Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Quito: La Paz, Guayaquil


Quito (kēˈtō), city (1990 pop. 1,100,847), N central Ecuador, capital of Ecuador and of Pichincha prov. After Guayaquil it is Ecuador's largest city. The setting of Quito is visually splendid: It lies at the foot of the Pichincha volcano in the hollow of a gently sloping, fertile valley. Only a short distance below the equator but at an elevation of 9,350 ft (2,850 m), Quito has a pleasant, balmy climate; however, it is subject to earthquakes and has been damaged several times. The city has textile mills and handicraft and other minor industries, but it is primarily as the educational, cultural, and political center of Ecuador that Quito is important. It is the seat of the Central Univ. of Ecuador and of the oldest art school in Latin America. The site was originally settled by the Quito people. It was captured by the Inca and became the capital of the Inca Kingdom of Quito a few decades before Sebastián de Benalcázar arrived and captured it for Spain (1534). In 1663, Quito became the seat of an audiencia, with boundaries foreshadowing that of present-day Ecuador. Quito was shifted back and forth between the viceroyalty of Peru and that of New Granada. There was an abortive uprising against Spain in 1809, and not until 1822 was the city liberated by Antonio José de Sucre. Quito has a Spanish colonial atmosphere, with many examples of fine early architecture, notably the great Church of San Francisco (see Spanish colonial art and architecture). Much of the city's population is Native American.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



capital of Ecuador and political and economic center of the country. Located on the southern slopes of Pichincha Volcano, 2,818 m above sea level, and 24 km south of the equator. Its equatorial climate is modified by the high elevation; the average monthly temperature is around 25°C. Precipitation is 1,100–1,200 mm per year. Population, 512,000 (1971). Municipal government is in the hands of an elected council, headed by a mayor, who is also elected by the people.

Quito was founded on Dec. 6, 1534, by the Spanish conquistador S. de Belalcázar on the site of an ancient Indian city. Under Spanish rule Quito was the center of a colony (the Kingdom of Quito). Uprisings against Spanish domination broke out in Quito numerous times (in 1592, 1765, 1809). On May 24, 1822, the Battle of Pichincha occurred near Quito, as a result of which the Spanish troops were completely routed and the Kingdom of Quito became a part of Gran Colombia. After the Kingdom of Quito withdrew from Gran Colombia, Quito became the capital of the new Republic of Ecuador in 1830. Since the early 20th century the labor movement has become active, with the holding of labor congresses and the publication of a socialist newspaper; after World War II the student movement also became important in Quito.

In Quito there are enterprises of the textile, food-processing, leather shoe, furniture, and pharmaceutical industries. Native handicrafts produce jewelry, hats, and so forth. The capital city is linked by rail and highway with the major cities of the Andes valley and Pacific Coast. The Pan American Highway connects Quito with Bogotá, Colombia, and Lima, Peru. The city also has an airport.

The layout of the city is not quite regular, although a rectangular street pattern prevails. There are three squares at the center of the city—Plaza de Independencia (with the Palace, built in 1747), Plaza Bolivar, and Plaza Sucre. The old style of one- or two-story buildings has been preserved, as have churches in the plateresque and baroque styles (the Church of San Francisco, 1534–1650, architects J. Ricke and A. Rodriguez; the cathedral, begun in 1557 and completed in the 17th century; and El Sagrario, 1699–1706) and monasteries (with magnificent cloisters, paintings and polychrome wood sculpture by local artists, and rich carving covered with gold leaf). There are other monuments of the colonial period as well. Only in the mid-20th century, with the construction of industrial and residential areas, has Quito’s appearance begun to change. Among the new structures are the Parliament, the Foreign Ministry, and Hotel Quito.

Educational institutions in Quito include the Central University of Ecuador, the Catholic University of Ecuador, the National Polytechnic School, the May 24 National Women’s College, the Women’s Pedagogical Institute, the Latin American Center for the Training of Journalists, and the National Academy of Music, Fine Arts, and Choreography; also located in the city are the Academy of Sciences of Ecuador, the Medical Academy, and other scientific societies and institutions, as well as an astronomical observatory and botanical gardens. Among its libraries are the National Library, the Library of the Central University, and the Municipal Library. Museums include the National Museum of Colonial Arts, the City Art and History Museum, the Museum of Musical Instruments, the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, the Central University Museum, and the Museum of Mineralogy (petrography). Among the major theaters are the Sucre National Theater and the Bolivar.


Barrera, I. J. Quito colonial. Quito, 1927.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital of Ecuador, in the north at an altitude of 2850 m (9350 ft.), just south of the equator: the oldest capital in South America, existing many centuries before the Incan conquest in 1487; a cultural centre since the beginning of Spanish rule (1534); two universities. Pop.: 1 514 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Critique: "Long Road from Quito: Transforming Health Care in Rural Latin America" by Tony Hiss is an extraordinary combination of biography and medical history.
Travel Business Review-May 29, 2019-Air France introduces flight service from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Quito
M2 EQUITYBITES-May 29, 2019-Air France introduces flight service from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Quito
At the center of this foodie revolution is the capital city of Quito, with an array of restaurants to suit all the taste buds and budgets, it's no surprise that Quito was voted South America's Leading Destination in the 2018 World Travel Awards.
THE Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani has received the 'Key to Quito City', capital of the Republic of Ecuador, as a guest of honour to the republic and as an expression of the depth of friendly relations between the two countries.
Air France's subsidiary airline, Joon, will be launching flights between Paris and Quito, Ecuador, from May 2019.
Known as "Dia del Primer Grito de Independencia de Quito," it marks the province of Quito's declaration of independence from Spain in 1809.
Quito, Ecuador, April 26, 2018 --(PR.com)-- Ecuador Bike Rental by Sleipner was awarded last week with the Q Batch in Quito by the mayor of the city, in a ceremony that took place with the best tour operators of the country.
"I have identified several areas of trade and businesses where there could be more intense co-operation between Doha and Quito," she explained in a media interaction prior to the visit of Ecuador's trade and investment minister Pablo Campana to Qatar.
Summary: Quito [Ecuador], Jan 9 (ANI): An earthquake of magnitude 5.1 jolted the coast of Ecuador on Tuesday.