Overland Travel Ecuador

Ecuador is a country straddling the equator on South America’s west coast. Its diverse landscape encompasses Amazon jungle, Andean highlands and the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands. In the Andean foothills at an elevation of 2,850m, Quito, the capital, is known for its largely intact Spanish colonial center, with decorated 16th- and 17th-century palaces and religious sites, like the ornate Compañía de Jesús Church.

Various Indian tribes – Kara, Kitu, Tumba, Canyari and others – have lived on the territory of present-day Ecuador for a long time. They were engaged in hunting, fishing and agriculture. The Las Vegas culture originated between 8000 BC. and 4600 BC.

At the end of the 1st millennium A.D. the Kara Indians, who lived on the coast, invaded the mountainous regions and, having conquered the local population – the Kitu Indians and other tribes, created a state, which in Latin American literature is called the “Kingdom of Kitu”.

In the 15th century (about 1460), the “kingdom of Kitu” was conquered by the Tahuantinsuyu Inca state. The majority of the population of the Inca state were Quechua Indians. As a result of this conquest, Quechua became the most widely spoken Indian language in what is now Ecuador.

The territory of Ecuador for Spain was conquered by associates of Francisco Pizarro – Bartolomé Ruiz and Sebastian de Belalcazar. Bartolome Ruiz landed at the mouth of the Esmeraldas River in 1526, and three years later Pizarro was appointed Captain General of New Castile, which included the territories of present-day Peru and Ecuador.

The territory of modern Ecuador was conquered by Sebastian de Belalcazar, who built the city of San Francisco de Quito on the site of an ancient Indian settlement. In 1539, Pizarro appointed his brother Gonzalo as ruler of Quito. In 1718, this territory was transferred to the jurisdiction of Bogotá, in which the government of the Viceroyalty of New Granada was located, and after 5 years it was returned to Peru. In 1740 the audience of Quito was again transferred to the subordination of Bogotá.

Having conquered the territory and not finding there large deposits of gold and silver, the Spaniards began to create plantations in the country, on which Indians and slaves brought from Africa worked. Sheep breeding is of great importance in the mountainous regions.

Explore Ecuador in your Overland Vehicle

CARTAGENA to QUITO (22 days) Colombian Adventure