Capital city
San Francisco de Quito
Clockwise from top: Calle La Ronda, Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, El Panecillo as seen from Northern Quito, Carondelet Palace, Central-Northern Quito, Parque La Carolina and Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco
Clockwise from top: Calle La Ronda, Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, El Panecillo as seen from Northern Quito, Carondelet Palace, Central-Northern Quito, Parque La Carolina and Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco
Flag of Quito
Official seal of Quito
Nickname(s): Luz de América (Light of America), Carita de Dios (God's Face), Ciudad de los Cielos (City of the heavens)
Quito is located in Ecuador
Location of Quito within Ecuador
Quito is located in South America
Quito (South America)
Coordinates: 00°14′S 78°31′W / 00°14′S 78°31′W / -0.233; -78.517
FoundationDecember 6, 1534
Founded bySebastián de Benalcázar
Named forQuitu
Urban parishes
 • TypeMayor and council
 • Governing bodyMunicipality of Quito
 • MayorMauricio Rodas Espinel
Area (approx.)
 • Capital city372.39 km2 (143.78 sq mi)
 • Water0 km2 (0 sq mi)
 • Metro4,217.95 km2 (1,628.56 sq mi)
Elevation2,850 m (9,350 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Capital city2,671,191
 • Density7,200/km2 (19,000/sq mi)
 • Metro2,700,000
 • Metro density640/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
 • DemonymQuitonian[1]
Quiteño/a (Spanish)
Time zoneUTC-5 (ECT)
Postal codeEC1701 (new format), P01 (old format)
Area code(s)(0)2
UNESCO World Heritage site
Inscription1978 (2nd Session)
Area320 ha

Quito (/; Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkito]; Quechua: Kitu; Aymara: Kitu; formally San Francisco de Quito) is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 2,850 metres (9,350 ft) above sea level, it is the second-highest official capital city in the world, after La Paz, and the one which is closest to the equator.[2] It is located in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha,[3][verification needed] an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of 2,671,191 according to the last census (2014), Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. It is also the capital of the Pichincha province and the seat of the Metropolitan District of Quito. The canton recorded a population of 2,239,191 residents in the 2010 national census. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.[4]

The historic center of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas.[5] Quito and Kraków, Poland, were among the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO, in 1978.[5] The central square of Quito is located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word ecuador is Spanish for equator.[6]


Pre-Columbian period

The oldest traces of human presence in Quito were excavated by the American archaeologist Robert E. Bell in 1960 on the slopes of the Ilaló volcano, located between the eastern valleys of Los Chillos and Tumbaco. Gatherers and hunters left tools made of obsidian glass dated back 8.000 years BC. The archaeological site herein designated by the name of EI Inga was brought to the attention of Robert E. Bell by Mr. A. Allen Graffham of Ardmore, Oklahoma. While employed as a geologist in Ecuador, Mr. Graffham followed his archaeological interest as an amateur, and he made surface collections at the site during the early months of 1956.[7] The discovery of projectile points, particularly specimens exhibiting basal fluting, stimulated his interest, and several visits were made to the site for collecting surface materials. Graffham’s previous interest in PaleoIndian remains and his experience with early man materials found in Kansas and Nebraska in the Central Plains led him to believe that the site was an important discovery.[7]

The second important vestige of human presence was found in the current neighborhood of Cotocollao (1.500 BC), located in the NW of Quito. The prehistoric village covered over 26 hectares in an area irrigated by many creeks. Near the rectangular there are also burials with pottery and stone offerings. The Cotocollao people extracted and exported obsidian to the coastal region.[8]

Colonial period

Artwork that shows a far view of the city. Mid-18th century.

Indigenous resistance to the Spanish invasion continued during 1534, with the conquistador Diego de Almagro founding Santiago de Quito (in present-day Colta, near Riobamba) on August 15, 1534, later to be renamed San Francisco de Quito on August 28, 1534. The city was later moved to its present location and was refounded on 6 December 1534 by 204 settlers led by Sebastián de Benalcázar, who captured Rumiñahui and effectively ended any organized resistance.[9] Rumiñahui was then executed on January 10, 1535.

On March 28, 1541, Quito was declared a city and on February 23, 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"), starting at this point its urban evolution. In 1563, Quito became the seat of a Real Audiencia (administrative district) of Spain and became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, until 1717 after the Audiencia was part of a newly created Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada. Its administration on both Viceroyalties remained to Quito. (see Real Audiencia de Quito)

Map of the city of Quito dated 1805. Made by Juan Pío Montúfar, 2nd Marquis of Selva Alegre and president of the Junta Soberana de Quito of 1809.
Quito by Rafael Salas. Painting of mid-19th century

As with other places colonized by the Spanish, the colonizers promptly established Roman Catholicism in Quito. The first church (El Belén) was in fact built even before the city had been officially founded. In January 1535, the San Francisco Convent was constructed, the first of about 20 churches and convents built during the colonial period. The Spanish converted the indigenous population to Christianity and used them as labor for construction.[citation needed]

In 1743, after nearly 300 years of Spanish colonization, Quito was a city of about 10,000 inhabitants.[citation needed] On August 10, 1809, an independence movement from Spanish domination started in Quito. On that date, a plan for government was established that placed Juan Pío Montúfar as president with various other prominent figures in other positions of government. However, this initial movement was ultimately defeated on August 2, 1810, when colonial troops came from Lima, Peru, killing the leaders of the uprising along with about 200 settlers.[citation needed] 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.

Republican Ecuador

In 1833, members of the Society of Free Inhabitants of Quito were assassinated 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 while he was celebrating Mass.[citation needed]

In 1882, insurgents arose against the regime of dictator Ignacio de Veintimilla. However, this did not end the violence that was occurring 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. When he returned to Ecuador in 1912 and attempted a 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.[citation needed]

In 1932, the Four Days' War broke out. This was a civil war that followed the election of Neptalí Bonifaz and the subsequent realization that he carried a Peruvian passport. On February 12, 1949, a realistic broadcast of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds led to citywide panic and the deaths of more than twenty people who died in fires set by mobs.[10]

21st century

In 2011, the city's population was 2,239,191 people. Since 2002, the city has begun renewing its historical center and also demolished the old airport and built a new Mariscal Sucre International Airport located 45 minutes from central Quito.

Between 2003 and 2004, the ecologically friendly bus lines of the Metrobus (Ecovia) were constructed, traversing the city from the north to the south.[citation needed] Many avenues and roads were extended and enlarged, depressed passages were constructed, and roads were restructured geometrically to increase the flow of traffic. A new subway system is currently under construction.

Other Languages
адыгабзэ: Кито
Afrikaans: Quito
Alemannisch: Quito
አማርኛ: ኪቶ
العربية: كيتو
aragonés: Quito
asturianu: Quitu
Avañe'ẽ: Quito
Aymar aru: Kitu
azərbaycanca: Kito
Bân-lâm-gú: Quito
башҡортса: Кито
беларуская: Кіта
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Кіта
български: Кито
བོད་ཡིག: ཁེ་ཐོ།
bosanski: Quito
brezhoneg: Quito
català: Quito
čeština: Quito
chiShona: Quito
Cymraeg: Quito
dansk: Quito
davvisámegiella: Quito
Deutsch: Quito
eesti: Quito
Ελληνικά: Κίτο
español: Quito
Esperanto: Kito
estremeñu: Quitu
euskara: Quito
فارسی: کیتو
Fiji Hindi: Quito
français: Quito
Frysk: Kito
Gaeilge: Quito
Gàidhlig: Quito
galego: Quito
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Quito
한국어: 키토
Hawaiʻi: Quito
հայերեն: Կիտո
हिन्दी: क्वीटो
hornjoserbsce: Quito
hrvatski: Quito
Ido: Quito
Ilokano: Quito
Bahasa Indonesia: Quito
interlingua: Quito
Interlingue: Quito
Ирон: Кито
íslenska: Quito
italiano: Quito
עברית: קיטו
Basa Jawa: Quito
ქართული: კიტო
қазақша: Кито
Kinyarwanda: Quito
Kiswahili: Quito
Kreyòl ayisyen: Kito
kurdî: Quito
Кыргызча: Кито
Ladino: Kito
لۊری شومالی: کیتو
Latina: Quitum
latviešu: Kito
Lëtzebuergesch: Quito
lietuvių: Kitas
Ligure: Quito
lingála: Quito
Livvinkarjala: Kito
lumbaart: Quito
magyar: Quito
македонски: Кито
Malagasy: Quito
മലയാളം: ക്വിറ്റോ
Māori: Quito
मराठी: क्वितो
Bahasa Melayu: Quito
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Quito
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ကီတိုမြို့
Dorerin Naoero: Quito
Nederlands: Quito
日本語: キト
нохчийн: Кито
norsk: Quito
norsk nynorsk: Quito
Nouormand: Qùito
occitan: Quito
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kito
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕੀਤੋ
پنجابی: کوئتو
Papiamentu: Quito
Piemontèis: Quito
polski: Quito
português: Quito
română: Quito
Runa Simi: Kitu
русский: Кито
Scots: Quito
Seeltersk: Quito
shqip: Kuito
sicilianu: Quito
Simple English: Quito
slovenčina: Quito
slovenščina: Quito
ślůnski: Quito
Soomaaliga: Quito
српски / srpski: Кито
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Quito
suomi: Quito
svenska: Quito
Tagalog: Quito
தமிழ்: கித்தோ
татарча/tatarça: Кито
ไทย: กีโต
Türkçe: Quito
українська: Кіто
اردو: کیٹو
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: كىتو
vepsän kel’: Kito
Tiếng Việt: Quito
Volapük: Quito
Winaray: Quito
吴语: 基多
ייִדיש: קיטא
Yorùbá: Quito
粵語: 基多
中文: 基多