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Ecuador Lesson for Kids: History & Facts

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Ecuador is a small country in South America. This lesson will teach you about Ecuador's history, the different groups that have ruled it, how it became independent, and some other neat facts about this country.

Where is Ecuador?

Ecuador is a small country on the western coast of South America. The Equator runs through it and its name even means 'equator' in Spanish!

Map of Ecuador
Map of Ecuador

Ecuador's coastline runs along the Pacific Ocean and it is about twice as big as Wisconsin.

If you've eaten a banana lately, it may have come from Ecuador. Farmers there grow a lot of bananas and sell them to other countries. But people lived in Ecuador long before the farmers that live there now.

The First People of Ecuador

If you have wandered through a museum, you might have seen very old clay pots and containers. You might have even wondered about the people that made them and what their lives were like. Some of the oldest pottery in the New World comes from the country of Ecuador, where people have lived for thousands of years.

Because of the pottery and other artifacts found, scientists think people lived in what is now Ecuador at least as early as 4500 B.C. By about 1400 A.D., Ecuador was made up of different territories ruled by chiefs, or leaders that fought with each other. Their houses were dirt mounds, but there were no organized towns within their territories.

The Incas Take Over

The Incas (pronounced INK-uhs) were a group of South American Indians from what is now Peru. They built a huge empire by taking other people's land, including Ecuador.

The Incan leader Yupanqui (pronounced you-PONG-kee) took over and occupied Ecuador, taking control from the chiefs. He ruled from 1471 to 1493, when the next Incan leader took over.

The Incas made Quichua (pronounced KEECH-wah) the common language and forced people to leave their homes and move if they didn't support the Incan rulers. Though not everyone liked them, the Incas controlled and ruled Ecuador until 1533.

The Spanish Arrive

In 1532, Spanish explorers discovered Ecuador. By 1533, they had killed the Incan leader and began taking over land in Ecuador.

In 1534, a Spanish lieutenant named Belacázar established a city called San Francisco de Quito, which became the capital of the land in South America ruled by Spain. That city, now called Quito (pronounced KEY-toe) is still the capital of Ecuador today.

Modern day Quito
Modern day Quito

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