Ecuador Brief History

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According to Aristmarketing, Ecuador is a small mountain country crossed by the equator, which has given the country its name. It divides the country into northern and southern hemispheres. Ecuador is a scenic country with different climate zones, from the exotic Pacific coast, to the snow-capped Andes, the Amazon rainforest and to the unique Galapagos Islands, far out in the Pacific Ocean. Within the country’s borders there are five different geographical regions, each with its own cultural character, climate and population groups. The capital Quito is the world’s second highest capital, 2,850 meters above sea level.

My journey started, and ended in the country’s capital Quito and then continued to Ingapirca, Ecuador’s foremost relic from the Inca Empire, the white city of Banos from where I flew into the Amazon where I stayed with the Kiwuchas Indian tribe and the New Year was celebrated in Puerto Lopez on the Pacific Ocean. From Puerto Lopez I went to the island of Isla de La Plata, a miniature Galapagos and then on to the city of Otavalo where I had the opportunity to visit the famous Native American market. I also rode the spectacular railway from Rio Bamba to the coast, one of the coolest in the world.

Ecuador history in brief

It is generally accepted that Asian nomads crossed the frozen Bering Strait about 25,000 years ago. They then migrated south from present-day Alaska, via North America until they reached the South American continent about 12,000 years before Christ. In the Quito region, tools from the Stone Age have been found that are more than 10,000 years old. Remains from a more developed culture date to 3,200 BC and it is known that corn and cassava, sweet potatoes, were grown as early as the 5th century BC.

In the 5th century AD, different ethnic groups began to unite. In the 12th century AD, two Native American tribes dominated the region. On the coast lived the expansionist Caras and in the highlands the more peaceful Quitus. Caras defeated Quitus in battle. They later together formed the Shyri nation, which existed until the 14th century when the Incas began their conquests. The Incas defeated several Native Americans, including the Canaris, who lived in the highlands of present-day Cuenca. Soon the Incas had conquered large parts of the countries we today call Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile. Peru, the home base of the Incas, became the center of the great empire.

The Incan Tupac Yupanqui had a son together with a Canary princess whom they called Huayna Capac. The northern part of the empire where Quito was the capital gained great economic and cultural importance under his leadership. In 1526, the Inca Huayna Capac died and the kingdom was divided between his sons Huascar and Atahualpa. Huascar became Inca in Cuzco and Atahualpa in Quito, which was next as powerful as Cuzco. The Inca Empire had never been divided before. It was not long before the two brothers began to fight each other. Atahualpa defeated his brother Huascar and had him imprisoned.

In the 1520s, the first Spaniards, the Conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizarro, later known as the Conqueror of the Inca, landed. With a group of only 200 men, he set off on a conquest train. By November 1532, he had reached the city of Cajamarca, in present-day Peru. There he managed to capture Atahualpa, the consequences for the Inca people became devastating. During the battle, more than 5,000 Indians were killed, but not a single Spaniard. Pizarro promised Atahualpa freedom if he paid a large ransom in gold and silver. The Inca kept his promise and collected the ransom. The Spaniards betrayed their promise and brought Atahualpa to justice. Before Atahualpa was executed on August 29, 1533, he became a Christian.

After the death of Atahualpa, the colonization of the ancient Inca Empire continued rapidly, with very negative effects on the Indians. These became more or less serfs and were forced into regular slave labor. In one hundred years, the Native American population was halved due to disease and slave labor. As early as the 17th century, there was a shortage of Native American labor, which is why African slave laborers began to be imported.

During the 18th century, several attempts were made to revolt against the Spaniards. However, everyone was beaten down. The first more serious attempt to overthrow the Spanish yoke took place on August 10, 1809, when a group of partisans succeeded in conquering Quito. The uprising was put down after only 24 days. Freedom first came with the help of Simon Bolivar and his General Sucre, who defeated the Spaniards during the Battle of Pichincha on May 24, 1822. Ecuador was initially a member of Greater Colombia, but gained independence in 1830.

After independence, the country was for a long time characterized by power struggles between liberal merchants in the port city of Guayaquil and conservative landowners in the mountainous areas around Quito, with many presidential changes and military coups as a result. Just before the turn of the century, the merchants came to power and the dominance of the landowners was broken. The church was separated from the state, freedom of religion and expression was introduced, literate men were given the right to vote and certain laws on forced labor were abolished. The economy was based on the export of cocoa.

Some important years in Ecuador’s history, modern


When the price of cocoa fell, Ecuador was hit by an economic and social crisis. Strikes were crushed by the military. In a massacre, 1,500 workers were killed


The military intervened in politics again and landowners in Quito regained power

the 1930s

The world economic depression hit Ecuador very hard. Unemployment and inflation rose with social and political unrest as a result

1931 – 1948

During these years, the country had 21 different governments


Ecuador ended up at war with Peru over part of the Amazon


Through the Rio Agreement, Ecuador lost a large area of ​​land to Peru


The rise in the country’s banana exports after World War II created economic prosperity

1960s, early

When the banana price fell, strikes broke out due to the economic crisis. The military put down the strikes and took power for three years in 1963.

1963 – 1966

The military seized power and ruled the country


If you find oil in the northeastern part of the country


The military, led by Rodriguez Lara, is regaining power over fears that politicians will keep the oil money for themselves


The presidential election again leads to civilian rule of the country. The country’s president will be Jaime Roldos


President Jaime Roldos dies in a plane crash. Vice President Osvaldo Hurtado takes over


Right-wing populist Leon Ferbes wins the presidential election


Left-wing politician Rodrigo Borja wins the
1990 presidential election , beginning

Carry out large protest marches among the Indian movement. They demanded land and constitutional amendments


Did the Indians in Pastaza province get a legal right to half of the land they inhabited
Right-wing politician Sixto Durán wins presidential election


A new conflict with Peru arises


Right-wing populist Abdalá Bucaram won the presidential election. He was later called “El Loco” because of his bizarre way of governing the country


General strike with hundreds of thousands of protesters in Quito and demands for the president’s resignation. Congress ousted the president, officially due to mental health issues. The interim president was Fabián Alarcón. He was later accused of corruption


Presidential election won by Christian Democrat Jamil Mahuad, Quito’s former mayor
Peace agreement signed with Peru


In July, a state of emergency is introduced to end the unrest that has hit the country due to an economic crisis and a general strike

Ecuador Brief History

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