The Foundation of Quito Day commemorates the founding of Ecuador’s capital city, Quito, and takes place on December 6 every year. In the week leading up to the founding day, preparation for the ‘Fiestas de Quito’ begins. During the week some public events such as parties, concerts, live shows, and exhibitions are often free for all. The ceremony involves a lot of fun activities, including parties and a traditional go-kart race!
History of Foundation of Quito Day
Before the Spanish arrived, Ecuador was populated by the Incans from Peru and the natives known as Quitu people. Much of what was known about these people has been lost in time, but we do know that the city of Quito was founded on December 6, 1534, by a population of 204 Spanish settlers led by Sebastián de Benalcázar. The settlement grew quickly, and in seven years, it was declared a city and soon became an administrative region of Spain.
The years following the founding of Quito were of rapid growth and prosperity — but also of far too much bloodshed and conflict. Over the years, many revolts were led against the Spanish rule and many failed when the Spanish forces moved to quell the revolters with less-than-peaceful means. Eventually, in 1810, after roughly 300 years of being under Spanish rule, Quito and the surrounding areas gained their independence in a series of hard-fought battles. Despite Ecuador’s becoming a republic after separating from Spain, the problems and violence related to government and citizens’ conflict persisted. Over the next century, religious and political leaders were murdered as more rebel groups emerged in the country.
At the end of the 18th century, in 1882, the people rose up against the dictatorship of the then president, Ignacio de Veintimilla. A year later, Eloy Alfaro assumed office as president, and the country found itself under the regime of another dictator. It was in 1912, when Alfaro was arrested and killed, that Ecuador rested from conflict.
Despite such a tumultuous past, Quito is a vibrant and flourishing city with a rich history and culture that would fascinate both natives and foreign tourists. Fun, excitement, and lightheartedness are what characterize Foundation of Quito Day celebrations.
Foundation of Quito Day timeline
Tombs that are 65 feet deep and that date back to this period are found, and they contain evidence of complex funerary rites conducted by early Quitu people.
A group of 204 Spanish settlers arrive in Ecuador and start a settlement that later becomes known as Quito.
Quito makes its first declaration of independence from Spanish rule; the freedom lasts for only a year before it starts to degenerate.
After years of fighting, the country declares its independence and overthrows the last dictatorship.
The population in Quito alone reaches 2,239,191 people — an all-time high.
Foundation of Quito Day FAQs
What is Quito known for?
Quito is known as the oldest standing South American city and has the best-preserved old town ruins. The old town of Quito has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How safe is Quito?
Quito is fairly safe for tourists, but it is worthwhile to stay cautious, as petty crimes like pickpocketing and theft are common in the region.
What is the main religion of Quito?
The majority in Quito identify with the Roman Catholic faith, with only a few being of the Mormon and Jewish faiths.
Foundation of Quito Day Activities
The best way to celebrate the foundation of Quito is to visit the city itself! With the city full of cultural and historical celebrations, now is the perfect time to visit. Whether you want a fun and exciting adventure experience or you’re keen on exploring and respecting the history and culture of the region, you can find exactly what you’re looking for during ‘Fiestas de Quito.’
Pass on the knowledge
If you’re a parent, teacher, or older sibling, teach the younger ones about the heritage and culture of Quito. Teach them a family or cultural tradition or set aside a time to attend a cultural festival with them.
Hold your own celebration
Whether you’re far from home or living in the heart of Quito, you can celebrate Foundation of Quito Day however you want to. Invite family and friends for a small event or hold your own party.
5 Facts About Ecuador That Will Blow Your Mind
No death penalty
Ecuador was the first country to abolish the death penalty, in the early 20th century.
The largest exporter of bananas
Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas, with about 300 species grown in the region.
More phones than humans
Oddly, Ecuador has more phones than people in the country.
A birdwatcher’s paradise
Ecuador has more birds per square mile than anywhere else in the world, with its total number of bird species estimated at 1,632.
The meaning of ‘Ecuador’
‘Ecuador’ means ‘Equator,’ and this is because the country sits on the Earth’s Equator.
Why We Love Foundation of Quito Day
It celebrates a rich history
Foundation of Quito Day celebrates a city with a complex history and culture. Quito has the best-preserved and least-altered historic center in Latin America.
An excuse to visit
With a 10-day festival happening in the city in celebration of Foundation of Quito Day, there’s plenty to do and see in Quito. If you visit the city at this time, you are guaranteed to find something with which to be entertained everywhere you go.
It’s parties galore
The people of Quito begin celebrations 10 days before the actual holiday. Those days often involve several parties, live music and theater, and way more food than you can ever eat.
Foundation of Quito Day dates