History of Ecuador | Galapagos Unbound

History

Ecuador has a volatile, often violent, history with continuous sociopolitical, economic, and geographic obstacles. When faced with Ecuador’s tumultuous and somewhat enigmatic history, it’s constructive to note that Ecuador’s history is often cyclical and marked by several repeated themes. As such, similar factors often directed Ecuador’s historic path hundreds of years ago much as they do today.

First, one theme to note is that Ecuador has continually struggled with sustaining stable sociopolitical institutions. The indigenous people initially inhabiting the region saw various cultures rise, fall, and converge before finding themselves faced with Incan conquest. The later Spanish conquest and subsequent liberation from Spain left Ecuador with a mercurial political system. Since Ecuador’s declaration of independence from Spain in 1822, they have experienced over 90 overturns in power and, on average, face a new military government or civilian government every 2 years.

Secondly, Ecuador’s economy has often depended on few export-oriented agricultural ventures to support their economy. As the economy relies on these export commodities, the fluctuations in world financial markets greatly influence Ecuador’s internal economy. These fluctuations in turn influence other internal sociopolitical structures.

Thirdly, Ecuador is faced with a geographical split between its coastal region, represented by Guayquil, and the Andean highlands, represented by Quito. The regional rivalry has persisted throughout its history, in part due to the continuation of the different political beliefs and financial enterprises. As such, the rivalry often incapacitates the political system, causes political overturns, and has significant impact on critical national issues.

Lastly, Ecuador has been indelibly influenced by its history of empirical subjugation and conquest. The colonial era in particular set in play themes of discrimination, land property right inequality, and economic stratification that continue to play a role in Ecuador to this day.

No matter its fraught history, Ecuador has remained steeped in deep-rooted indigenous beliefs that lend a mysticism to their diverse and amalgamated culture.