The Spanish Historical Center in Quito
Ecuador was inhabited with numerous civilizations which constructed the ethnic cultural background of Ecuador years before the  Many civilizations rose throughout Ecuador, such as the Chorre and the Valdivia, the latter of which spans its existence before any civilization in the Americas. The most notable groups that existed in Ecuador before, and during the Inca conquest were the Quitus (near present-day Quito), the Cañari (in present-day Cuenca), and the Las Vegas Cultre (near Guayaquil). Each civilization developed its own distinguished architecture, pottery, and religious beliefs, while others developed archaeologically disputed systems of writing (an achievement the Incas did not achieve). After years of fierce resistance, the Cañari succumbed to the Inca expansion, and were assimilated loosely under the Inca Empire. The Inca were an advanced society which originated in Peru, and established a great empire within one century. It dominated Peru and extended as far as Bolivia and central Chile, as well as Ecuador. To communicate with each other they developed stone-paved highways spanning thousands of miles used by messengers. These messengers passed each other records of the empire's status, which are sometimes thought to have been encoded in a system of knots called quipu. Remarkably, the Cañari, Quitus, and Caras were able to hold back Tupac-Yupanqui for years, though they proved less successful against his son, Huayna Capac. After conquering Ecuador, Huayna Capac imposed upon the tribes the use of the Quechua (or Kichwa) language, lingua franca of the Inca and still widely spoken in Ecuador. The Cañaris were the strongest, and fiercest group in Ecuador to fall, and after their collapse and subsequent assimilation, the conquest of lands north became easier.
In celebration of his victory, Tupac Yupanqui ordered a great city to be built, Tomebamba, where is the present Cuenca, there he built a palace called Pumapungo over the ancient Cañari town. When he died in 1526, Huayna Capac divided the empire between his two sons, Atahualpa and Huáscar. Atahualpa ruled in the north from Quito, while Huáscar ruled in the south from Cuzco. Huáscar and Atuahualpa wanted all the empire, they could not share the territory, so an internal war took place. Francisco Pizarro landed in Ecuador in 1532, accompanied by 180 fully armed men, his mission was to find gold. Several years earlier, Pizarro had made a peaceful visit to the coast, where he heard rumors in Colombia of El Dorado of inland cities which had incredible amounts of gold. This time, he intended to conquer the Incas just as Hernando Cortez did in Mexico—and he couldn't have picked a better time. Atahualpa had only recently won the war against his brother Huáscar when Pizarro arrived. Pizarro ambushed the ruler, forced him to collect an enormous ransom, and then executed him. Spanish governors ruled Ecuador for nearly 300 years, first from the viceroyalty of Lima, then later from the viceroyalty of Gran Colombia. The Spanish introduced Roman Catholicism, colonial architecture, and today's national language. Independence was won in 1822, when the famed South American liberator Simón Bolívar joined Sucre and defeated a Spanish army at the Battle of Pichincha.