Ecuador History

Ecuador History with an extensive review on the accounts of this country beginning with the Spanish conquest in the sixteen century.


During the early part of the sixteenth century, where the great Inca Empire stretched all the way south to Chile and to the north, as far as Colombia.

It advanced northward through many wars with the independent tribes living in present-day Ecuador.

Their triumphs were strengthened with the marriage of Emperor Huayna Cápac and Princess Paccha of Quito, which had been the capital of the Shyris Indian's domains.

The last Inca Emperor was Atahualpa the son of Huayna Capac and Paccha. His execution marked the triumph of Spanish conquerors Francisco Pizarro and his men.

They arrived in Ecuadorian territory from Panama in 1526. They had weapons that the Indians had never seen before and caused them great fear.

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The Spanish colonial period in Ecuador history, as in the rest of Spanish America, experienced a continuous mixture of the European and native people and their cultures. The most desirable life-style was modeled on European fashions, adapted to the possibilities of the Americas.

This led to the formation of cultures that were different from both the aboriginal ways and those of the Iberian peninsula, with their own customs and lifestyles: they spoke Spanish, practiced the Catholic religion and followed Spanish traditions, laced strongly with native American form, esthetics and feelings.

At the present time, the Indian population speaks Quichua (and or a number of other minority languages), and is usually bilingual. They live mostly in rural areas and maintain their own ways of living and traditions, with a mixture of Catholic religious elements.

The indigenous folk, like the native people of Mexico, Peru and Bolivia, for example, represent sizable groups that have been assimilated only partially into modern life.

In this brief Ecuador history we see that Quito City founded with the name of "San Francisco de Quito" (with St. Francis as its patron saint), was built on the site of the Incan capital, in 1534.

Like any Spanish colonial town, it was laid out with the typical grid pattern of narrow streets, beginning in the main square or plaza (now Independence Square) where you can admire the buildings of the civil authorities (president, Mayor), the church authority (Archbishop) and the cathedral. Read More About the Independence of Ecuador

Along Ecuador history, the transportation during the colonial period and the first years of the Republic was very difficult. It would take over 8 days to travel the 400 kilometers from Quito to Guayaquil.

Reaching Spain was very difficult as the trip included either transshipping in Panama or sailing around Cape Horn to reach the Atlantic Ocean.

The major agricultural products and handicrafts, incipient industry (mainly textiles) and life as a whole were ruled by Spain's laws for the colonies and their institutions, regarding property, inheritance, contracts, trade and work.

These rules were modified and adapted to the circumstances of native elements and to a reality that was different, new and distant from the mother country.

One of the most important facts in Ecuador history is the First Outcry of Independence which was raised in Quito, in 1809.

It was held in an environment with a mixture of races, cultures, different feelings and costumes and a gradual spread of the written word.

For this reason, Quito is known as the Light of the Americas.

This uprising was the first South American independence movement that formed its own present government, with the Spanish immigrants acceptance, support and participation.

This government carried out its administrative matters, appointed ambassadors and explained its position of freedom from Spain, which at the time had been conquered by the French Bonaparte.

In this part of Ecuador history however, Spanish troops moved in the following year from Lima and Bogota to re-conquer Quito for the Crown.

Therefore, it was necessary to wait for the development and triumph of the lengthy struggle for liberty, won in the battles of Boyaca, Colombia (1819), Carabobo, Venezuela (1821), Pichincha (alongside Quito, on May 24, 1822) and finally, Ayacucho, Peru (1824).

The onetime Viceroy-ship of New Granada comprised Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. They held together as Gran Colombia under a single red, yellow and blue flag until 1830, according to the conception of Simon Bolivar, the Liberator. In that year, Ecuador and Venezuela broke off to form their own independent republics.

In Ecuador history we see that one of the first important steps taken in the New Republic was to declare the freedom for all the slaves, under President Urbina, in 1832.

Also, at the beginning of this new stage, there were many pressures and Guayaquil and Cuenca threatened to secede.

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The process of national unification took several decades, and it was successfully culminated in the presidency of Garcia Moreno between 1860 and 1875.

There was significant cultural and material development under this traditionalistic, conservative, regime.

In 1895, the Liberal Revolution began, under "General Eloy Alfaro", who separated the Church and the State and established public education, among a number of other such lasting changes.

In 1925, a military movement of young officers undertook a process to modernize the government, specially in terms of its economic institutions.

Unite States experts advised the government, and the Central Bank of Ecuador was created, along with the monetary legislation.

This gave some order to the economic power in Ecuador. Until now the Sierra (Highlands) used to be stronger economically but, due to the tropical farm exports of cacao, the banks in Guayaquil gained control.

In 1937, the Labor Code was issued, under General Alberto Enriquez. These controversial laws have been in force ever since, making a significant contribution to maintain social peace in Ecuador.

Dr. Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra, who was elected president of Ecuador for five separate times, played a major role in Ecuador history.

He built several roadways and buffered the conflicts between liberals and conservatives, clergy and anti-clergy, building the basic understanding of nationhood which persists to this day.

In 1941, Peru closed a century of territorial expansion with a war that forced Ecuador to sign a Treaty of Peace, Amity and Borders in 1942.

The borders traced by this treaty have never been fully accepted by the people in Ecuador, who feel that Peru took unfair advantage of a smaller and peaceful country.

According to Ecuador history, during the time of the Gran Colombia, Ecuador resisted successfully the Peruvian attempts to seize the Ecuadorian territory, which were seen as a vestige of the conquering spirit of the ancient Inca Empire.

Most of Ecuador's development during this and the last century have been based on its main exports.

After cacao plantations were plagued by pests and diseases, exports of balsa wood gained force, as well as some copper and rice during World War II, followed by coffee and above all "bananas."

The banana boom allowed Ecuador to continue developing, and its growth was further accelerated by the oil boom in the seventies.

Unfortunately for this country, the abrupt drop in oil prices, from 40 to under 10 dollars per barrel in the eighties, produced a crisis, which along with the foreign debt, caused the Ecuadorian economy to go back at least ten years.

The country had tried to diversify its exportations. The exportation of shrimp and Ecuador Flowers especially, has become an important activity for the economy of this land.

The country and the persons involved in agriculture are trying to identify new products that will be wanted by other countries.

Efforts made during the last few decades allowed Ecuador to enjoy a situation of relative tranquility. The development of its social institutions and legislation has maintained social equilibrium.

However, the middle class has become poorer due to the constant economic adjustments measures, shrinking oil revenues and the foreign debt (although the government has made efforts to pay it back).

Furthermost, in Ecuador history, we find that the country have gone through several problems like an earthquake in 1987, and another war with Peru in 1995.

In 2000 the US dollar became part of Ecuador history. Since the country adopted the U.S. Dollar Currency the inflation dropped from 60% in 2000 to 2% in 2004 and now is being very attractive to investors by 2008. Read More About Ecuador Government

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

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. Click to order from Amazon

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.

Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Click to order from Amazon

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!


Moon Spotlight Galapagos. Click to order from Amazon

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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. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.

This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


See More About Ecuador

Ecuador Facts

Ecuador Geography

Ecuador Traditions

Ecuador and its People

Adventure Galapagos Tours

If you have any questions about Ecuador History, You can post them on our Ecuador FAQ Section and if you'd like to know more about our recommended Amazon Jungle Tours to explore this paradise or from our Galapagos Island Tours to visit this Archipelago you can Contact us here

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