History of Guayaquil

The history of Guayaquil starts with its foundation on July 25th 1534, by Francisco de Orellana on the skirts of the Santa Ana hill.

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The city was named after a Guayaquile Indigenous Chief named Guayas, and his wife, Quil. Both of them chose to die before surrendering themselves to the Spaniards.

On the top of the hill of Santa Ana you can observe cannons that were used to defend the city from pirate attacks. Few houses preserve their original architecture, with defense walls facing the river.

Many of these houses were built at different levels on the hill, very typical of the Spaniards and Portuguese.

Guayaquil La Rotonda Monument

history of guayaquil la rotonda

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Since the 16th Century, the Spanish possessions in South America went from the northwestern coast all the way to the south of the continent.

For over two centuries, Lima was the main Spanish administrative center, as capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which extended over all Spanish possessions.

The beautiful monument of La Rotonda at Guayaquil's Simon Bolivar Waterfront shows both liberators shaking hands.

Both liberators, who led the struggles for independence in the Andean Viceroyalties: Simon Bolivar in New Granada and Jose de San Martin in La Plata arrived to Guayaquil in July 1822, where they had a historical encounter and determined that Guayaquil would be annexed to the Gran Colombia.

In the 18th Century the territory was divided into three main administrative centers:

  • The Viceroyalty of New Granada, established in 1717 (Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador)
  • The Viceroyalty of Peru, in 1542 (Peru and Chile)
  • and the Viceroyalty of La Plata, in 1776 (Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia).

This division remained until the end of the Colonial period. The struggles for independence in what is now Ecuador started early, in 1809, but it was not until 1822 when the Spanish were defeated and Ecuador became part of the Gran Colombia, formed by Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

In the history of Guayaquil, shortly after midnight on October 9, 1820 a group of patriots of Guayaquil, allied with the Corps of Granaderos took over the military post, its arms and ammunition.

The Spanish authorities, mainly the Commander and the Governor were detained and by dawn the citizens of Guayaquil were celebrating the triumph of the revolution. The Act of Independence of Guayaquil was signed that same day.

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The month of October of each year is now part of the history of Guayaquil, the celebration of the Independence of this city is the perfect excuse for many artistic and cultural activities in the newly restored city.

During your vacations in Ecuador, visit Guayaquil also called "The Pearl of the Pacific".

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)
With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading! There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands
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Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World
Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in. Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!

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Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands
If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier. But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you. Small, well-priced, and reliable!

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire
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