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History > Introduction & Key Dates

| Introduction | Key Dates | Chronogram of Ecuador's History |


The 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.


Key Dates in Ecuador's History

Pre-Columbian Period
Dates Period/Major Events Other Important Developments
10000 - 3600 B.C. Pre-ceramic Period Human societies develop living on hunting, fishing, and gathering.
3600 - 1800 B. C. Early Formative Period Societies continue to develop, subsiding on hunting, fishing, and rudimentary agricultural production.
1800 - 1500 B. C. Mid Formative Period More extensive agricultural production begins to develop.
1500 - 500 B. C. Late Formative Period As agricultural pratices are refined and become more heavily relied upon, the economy shifts towards an agrarian model.
500 B.C. - 500 A.D. Regional Development Period Agriculture becomes increasingly important and urban development increases.
500 - 1500 A.D. Integration Period Agricultural continues to spread and become increasingly important. Society becomes more complex.
Inca Period
Dates Period/Major Events Other Important Developments
1450 Organization and expansion Tupac Yupanqui begins the conquest of the Andean.
1485 Tupac-Yupanqui dies. Huayna-Cápac is proclamed Inca.
1525 Huayna-Cápac dies. Tahuantinsuyo is divided between Atahualpa and Huáscar.
The Conquest
Dates Major Events Details & Other Developments
1534 Conquest of Quito Sebastián de Benalcázar begins the Conquest of Quito.
1563 Audiencia of Quito Felipe II issues a Cédula Real creating the Real Audiencia and Cancillería of San Francisco of Quito.
Dates Major Events Details & Other Developments
1809 - 1812 Revolution of Quito Independence was declared but not obtained.
1820 - 1822 Independence: final stage. The patriotic forces are finally victorious.
1822 Formation of Gran Colombia. Ecuador becomes part of Gran Colombia with the name Distrito del Sur.
1830 Dissolution of Gran Colombia. The independent state called Ecuador is formed. Republican life begins in the country.


Chronogram of Ecuador's History

Organization of the Incas (1.000 AD)

The 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.


Political and administrative situation at the end of the XVIII century

Lack of confidence was part of colonial life due to the ambiguous situation in which the Audiencia de Quito existed. The Marquis of Selva Alegre (1753) centralized the state and established a monopoly on alcohol and tobacco. For this reason the famous Rebellion of the Estancos took place , to which other native uprisings were added. Administrative reorganizations were made which allowed greater income for the state. At the end of the XVIII century Luis Francisco Héctor, Baron of Carondelet, occupied the Presidency. He gained more power for Quito such as control of the Superintendancy of the Real Hacienda and the creation of a Capitanía General.


Rupture with the Colony and Independence

Social decadence sped up in the second half of the XVIII century. Historians attribute various factors to the fall of the colonial system. One of them, the end of production of silver in Potosi. Textile making decreased significantly. The power of the private elite was also limited by reforms which were introduced. Independence came about between the end of the XVIII century and the early decades of the XIX century. This was caused by a number of factors, external and internal. One of them being the influence of the French Revolution in the region.


Gran Colombia

After Independence, the three most important cities, Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca, were incorporated into Gran Colombia in 1822, at different times. Bolívar assumed the Presidency of this new nation made up, in addition, of Venezuela and Nueva Granada. With the aim of administrative organization the territory was divided into the departments of Venezuela, Cundinamarca and Quito. But the integration of these peoples aroused resistance and problems due to personal interests and ambitions throughout the process, which contributed to its disintegration.


Formation of the Republican State

After the collapse of Gran Colombia, the Republic of Ecuador was created in 1830. Since them political conflict has characterized life in the Republic. The new State was unable to integrate the different regions. The mountain region and the coast developed in different ways. Also, autonomous local bodies formed which entered into conflict with the state and which, in addition, administered their own resources. Neither was there a unified currency, which seriously affected the existence of a central power.


| Introduction | Key Dates | Chronogram of Ecuador's History |

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