised to release Atahualpa if he made good his promise of filling a room full of gold. But, after a mock trial, the Spaniards executed Atahualpa by strangulation.

Spanish rule

New infectious diseases, endemic to the Europeans, caused high fatalities among the Amerindian population during the first decades of Spanish rule, as they had no immunity. At the same time, the natives were forced into the encomienda labor system for the Spanish. In 1563, Quito became the seat of a real audiencia (administrative district) of Spain and part of the Viceroyalty of Peru and later the Viceroyalty of New Granada.

After nearly 300 years of Spanish rule, Quito was still a small city numbering 10,000 inhabitants. On August 10, 1809, the city's criollos called for independence from Spain (first among the peoples of Latin America).

Independence

Mapa de Venezuela, N. Granada y Quito, 1821
The States of Ecuador, Cundinamarca, and Venezuela formed The Republic of Great Colombia.
AJSucre
Antonio José de Sucre

On October 9, 1820, Guayaquil became the first city in Ecuador to gain its independence from Spain. The people were very happy about the independence and celebrated, which is now Ecuador's independence day, officially on May 24, 1822. The rest of Ecuador gained its independence after Antonio José de Sucre defeated the Spanish Royalist forces at the Battle of Pichincha, near Quito. Following the battle, Ecuador joined Simón Bolívar's Republic of Gran Colombia, also including modern-day Colombia, Venezuela and Panama. In 1830 Ecuador separated from Gran Colombia and became an independent republic.

The 19th century was marked by instability for Ecuador with a rapid succession of rulers.

Ecuador abolished slavery and freed its black slaves in 1851.

Liberal Revolution

Historic Center of Quito - World Heritage Site by UNESCO - Photo 437
Antique dug out canoes in the courtyard of the Old Military Hospital in the Historic Center of Quito

The Liberal Revolution of 1895 under Eloy Alfaro reduced the power of the clergy and the conservative land owners.

Loss of claimed territories since 1830

Presidencias de Santafé y Quito
Presidencia of Quito in 1740 in Yellow, according to President Juan José Flores' territorial claims for Ecuador

President Juan José Flores de Jure Territorial Claims for Ecuador

Since Ecuador's separation from Colombia in May 13, 1830, its first President, General Juan José Flores, laid claim to the territory that was called the Real Audiencia of Quito, also referred to as the Presidencia of Quito.

Ecuador during its long and turbulent history has lost most of its contested territories to each of its more powerful neighbors, such as Colombia in 1832 and 1916, Brazil in 1904 through a series of peaceful treaties, and Peru after a short war in which the Protocol of Rio de Janeiro was signed in 1942.

Struggle for independence

During the struggle for independence, before Peru or Ecuador became independent nations, a few areas of the former Vice Royalty of New Granada - Guayaquil, Tumbez, and Jaén - declared themselves independent from Spain.

However, Bolívar's intention was to form a new republic known as the Gran Colombia, out of the liberated Spanish territory of New Granada which consisted of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. San Martin's plans were thwarted when Bolívar, with the help of Marshal Antonio José de Sucre and the Gran Colombian liberation force, descended from the Andes mountains and occupied Guayaquil; they also annexed the newly liberated Audiencia de Quito to the Republic of Gran Colombia. This happened a few days before San Martin's Peruvian forces could arrive and occupy Guayaquil, with the intention of annexing Guayaquil to the rest of Audiencia of Quito (Ecuador) and to the future republic of Peru. Historic documents repeatedly stated that San Martin told Bolivar he came to Guayaquil to liberate the land of the Incas from Spain. Bolivar countered by sending a message from Guayaquil welcoming San Martin and his troops to Colombian soil.

Peruvian occupation of Jaén, Tumbes, and Guayaquil

On July 28, 1821, Peruvian independence was proclaimed in Lima by the Liberator San Martin and Tumbes and Jaen which were included as part of the revolution of Trujillo by the Peruvian occupying force, had the whole region swear allegiance to the new Peruvian flag and incorporated itself into Peru, even though Peru was not completely liberated from Spain. After Peru was completely liberated from Spain by the patriot armies led by Bolivar and Antonio Jose de Sucre at the Battle of Ayacucho dated December 9, 1824, there was a strong desire by some Peruvians to resurrect the Inca Empire and to include Bolivia and Ecuador. President and General José de La Mar, who was born in Ecuador, believing his opportunity had come to annex the District of Ecuador to Peru, personally, with a Peruvian force, invaded and occupied Guayaquil and a few cities in the Loja region of southern Ecuador on November 28, 1828.

The war ended when a triumphant heavily outnumbered southern Gran Colombian army at Battle of Tarqui dated February 27, 1829, led by Antonio José de Sucre, defeated the Peruvian invasion force led by President La Mar. This defeat led to the signing of the Treaty of Guayaquil dated September 22, 1829, whereby Peru and its Congress recognized Gran Colombian rights over Tumbes, Jaen, and Maynas.

The dissolution of Gran Colombia

Gran Colombia map 1824
The Gran Colombia showing all Colombian Land Claims outlined in red
Ecuador1830
Ecuador in 1830

The Central District of the Gran Colombia, known as Cundinamarca or New Granada (modern Colombia) with its capital in Bogota, did not recognize the separation of the Southern District of the Gran Colombia, with its capital in Quito, from the Gran Colombian federation on May 13, 1830. After Ecuador's separation, the Department of Cauca voluntarily decided to unite itself with Ecuador due to instability in the central government of Bogota.

Fruitless negotiations continued between the governments of Bogotá and Quito, where the government of Bogotá did not recognize the separation of Ecuador or that of Cauca from the Gran Colombia until war broke out in May 1832. In five months, New Granada defeated Ecuador due to the fact that the majority of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces were composed of rebellious angry unpaid veterans from Venezuela and Colombia that did not want to fight against their fellow countrymen. Seeing that his officers were rebelling, mutinying, and changing sides, President Flores had no option but to reluctantly make peace with New Granada. The Treaty of Pasto of 1832 was signed by which the Department of Cauca was turned over to New Granada (modern Colombia), the government of Bogotá recognized Ecuador as an independent country and the border was to follow the Ley de División Territorial de la República de Colombia (Law of the Division of Territory of the Gran Colombia) passed on June 25, 1824.

Struggle for possession of the Amazon Basin

South America 1879
South America (1879): All land claims by Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia in 1879

When Ecuador seceded from the Gran Colombia, Peru decided not to follow the treaty of Guayaquil of 1829 or the protocoled agreements made.

Peru began occupying the defenseless missionary villages in the Mainas or Maynas region which it began calling Loreto with its capital in Iquitos. During its negotiations with Brazil, Peru stated that based on the royal cedula of 1802, it claimed Amazonian Basin territories up to Caqueta River in the north and toward the Andes Mountain range, depriving Ecuador and Colombia of all their claims to the Amazon Basin. Colombia protested stating that its claims extended south toward the Napo and Amazon Rivers. Ecuador protested that it claimed the Amazon Basin between the Caqueta river and the Marañon-Amazon river. Peru ignored these protests and created the Department of Loreto in 1853 with its capital in Iquitos which it had recently invaded and systematically began to occupy using the river systems in all the territories claimed by both Colombia and Ecuador. Peru briefly occupied Guayaquil again in 1860, since Peru thought that Ecuador was selling some of the disputed land for development to British bond holders, but returned Guayaquil after a few months. The border dispute was then submitted to Spain for arbitration from 1880 to 1910, but to no avail.

In the early part of the 20th century Ecuador made an effort to peacefully define its eastern Amazonian borders with its neighbors through negotiation. On May 6, 1904, Ecuador signed the Tobar-Rio Branco Treaty recognizing Brazil's claims to the Amazon in recognition of Ecuador's claim to be an Amazonian country to counter Peru's earlier Treaty with Brazil back in October 23, 1851. Then after a few meetings with the Colombian government's representatives an agreement was reached and the Muñoz Vernaza-Suarez Treaty was signed July 15, 1916, in which Colombian rights to the Putumayo river were recognized as well as Ecuador's rights to the Napo river and the new border was a line that ran midpoint between those two rivers.

In July 21, 1924 the Ponce-Castro Oyanguren Protocol was signed between Ecuador and Peru where both agreed to hold direct negotiations and to resolve the dispute in an equitable manner and to submit the differing points of the dispute to the United States for arbitration. Negotiations between the Ecuadorian and Peruvian representatives began in Washington on September 30, 1935.

Four years later in 1941, amid fast-growing tensions within disputed territories around the Zarumilla River, war broke out with Peru. Peru claimed that Ecuador's military presence in Peruvian-claimed territory was an invasion; Ecuador, for its part, claimed that Peru had recently invaded Ecuador around the Zarumilla River and that Peru since Ecuador's independence from Spain has systematically occupied Tumbez, Jaen, and most of the disputed territories in the Amazonian Basin between the Putomayo and Marañon Rivers. In July 1941, troops were mobilized in both countries. Peru had an army of 11,681 troops who faced a poorly supplied and inadequately armed Ecuadorian force of 2,300, of which only 1,300 were deployed in the southern provinces. Hostilities erupted on July 5, 1941, when Peruvian forces crossed the Zarumilla river at several locations, testing the strength and resolve of the Ecuadorian border troops. Finally, on July 23, 1941, the Peruvians launched a major invasion, crossing the Zarumilla river in force and advancing into the Ecuadorian province of El Oro.

Ecuador-peru-land-claims-01
Map of Ecuadorian Land Claims after 1916

During the course of the Ecuadorian–Peruvian War, Peru gained control over part of the disputed territory and some parts of the province of El Oro, and some parts of the province of Loja, demanding that the Ecuadorian government give up its territorial claims. The Peruvian Navy blocked the port of Guayaquil, almost cutting all supplies to the Ecuadorian troops. After a few weeks of war and under pressure by the United States and several Latin American nations, all fighting came to a stop. Ecuador and Peru came to an accord formalized in the Rio Protocol, signed on January 29, 1942, in favor of hemispheric unity against the Axis Powers in World War II favoring Peru with the territory they occupied at the time the war came to an end.

The 1944 Glorious May Revolution followed a military-civilian rebellion and a subsequent civic strike which successfully removed Carlos Arroyo del Río as a dictator from Ecuador's government.

Relevo-ecu
Ecuadorian troops during the Cenepa War
Mirage F.1JA
The Mirage F.1JA (FAE-806) was one aircraft involved in the claimed shooting down of two Peruvian Sukhoi Su-22 on February 10, 1995.

The Rio Protocol failed to precisely resolve the border along a little river in the remote Cordillera del Cóndor region in southern Ecuador. This caused a long-simmering dispute between Ecuador and Peru, which ultimately led to fighting between the two countries; first a border skirmish in January–February 1981 known as the Paquisha Incident, and ultimately full-scale warfare in January 1995 where the Ecuadorian military shot down Peruvian aircraft and helicopters and Peruvian infantry marched into southern Ecuador. Each country blamed the other for the onset of hostilities, known as the Cenepa War. Sixto Durán Ballén, the Ecuadorian president, famously declared that he would not give up a single centimeter of Ecuador.

Ecuador and Peru signed the Brasilia Presidential Act peace agreement on October 26, 1998, which ended hostilities, and effectively put an end to the Western Hemisphere's longest running territorial dispute.

Military governments (1972–79)

In 1972, a "revolutionary and nationalist" military junta overthrew the government of Velasco Ibarra. The coup d'état was led by General Guillermo Rodríguez and executed by navy commander Jorge Queirolo G. The new president exiled José María Velasco to Argentina. He remained in power until 1976, when he was removed by another military government. That military junta was led by Admiral Alfredo Poveda, who was declared chairman of the Supreme Council. The civil society more and more insistently called for democratic elections. Colonel Richelieu Levoyer, Government Minister, proposed and implemented a Plan to return to the constitutional system through universal elections. This plan enabled the new democratically elected president to assume the duties of the executive office.

Return to democracy

Elections were held on April 29, 1979, under a new constitution. Jaime Roldós Aguilera was elected president, garnering over one million votes, the most in Ecuadorian history. He took office on August 10, as the first constitutionally elected president after nearly a decade of civilian and military dictatorships. In 1980, he founded the Partido Pueblo, Cambio y Democracia (People, Change, and Democracy Party) after withdrawing from the Concentración de Fuerzas Populares (Popular Forces Concentration) and governed until May 24, 1981, when he died along with his wife and the minister of defense, Marco Subia Martinez, when his Air Force plane crashed in heavy rain near the Peruvian border. Many people believe that he was assassinated by the CIA, given the multiple death threats leveled against him because of his reformist agenda, deaths in automobile crashes of two key witnesses before they could testify during the investigation, and the sometimes contradictory accounts of the incident.

Roldos was immediately succeeded by Vice President Osvaldo Hurtado, who was followed in 1984 by León Febres Cordero from the Social Christian Party. Rodrigo Borja Cevallos of the Democratic Left (Izquierda Democrática, or ID) party won the presidency in 1988, running in the runoff election against Abdalá Bucaram (brother in law of Jaime Roldos and founder of the Ecuadorian Roldosist Party). His government was committed to improving human rights protection and carried out some reforms, notably an opening of Ecuador to foreign trade.

The emergence of the Amerindian population as an active constituency has added to the democratic volatility of the country in recent years.

Population

As of 2011, 14,440,000 people lived in Ecuador. The ethnic makeup of the country is: 65% Mestizo, 25% Amerindian, 7% white, and 3% black. Some 27% of the people live below the national poverty line.

The official language is Spanish. Many other indigenous languages are spoken. Most of the people in Ecuador are Roman Catholics, although Ecuador has religious freedom and people can follow any religion they choose.

Ecuador lies between the equator. Ecuador has many active volcanoes and also one of the greatest densities of volcanoes in the world.

Historic Center of Quito

The Historic Center of Quito, Ecuador is one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas. This center was, together with the historic centre of Kraków in Poland, the first to be declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 18 September 1978. The Historic Centre of Quito is located in the center south of the capital on an area of 320 hectares (790 acres), and is considered one of the most important historic areas in Latin America.There are about 130 monumental buildings (which hosts a variety of pictorial art and sculpture, mostly of religious inspired in a multi-faceted range of schools and styles) and 5,000 properties registered in the municipal inventory of heritage properties.

Presidential Palace

Carondelet - Quito
Presidential Palace in Quito, Ecuador

Carondelet Palace (Spanish: Palacio de Carondelet) is the seat of government of the Republic of Ecuador, located in the historical center of Quito. Axis is the nerve of the public space known as Independence Square or Plaza Grande (colonial name), around which were built in addition the Archbishop's Palace, the Municipal Palace, the Hotel Plaza Grande and the Metropolitan Cathedral. The history of this emblematic building dating back to colonial times, around 1570, with the acquisition of the former royal houses located in the city of Quito

During the Republican era, almost all the presidents (constitutional, internees and dictators) have dispatched from this building, which is the seat of Government of the Republic of Ecuador. In addition to the administrative units in the third level of the Palace is the presidential residence, a luxurious colonial-style apartment in which they live the President and his family. Rafael Correa, president since 2007, considering that Carondelet Palace and its agencies are Ecuadoran heritages, converted the presidential compound into a museum accessible to all who wish to visit it. To this end, areas were organized to locate objects within their cultural contexts to make them accessible to the world. Several rooms and spaces within the palace are used for this purpose.

Church of La Compañía de Jesús

La Compañía en Quito Ecuador
Gold leaf interior of the Church of the Society of Jesus

Construction began in 1605, with Mastrilli laying the first stone. The building was not completed until 1765. La Compañía is among the best-known churches in Quito because of its large central nave, which is profusely decorated with gold leaf, gilded plaster and wood carvings. Inspired by two Roman Jesuit churches — the Chiesa del Gesù and the Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola — La Compañía is one of the most significant works of Spanish Baroque architecture in South America.

Independence Square

Independence Square Historic Center - Plaza de la Independencia en Quito Ecuador
Independence Square, Historic Center of Quito

Also known as Big Square (Spanish: Plaza de la Independencia, Plaza Grande). Historic public square of Quito (Ecuador), located in the heart of the old city. This is the central square of the city and one of the symbols of the executive power of the nation. Its main feature is the monument to the independence heroes of August 10, 1809, date remembered as the First Cry of Independence of the Royal Audience of Quito from spanish monarchy. The environment of the square is flanked by the Carondelet Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace, the Municipal Palace and the Plaza Grande Hotel.

Church of San Fransisco

The Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco (English: Church and Monastery of St. Francis), colloquially known as El San Francisco, is a colonial-styled church and monastery located in Quito, Ecuador. Construction of the building began a few weeks after the founding of the city in 1534 and ended in 1604. The founder of the church was Franciscan missionary Jodoco Ricke.

The building's construction began around 1550, sixteen years after Quito was founded by Spanish conquistadors, and was finished in approximately 1680. The building was officially inaugurated in 1605. It is not known who designed the original plans for the complex, though the most-accepted theory is that they were sent from Spain, based on the topographical study of Ricke and Gosseal. It is also possible that architects came from Spain for the construction of the monastery, or that Ricke and Gosseal managed the entire construction.

Plaza de San Francisco en Centro histórico de Quito, Ecuador
Plaza San Fransisco ( Church and Convent of St. Francis ) in the Historic Center of Quito.
Stfrancisquito
Courtyard of the Church of San Fransisco.

Church of El Sagrario

In colonial times, the Church of El Sagrario was one of the largest architectural marvels of Quito. The construction is of the Italian Renaissance style and was built in the late 17th century. It has a screen that supports its sculptures and decorations. This structure was built by Bernardo de Legarda. Its central arch leads to a dome decorated with frescoes of biblical scenes featuring archangels, work by Francisco Albán. The altarpiece was gilded by Legarda. It is located on Calle García Moreno, near the Cathedral.

Church of Santo Domingo

Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Quito - 2
View of the Church of Santo Domingo

Although they arrived in Quito in 1541, in 1580 the Dominicans started to build their temple, using the plans and direction of Francisco Becerra. The work was completed in the first half of the 17th century. Inside the church are valuable structures, such as the neo-Gothic main altar. This was placed in the late 19th century by Italian Dominicans. The roof of the Mudéjar style church features paintings of martyrs of the Order of Saint Dominic. The roof of the nave is composed of a pair and knuckle frame, coated inside by pieces of tracery. In the museum located on the north side of the lower cloister are wonderful pieces of great Quito sculptors such as the Saint Dominic de Guzmán by Father Carlos, the Saint John of God by Caspicara, and the Saint Thomas Aquinas by Legarda. Another Baroque piece that stands is the Chapel of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which is a recognizable feature of the architecture of Quito. This chapel was built beside the church, in the gospel side. In this was founded the largest fraternity in the city of Quito.

El Panecillo

El Panecillo is a hill located in the middle west of the city at an altitude of about 3,016 metres (9,895 ft) above sea level. A monument to the Virgin Mary is located on top of El Panecillo and is visible from most of the city of Quito. In 1976, the Spanish artist Agustín de la Herrán Matorras was commissioned by the religious order of the Oblates to build a 41 metres (135 ft)–tall aluminum monument of a madonna, which was assembled on a high pedestal on the top of Panecillo.

Virgen de Quito Panecillo 03
Virgin of El Panecillo

The Quito School

The Quito School originated in the school of Artes y Oficios, founded in 1552 by the Franciscan priest Jodoco Ricke, who together with Friar Pedro Gocial transformed the San Andrés seminary, where the first indigenous artists were trained. As a cultural expression, it is the result of a long process of acculturation between indigenous peoples and Europeans, and it is one of the richest expressions of miscegenation (mestizaje) and of syncretism, in which the participation of the vanquished Indian is seemingly of minor importance as compared to the dominant European contribution.

Retrato de una señora principal con su negra esclava por Vicente Albán
Portrait of Quito leading lady with his black slave. Vicente Albán, 18th century.

The Quito School (Escuela Quiteña) is an artistic tradition that developed in the territory of the Royal Audience of Quito, from Pasto and Popayán in the north to Piura and Cajamarca in the south, during the colonial period (1542-1824). This artistic production was one of the most important activities in the economy of the Royal Audience of Quito.

The major artists of the Quito School are the sculptors Bernardo de Legarda , Manuel Chili (Caspicara) and Miguel Angel Tejada Zambrado and the painters Fray Pedro Gosseal, Fray Pedro Bedón, Nicolás Javier Goríbar, Hernando de la Cruz, Miguel de Santiago, Manuel de Samaniego

Basilica del Voto Nacional

Basílica del Voto Nacional, Quito - 4
Basilica del Voto Nacional

The Basilica of the National Vow, a Roman Catholic church located in the historic center of Quito, Ecuador. It is sometimes also called the Catedral Consagración de Jesús or the Basílica de San Juan. It is the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas.

The basilica arose from the idea, proposed by father Julio Matovelle in 1883, of building a monument as a perpetual reminder of the consecration of Ecuador to the Sacred Heart, President Luis Cordero issued the decree on July 23, 1883, and it was carried out by president José María Plácido Caamaño on March 5, 1884. The congress, in accordance with the year's budget, designated 12,000 pesos for the construction - 1,000 pesos per month, beginning in 1884. By the decree of July 3, 1885, the fourth Quitense Provincial Council turned the construction of the basilica into a religious commitment in the name of the country. The basilica remains technically "unfinished." & local legend says that when the Basílica is completed, the end of the world will come.

Metropolitan Cathedral

Construction began in 1562, seventeen years after the diocese of Quito was created (1545) and located in the heart of the historic city and its status as the main church of the city, is one of the largest religious symbols of spiritual value for the Catholic community in the city.

Church of San Agustín

It is one of the seven monumental churches of the 16th and 17th centuries whose main portico was built on stone in the Spanish Baroque-architecture style.

The church includes a small atrium (decorated by a large stone cross), an inside yard with a large garden and a large session hall where the frayers held dissertations or "capitulations" of faith. The cloister and convent have a separate entrance which leads to the garden. The bell tower reaches a high of twenty-two meters (seventy feet) and houses two bronze bells of the period.

Climate

Ecuador is a country of variety. Its climate and landscape varies from one end of the country to the other. However, it is more hot and humid along the coast and in the Amazon jungle lowlands than it is in the mountains.

La Cumbre - ISS
Fernandina Island, viewed from the International Space Station, July 2002
Bartoleme Island
View from Bartolomé Island, Galápagos Islands
Darwinarch
Darwin's Arch at Darwin Island in the Galapagos.

Plants and animals

Spheniscus mendiculus juvenile
Galápagos Penguin, (Spheniscus mendiculus)
Puerto Ayora isla Santa Cruz Islas Galápagos Ecuador foto por Alvaro Sevilla Design
Puerto Ayora at night on the Island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.
Fresh Water Swimming in the Galapagos on the Island of Santa Cruz
Fresh Water Swimming in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos on the Island of Santa Cruz.

Ecuador is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world. In addition to the mainland, Ecuador owns the Galápagos Islands. This is what the country is best known for.

Ecuador has 1,600 bird species and 38 more endemic in the Galápagos. In addition to over 16,000 species of plants, the country has 106 endemic reptiles, 138 endemic amphibians, and 6,000 species of butterfly. The Galápagos Islands are famous as the place of birth of Darwin's Theory of Evolution. They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Miscellaneous

Many different kinds of potatoes and corn are grown in Ecuador. On the coast, many people eat seafood and fish. Cuy is a famous indigenous food that means guinea pig.

Ecuador was part of the Spanish Empire. Spain was interested in finding gold in Ecuador. Before Spain, Ecuador was part of the Inca Empire.

There are large banana farms in Ecuador. Oil is one of Ecuador's natural resources. Ecuador uses the United States dollar for money. Its currency used to be the sucre.

The president of Ecuador is Rafael Correa Delgado.

Other pages

Gallery of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador


Ecuador Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.