Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

History of Ecuador

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Ecuador history

Ecuador beachThe first phase Ecuador's history began somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 BC with the rise of indigenous societies in what is now Ecuador. These peoples had developed social organizations with their own beliefs, rites, and ceremonies and an economy based primarily on hunting, gathering, and agriculture. Traces of their existence can be found in archaeological sites located all across Ecuador. This era, which can be divided into four periods (Paleo-Indian or Pre-ceramic, Formative, Regional Development, Integration, and Incan), lasted until the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores in the XVI century.

Organization of the Incas (1.000 AD):

Ecuador FlagThe Central highlands of the Andes was the seat of the Inca empire. It stretched from the south of Colombia to the north of Chile, over an area of more than four thousand square kilometers, across a land known as Tahuantinsuyo. The Incas were thus made up of a vast population of dozens of different ethnic groups with their own languages, customs and economies based on cultivation of the land. In Ecuador, these people spread out along the Andes, occupying some coastal regions and exercising a significant influence on Quito.

Arrival of the Spanish and the end of Tahuantinsuyo (1532):

In 1532 the downfall of Tahuantinsuyo began with the imprisonment of Atahualpa. Heavy fighting took place between the Europeans and the Incas, who resisted the conquest. For the Spanish, America represented a land full of riches, taken in the name of the Crown. Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro were the main protagonist of the time and conquered the native people in a bloody manner. The Europeans used a variety of strategies, among which was indoctrination and the use of rival Indian chiefs.

The Audiencia of Quito in the Colony:

The Real Audiencia de Quito was established in 1563, as an administrative area dependent on the Spanish Crown. It covered the area to the north as far as Pasto, Popayán, Cali, Buenaventura and Buga, currently in Colombia, and to Piura, in Peru, to the south. Its first President was the Spaniard Hernando de Santillán.

From its beginning until the XVIII century, the Audiencia de Quito was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru. It was then under orders of the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada, which had its seat in Santa Fe, until, after the latter was suspended, it again became a dependency of the Viceroyalty of Peru. However, later, King Felipe V decided to return it to la Nueva Granada, after this Viceroyalty was reestablished. Judicially and socially,la Audiencia de Quito had to follow the Viceroyalty of which it was part.

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Last Modified 8/1/06 3:26 PM