Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Quito is the capital city of Ecuador  in northwestern South America. It is located in northern Ecuador (see NG MapMachine satellite map) in the Guayllabamba river basin on the eastern slopes of the Pichincha  (4794 m), an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. It is the second highest (2850 meters/9300 feet above sea level at the Plaza de la Independencia) capital city in the world after La Paz, Bolivia. Its population, according to the most recent census (2001), was 1,399,378. The area of Quito is approximately 290 km².
Quito's origins date back to the first millenium, when nomadic tribes roamed the area and ultimately formed a commercial center where Quito is currently located. Early in the 16th century, the Incas conquered the city, hoping to further the reach of their kingdom, but upon the arrival of the Spanish in 1533, those plans were abandoned. Rumiñahui, an Inca war general, burned the city to prevent the Spanish from taking it, thereby destroying any traces of the prehispanic city.
Indigineous resistance to the Spanish conquest continued during 1534, and during this time, Diego de Almagro founded Santiago de Quito on August 15, 1534. On December 6, 1534 , the city was officially founded by 204 settlers and Sebastián de Benalcázar, who captured Rumiñahui and effectively ended organized resistance. Rumiñahui was then executed on January 10, 1535. On March 14, 1541, Quito was named a city, and on February 14, 1556, was given the title "Muy Noble y Muy Leal ciudad de San Francisco de Quito" ("Very Noble and Loyal City of San Francisco of Quito").
The Spanish brought the Catholic religion to Quito quickly, with the first temple (El Belén) being built even before the city had been officially founded. In January of 1535, the San Francisco Convent was constructed, the first of about 20 more churches and convents built during the colonial period. The Spanish heavily evangelized the indigenous people and also used them for construction, especially the initial stages. The Diocese of Quito was established in 1545, and then was elevated to the Archdiocese of Quito in 1849.
In 1809, after nearly 300 years of Spanish colonization, Quito was a city of about 10,000 inhabitants, and August 15, 1809, it was there were the first cry for independence was heard. The movement was ultimately defeated on August 2, 1810, when Spanish forces came from Lima, Peru, and killed the leaders of the uprising and about 200 inhabitants of the city. A chain of conflicts concluded on May 24, 1822 when Antonio José de Sucre, under the command of Simón Bolívar, led troops into the Battle of Pichincha . Their victory marked the independence of Quito and the surrounding areas.
Just days after the Battle of Pichincha, on May 29, 1822, the leaders of the city proclaimed their independence and anexion to the Republic of Gran Colombia. Simón Bolívar went to Quito on June 16, 1822, and was present for the signing of the Colombian Constitution on June 24, 1822. This lasted until May 13, 1830, when Gran Colombia dissolved and the nation took the name Republic of Ecuador, becoming an independent nation. Quito was named the country's capital for being the original home of numerous prehispanic cultures, for its role in the independence of Ecuador, and because it was an important administrative seat.
The early years of the republic were marked with political unrest – in 1833, members of the Society of Free Inhabitants of Quito were assesinated by the government after they conspired against it, and on March 6, 1845, the Marcist Revolution began. Later, in 1875, the country's president, Gabriel García Moreno, was assassinated in Quito. Two years later, in 1877, archbishop José Ignacio Checa y Barba was killed by poisoning.
In 1882, insurgents arose against the regime of dictator Ignacio de Veintimilla . Their victory did not end the violence that was ocurring throughout the country. On July 9, 1883, the liberal commander Eloy Alfaro participated in the Battle of Guayaquil , and later, after more conflict, became the president of Ecuador on September 4, 1895. Upon completing his second term in 1911, he moved to Europe, but upon his return to Ecuador in 1912 and attempted return to power, he was arrested on January 28, 1912, thrown in prison, and assassinated by a mob that had stormed the prison. His body was dragged through the streets of Quito to a city park, where it was burned.
In 1932, the Four Days War broke out, a civil war that followed the election of Neptalí Bonifaz and the subsequent realization that he carried a Peruvian passport. Workers at a major textile factory went on strike in 1934, and similar unrest continues to the present day. On February 12, 1949, a realistic broadcast of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds lead to citywide panic and the deaths of twenty people who died in fires set by mobs. Later, in 1990, indigenous uprisings began, and in 1999, the nearby volcano Pichincha became active.
- illiteracy rate: 3.6% 
- unemployment rate: 8.9%
- underemployment rate: 43.8% 
- average monthly income: $317 
See also Cantón Quito (= "Distrito Metropolitano de Quito").
Points of Interest
El Panecillo , a hill about halfway down the Quito valley, serves as a sort of a high pedestal for an enormous statue of a madonna, standing on top of a globe and stepping on a snake, which of course is classic madonna iconography. What is not so traditional is that she has wings. The people of Quito proudly claim that she is the only one in the world with wings like an angel. The monument, which has dubious aesthetic value and was built in concrete during the early 1970s, was inspired on the famous "Virgen de Quito" (Quito's Madonna) also known as "the dancer" sculpted by Bernardo de Legarda in 1734, which now decorates the main altar at the Church of St. Francis. This madonna represents a turning point of the Quito School of Art (one of the most renowned of the Americas) because it shows a virgin with great movement that is practically dancing as a contrast with the traditional static madonnas that were produced during the 18th century.
Driving up to El Panecillo affords a wonderful view of downtown Quito. However, it is not advised to walk up to the Panecillo, as the area is notorious for street crime and muggings; taking a taxi is safer.
Museo del Banco Central
This museum  is an excellent showcase of Ecuadorian art and culture. On the ground floor it has a marvellous and extensive collection of pre-colonial (including pre-Incaic) potteries, sculptures, gold, lithics, and even a mummified body. There are also some beautiful but somewhat distorted models that help evoke the way various parts of Ecuador must have looked like, from the Pambamarca fort to the Cochasquí tumuli complex. The highlight of this collection is a golden sun mask of the La Tolita culture. The second floor is dedicated to Colonial art; several paintings and sculptures with religious themes are in exhibition. The third floor is devoted to contemporary Ecuadorian art.
The "centro histórico", historical center, as it is called, was appointed , along with the historic center  of Kraków (Cracovia) , Poland, as the first UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site  in 1978 and has many appealing plazas (the Independence Plaza being the most important) and manierist and baroque churches, including the Cathedral, the convent and church of St. Francis, which is the largest building of the Colonial era built by the Spaniards in South America, the church of El Sagrario, convent and church of Santo Domingo and the church of the Society of Jesus, or "La Compañía" which was built after the model of the Church of the Gesu in Rome. There are also several museums, many of them dedicated to Colonial art and history; some of the most renowned are the City Museum ("Museo de la Ciudad") , the Metropolitan Cultural Center  and the museum of the Convent of St. Francis. Markets are scattered throughout the area.
Quito travel guide
It is between the contemporary and the colonial, Metropolitan District (a fancy name for the Cantón Quito) and capital of the Republic of Ecuador, is located at 2800 meters (9,186 feet) above sea level in an interandean valley near the Pichincha volcano, and it is surrounded by mountains and has a view of 5897 m, snow-covered Cotopaxi  (the highest continually active volcano of the world).
The architecture of Quito is chiefly in the Spanish baroque style. Notable structures include a 17th-century cathedral and the churches of San Francisco, la Compañía de Jesús, San Agustín, Santo Domingo, El Sagrario, La Merced, Carmen Bajo, San Sebastian, Santa Barbara, Santa Teresita and San Blas. A large part of their interiors, especially the altars and pulpits, are gilded in gold and house innumerable works of religious art.
Quito is divided into three areas: the center houses the colonial old city, South is mainly industrial and residential, a working-class housing area. North is modern Quito, with high-rise buildings, shopping centers, the financial center and major business centers. North of Quito is Mariscal Sucre airport , through which most visitors to Ecuador arrive and depart. Centrally located, it is also an excellent jumping-off point for a number of interesting trips, including river-rafting, cloudforest exploration, birding, mountain biking, hotsprings and more.
Quito has a variety of parks. Parque Metropolitano  is the largest urban park in South America. The park is located in the north of Quito, on the hillside, behind the Atahualpa Olympic Stadium . The park is an excellent place for mountain biking, walking, running or just exploring the different sculptures that are display for the public. The park has 4 sites where you can bring your family and friends to have a picnic or a BBQ. The backside of the park has a beautiful view of Cotopaxi, Antisana  and the Guayllabamba river basin.
La Carolina  park is the place to be on Sundays. You will be among thousands of Quiteños playing fútbol (soccer), básket (basketball), ecua-volley (volleyball with less emphasis on spiking to score; more of a throw and it allows using your feet like soccer), doing aerobics, flying kites, running, snacking or just observing the thralls of people just walking around. The park is situated on the northern area of Quito not too far from the shopping district. The southern part of the park has a small pond where you can rent paddle boats. There are also many artists performing on weekends. In the western part of the park you will find the Quito Exhibition Center  with different exhibits every month.
El Ejido  is the park situated between the old part of the city and the modern section. Here you will find handicrafts every Saturday and Sunday. Local painters sell Oswaldo Guayasamín  or Gonzalo Endara Crow copies and Otavaleños are selling traditional sweaters and carpets.
- Quito Distrito Metropolitano official Web site
- History, accessed April 12, 2005, Quito Tourist Portal, Corporación Metropolitana de Turismo
- Footprint travel guides South American Handbook 2005
- CIA - The World Factbook -- Ecuador includes small schematic map of Ecuador (CIA)
- Ecuador (Country Profiles from National Geographic MapMachine) includes MapMachine maps and satellite images of Ecuador and Quito (National Geographic Society)
- Quito: Weather and Much More From Answers.com reference, encyclopedia articles, facts (Answers.com, GuruNet)
- Quito "Quito." The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (electronic version of Columbia Encyclopedia). © 1994, 2000-2005, on Infoplease. © 2000–2005 Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease.
- Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands travel | Lonely Planet World Guide
- MAPRED Quito, Ecuador, "Mapa interactivo de la Ciudad"
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