1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ecuador
ECUADOR (officially La Republica del Ecuador), a republic of South America, bounded N. and N.E. by Colombia, S.E. and S. by Peru, and W. by the Pacific Ocean. Its boundary lines with Colombia and Peru were in 1909 still unsettled, Boundaries. large areas of territory being claimed by all three republics. Under an agreement of the 15th of December 1894, the disputes were to be decided by the Spanish sovereign as arbitrator, but nothing was accomplished. On the 5th of November 1904, Colombia and Ecuador agreed to submit their dispute to the German emperor, and a convention of the 12th of September 1905 between Colombia and Peru established a modus vivendi for the settlement of their conflicting claims, in which Ecuador is likewise interested. The maps of Ecuador, which are very defective, usually describe its territory as
extending eastward to the Brazilian frontier, but as Peru is in actual occupation of the region east of Huiririma-chico, on the Napo river, 3½ degrees west of that frontier, those maps cannot be considered correct. The Trans-Andine territory occupied by Ecuador is a wedge-shaped area between the Coca and Napo, the provisional boundary line with Colombia, and a line running nearly west-south-west from Huiririma-chico (about lat. 2° 50′ S., long. 73° 20′ W.) to a point on the Santiago river in about lat. 4° 12′ S., long. 78° W., which forms the provisional boundary with Peru. The eastern part of this territory is also claimed by Peru, which would have the effect, if allowed, of restricting Ecuador to a comparatively small area covered by the Andes and western Cordillera and the narrow plain on the Pacific coast. From the Santiago river, a western affluent of the Marañon, the boundary line runs south-west and west across the Andes to the head waters of the Macara, down that stream to the Chira, or Achira, whose channel marks the frontier down to about 80° 17′ W., where a small stream (the Rio Alamo) enters from the north. The line then runs almost due north to the south shore of the Gulf of Guayaquil, following the western water parting of the lower Tumbez valley. A small district in the valley of the Chira is claimed by Peru. The northern boundary line is described elsewhere (see Colombia). A small section of this line terminating on the Pacific coast is also in dispute, Ecuador claiming the main channel of the Mira as the dividing line, and Colombia claiming a small district south of that channel, the line running due west from the mouth of the most southern outlet of the Mira opening into Panguapi Bay, to a point of intersection with that river.
Physical Geography.—The surface of Ecuador may be divided into three distinct regions: the Cis-Andine lying between the Western Cordillera and the coast; the Inter-Andine, which includes the two great mountain chains crossing the republic with the elevated plateau lying between; and the Trans-Andine, lying east of the Andes in the great Amazon valley. The first part consists of an alluvial, low-lying plain formed in great part by the detritus brought down by the mountain streams. It is irregular in form and is broken by isolated elevations and spurs from the Cordillera. Large areas are still subject to annual inundations in the rainy season, and the lower river courses are bordered with swamps. This is the most fertile and productive part of Ecuador, especially on the higher lands near the Cordillera. The Trans-Andine region is similar to the neighbouring territories of the upper Amazon basin occupied by Colombia, Brazil and Peru—a great forest-covered plain descending gently toward the east, broken on its western margin by short spurs from the Andes enclosing highly fertile valleys, and by low, isolated ranges between the larger river courses, and traversed by large rivers flowing into the Napo and Marañon. This region has been only partially explored, and but little is known of the large areas lying between the navigable rivers.
The Inter-Andine or plateau region lies in and between the two great mountain chains which cross the greater part of the republic between and almost parallel with the 78th and 79th meridians. The eastern chain is known as the Andes of Ecuador, or the Cordillera Oriental, and the western as Mountains. the Cordillera Occidental (Western Cordillera). Starting from the confused grouping on the southern frontier of the two great chains and some transverse ranges, they run nearly north by east to the Colombian frontier where another “knot” or junction occurs. The summits of the western range form a line of noteworthy regularity, but those of the eastern form a broken irregular line of varying distances from the first. The elevated plateau between the two great chains, which is about 300 m. long and 20 to 30 m. wide, is divided into three great shallow basins or plains by the transverse ridges or paramos of Tiupullo and Azuay. These are known as the Quito, Ambato and Cuenca basins. South of the latter is the irregular and deeply broken Loja basin, which can hardly be considered a part of the great Ecuador plateau. The three great basins, which are broken and subdivided by mountainous spurs and ridges, descend gradually toward the south, the Quito plain having an average elevation of 9500 ft. above the sea, Ambato 8500, and Cuenca 7800. They are also characterized by the increasing aridity of the plateau from north to south, the Quito plain being fertile and well covered with vegetation, and the Ambato and Cuenca plains being barren and desolate except in some favoured localities. The volcanic character of the region is likewise responsible for large areas of barren surfaces. Rising from this elevated plateau, along its eastern and western margins, are the Cordilleras with their principal summits culminating far above the line of perpetual snow, which in this region is about 15,750 ft. above the sea. These summits are remarkable, not only for their great height, but also for their apparent symmetrical arrangement in parallel lines, sometimes in pairs facing each other across this cyclopean passage. Nowhere in the world can there be found another such assemblage of snow-clad peaks, several of which are active volcanoes. There are 22 of them grouped around these central plains almost within sight of each other. The western chain has the distinction of having the highest summit, the eastern the greatest number of high summits and the highest average elevation. From the time of Humboldt’s visit to this remarkable region down to the present time there have been many diverse calculations of the height of these peaks, but with a considerable variation. It is estimated that there was a considerable decrease in the elevation of this part of the Andes during the past century, Quito having sunk 26 ft. in 122 years, Pichincha 218 ft. in the same time, and the farm of Antisana, where Humboldt resided for a time, 165 ft. in 64 years. At the same time Cotopaxi and Sangay, the two active volcanoes, have actually increased in elevation since the measurement of La Condamine in 1742. These changes in elevation, if correct, are due to seismic disturbances, a cause that may be partially responsible for the varying computations of the heights of these well-known peaks. Among modern investigators are W. Reiss and A. Stübel (1871–1873), and Edward Whymper (1880), whose measurements of the principal summits were:—
|Eastern Cordillera.||Western Cordillera.|
|Sara-Urcu||”||15,502||Mojanda||(R. & S.)||14,088|
|Sincholagua||(R. & S.)||16,365||Atacatzo||(R. & S.)||14,892|
|Rumiñagui||”||15,607||El Corazon (Chamalari)||(W.)||15,871|
|Cotopaxi||(W.)||19,613||Iliniza||(R. & S.)||17,405|
|Tunguragua||(R. & S.)||16,690||Carahuairazo||(W.)||16,515|
The Imbabura volcano, celebrated for its destructive eruptions of mud and water, stands midway between the two ranges at the northern end of the plateau, and belongs to the transverse ridge of knot (nudo) which unites them. It is the most northern of the higher peaks of Ecuador, with the exception of Cotocachi, and possibly of Chiles on the Colombian frontier, and reaches the elevation of 15,033 ft. Ibarra on the northern flanks of the volcano has suffered severely from its eruptions. The name is derived from imba, fish, and bura, mother, and is said to have originated from the quantities of a fish called “preñadilla” (Pimelodus cyclopum) discharged from its crater during one of its eruptions—a phenomenon which, after a searching investigation, was discredited by Wagner. Cayambe, or Cayembi, the second highest peak of the Ecuadorean Andes, has the noteworthy distinction of standing very nearly on the equator. Its base covers a large area, and its square top, rising far above the snow-line, is one of the sights of Quito. Antisana is crowned with a double dome, and is described as an extinct volcano, though Humboldt saw smoke issuing from it in 1802. On its western side is the famous hacienda (farm) of Antisana, 13,306 ft. above the sea, where Humboldt resided for several months in 1802. Sara-Urcu stands south-east of Antisana in a densely forested region, drenched with rain and only slightly explored. Sincholagua and Rumiñagui are the next two peaks, going southward, and then the unrivalled cone of Cotopaxi (q.v.)—the highest active volcano in the world—from whose summit smoke curls upward unceasingly.
Llanganati or Cerro Hermoso is chiefly known through the tradition that the treasures of the Incas were buried in a lake on its slopes. It consists of a group of summits, the highest being credited with 17,843 ft. Tunguragua, or Tungurahua, has a cone-shaped summit like that of Cotopaxi, with a slope of 38°. It rises from a plain somewhat lower than the neighbouring central plateau and stands free from the surrounding elevations, except on the south, which give it an exceptionally imposing appearance. Among its characteristic features is a cataract fed by melting snows, which descends 1500 ft. in three leaps, and an enormous basaltic lava-stream, which crosses the face of the mountain in a north-easterly direction. Its most notable eruption was in 1777. It has been sometimes classed among the extinct volcanoes, but smoke has been seen issuing from it at different dates, and a violent eruption occurred on January 12, 1886. The fertile cultivated valley of Baños, with its thermal springs, lies at the base of Tunguragua, which F. Hassaurek describes as “the most beautiful of all the snow peaks in the country.” The next in line is El Altar, which the natives call Capac-Urcu (“king mountain”), whose broken cone and impressive outlines make it one of the most attractive mountains of Ecuador. Its summit comprises a group of eight snow-clad peaks, and its crater is surrounded by a steep and jagged wall of rocks. There is a tradition that this mountain was once higher than Chimborazo, but a series of eruptions caused the cone to fall in and reduced its summit to its present altitude and broken appearance. Altar has shown no signs of activity since the discovery of America. Sangay, or Sangai, the next and last large volcano to the south, is in a state of frequent eruption, however, and is known as one of the most restless volcanoes of the world. Since the Spanish conquest it has been in a state of uninterrupted activity, but no damage has been done, because there are no civilized settlements in its immediate vicinity. Though of great interest to scientific investigators because of this unceasing activity, and of its peculiar position in the Andean system, and because of the difficult and dangerous country by which it is surrounded, Sangay has been but rarely visited by European travellers. Its eruptions are not on a grand scale, but small outbursts of lava and explosions of steam occur at frequent intervals, and at longer intervals more violent explosions in which the molten rock is thrown 2000 ft. above its summit, and ashes are carried away as far as the streets of Guayaquil.
Turning to the Cordillera Occidental and taking the principal peaks in order from south to north, the first to claim attention is Chimborazo (from Chimpu-raza, “mountain of snow”), the highest summit of Ecuador, and once believed to be the culminating point of the Andes. Humboldt, who unsuccessfully attempted its ascent in 1802, gives its elevation as 21,425 ft., Reiss and Stubel as 20,703, and Whymper as 20,498. It stands 76 m. north-east of Guayaquil, and, according to Spruce, rises majestically from the valley of the Guayas, on the west, without a “positive break from the summit down to the plain.” This, however, is erroneous, for Whymper located a detached range running parallel with the Cordillera on the west, for a distance of 65 m. with the Chimbo valley between them. The magnificence of its mass is imposing from almost any point of view, but it can be most fully appreciated from its western or Pacific side, where its base is covered with forest up to the snow-line, above which its pure white cone rises another 5000 ft. An unobstructed view of the great mountain is rarely obtained, however, because of the mists and clouds which cover its cone. Its summits were reached for the first time in 1880 by Edward Whymper, all previous attempts having failed. It is considered to be an extinct volcano because it makes the plumb-line deviate only 7″ to 8″, from which it is deduced that the mountain is hollow. Moreover, the calcined matter resembling white sand which covers its sides below the snow-line, extensive beds of lava, and the issue of streams of hot water from its northern side, seem to confirm the deduction that Chimborazo is an extinct volcano. Immediately north of Chimborazo, and separated from it by only a narrow valley, are the lower triple summits of Carahuairazo, or Carguairazo (which the natives call Chimborazo-embra, “Chimborazo’s wife”), whose hollow cone collapsed in 1698 during a great earthquake, and left the jagged rim which adds so much to its present picturesque appearance. Mr Whymper’s measurement is for the middle peak. Quirotoa, still farther north, is supposed to have suffered a similar catastrophe. Its hollow summit, 13,510 ft. above sea-level, now contains a large lake. Iliniza, which stands west by north of Cotopaxi, has two pyramidal peaks, and is one of the most interesting mountains of the Ecuadorean group. It stands at the western end of the Tiupullo ridge, and overlooks the Quito basin to the north-east. The French academician Bouger, who was chief of the scientific commission sent to Ecuador in 1736 to measure a degree of the meridian on the equator, made a trigonometrical measurement of Iliniza, and Wagner ascended to within 800 ft. of its summit in 1859. The geological structure of the mountain furnishes no evidence of volcanic activity. Chamalari, which the Spaniards called El Corazon from its heart-shaped appearance, is similarly destitute of a crater. It overlooks the Quito basin and has been ascended many times. Among the earlier explorers to reach its summit were Bouger and La Condamine, Humboldt and Bonpland, and José Cáldas, the Granadian naturalist. Atacatzo is an extinct volcano, with nothing noteworthy in its appearance and history. Pichincha, its famous neighbour, is apparently of later origin, according to Wagner, and of slightly lower elevation. Perhaps no Ecuadorean volcano is better known than Pichincha, the “boiling mountain,” because of its destructive eruptions and its proximity to the city of Quito. Its summit comprises three groups of rocky peaks, of which the most westerly, Rucu-Pichincha (Old Pichincha), contains the crater, a funnel-shaped basin 2460 ft. deep and about 1500 ft. wide at the bottom, whose walls in places rise perpendicularly and in others at an angle of 20°. The exterior of the cone has an angle of 30°. Bouger and La Condamine were the first to reach its brink in 1742, after which Humboldt made the ascent in 1802, Boussingault and Hall in 1831, Garcia Moreno and Sebastian Wisse in 1844 and 1845 (descending into the crater for the first time), Garcia Moreno and Jameson in 1857, Farrand and Hassaurek in 1862, Orton in 1867, and Whymper in 1880. Farrand spent more than a week in the crater trying to get some good photographic views, and Orton has given a graphic description of his experiences in the same place. He found that the real cone of eruption was an irregular heap 250 ft. in height and 800 ft. in diameter, containing about 70 vents. The temperature of the vapour within the fumarole was 184°, and water boiled at 189°. There have been five eruptions of Pichincha since the Spanish conquest—in 1539, 1566, 1575, 1587 and 1660. The second covered Quito 3 ft. deep with ashes and stones, but the last three were considered as the most destructive to that city. The last happily broke down the western side of the crater, which, it is believed, will ensure the city against harm in any subsequent eruption. Since the earthquake of August 1867 Pichincha has sent forth dense masses of black smoke and great quantities of fine sand. Cotocachi is a double-peaked mountain, rising from an extremely rough country. It was ascended by Whymper in 1880. All the higher summits of Ecuador have true glaciers, the largest being found on Antisana, Cayambe and Chimborazo. Whymper located and named no less than eleven on Chimborazo, and counted twelve on Cayambe.
There are two distinct hydrographic systems in Ecuador—the streams that flow south-eastward to the Marañon, or Amazon, and those which flow westward to the Pacific. The southern part of the great central plateau is arid and has a very Rivers. light rainfall; it has no streams, therefore, except from melting snows, and the higher elevations which receive the impact of the easterly winds. Farther north the rainfall becomes heavier, the plateau is covered with vegetation, and a considerable number of small rivers flow westward through the Cordillera to the Pacific. The Eastern Cordillera, or Andes, forms the water-parting between the two systems. The largest of the eastward-flowing rivers is the Napo, which rises in the eastern defiles of Cotopaxi and Sincholagua—the principal source being the Rio del Valle, which traverses the Valle Vicioso. It at first flows south by east, and at the village of Napo is 1450 ft. above sea-level, at the mouth of the Coca 858 ft., at the mouth of the Aguarico 586 ft., 500 at the mouth of the Curaray, and 385 at its junction with the Marañon. Orton estimates its current at Napo in the month of November as 6 m. an hour; in the next 80 m. the river falls 350 ft. and produces a fine series of rapids; and from Santa Rosa downwards the rate is not less than 4 m. an hour. Its breadth at Napo is only 120 ft., but at Coca it has widened to 1500 ft., and at its mouth to nearly 1 m. Like most of the large Amazon tributaries, its discharge into the Marañon is through several distinct channels. The Napo is navigable for steam-boats for some distance above the mouth of the Coca, and thence for canoes as far as the Cando cataract, 3332 ft. above the sea. Its total length is 920 m. The principal tributaries of the Napo are the Coca and Aguarico from the north, and the Curaray from the south. The Coca rises on the eastern slopes of the Andes near Cayambe and the Guamani range, and flows eastward near the equator to San Rafael (about 76° 30′ W. long.), where it turns sharply southward to a junction with the Napo in about lat. 1° S., long. 76° W. The
Coca forms the provisional boundary line between Ecuador and Colombia from its source to the Napo. The Aguarico also rises on the eastern slopes of the Andes north of Cayambe and flows south-eastward to a junction with the Napo in about long. 75° W., its length being roughly estimated at 420 m. Little is known of its course, or of the country through which it flows, which is provisionally occupied by Colombia. The Curaray has its sources in the defiles of the Cerros de Llanganati, and flows south-eastward to the Napo, its length being estimated at 490 m. Its lower course is sluggish, where its waters are made unpalatable by a reddish slime. The Napo and its tributaries are celebrated in the early history of South America as the route by which Gonzalo Pizarro and Orellana first reached the Amazon, and it was afterwards the principal route by which the early expeditions across the continent at this point connected the Andean Plateau with the Amazon. The other rivers which flow through the Oriente territory of Ecuador into the Marañon are the Tigre, Pastaza, Morona and Santiago. The Tigre, of which little was known until a recent date, is formed by the confluence of the Cunambo and Huiviyacu, whose sources are on the eastern slopes of the Andes near those of the Curaray. Its length below this confluence is 416 m., into which are received 109 tributaries, the largest of which are the Pucacuro and Corrientes. The Tigre is navigable at all stages up to the Cunambo confluence, and promises to afford one of the most valuable river routes in Ecuador. It enters the Marañon very near the 74th meridian. The Pastaza, or Pastassa, unlike the rivers already described, has its source on the central plateau west of the principal chain of the Andes, within the shadow of Cotopaxi, and breaks through the Cordillera to the north of Tunguragua. After flowing southward along the base of the high Andes for a short distance and receiving a number of torrents from the snowclad heights, it turns south-eastward across the plain and enters the Marañon about 70 m. above the mouth of the Huallaga. The stream is known as the Patate down to its junction with the Chambo, near Baños, and is not called Pastaza until the Agoyan falls are passed. It was navigated by Don Pedro Maldonado as early as 1741, and is navigable for steamboats of 2 to 4 ft. draft up to the mouth of the Huasaga (about 124 m.) in times of high water, and for canoes nearly 200 m. farther. The Pastaza, however, is subject to irresistible floods caused by the sudden rising of the mountain torrents on its upper course, especially the Toro, which sweep down with such fury that navigation on the river is practically impossible. The shallowness of the lower stream, where the current is sluggish, is probably due to the great quantities of silt brought down by these floods. Many of the rivers of eastern Ecuador are subject to similar floods from the Andean slopes, which have cut away broad, deep channels, through the adjacent plains, leaving long, narrow ridges between their courses which the natives call cuchillas. The Morona is formed by the confluence of the Manhuasisa and Cangaima about 310 m. above its mouth, and is freely navigable for small steamboats to that point. The two confluents just mentioned have their sources in the Andes, and flow for some distance across the plain before uniting to form the Morona. Both are navigable for considerable distances. The Morona follows a very tortuous course before entering the Marañon, at long. 70° W., and receives a large number of affluents, one of which serves as the outlet for Lake Rimachuma, in Peruvian territory. Very little is definitely known of the affluents of the Morona, Pastaza and Tigre, as the territory through which they run has been but slightly explored. The Santiago, which enters the Marañon near the Pongo de Manseriche, is formed by the confluence of the Paute, which rises in the province of Azuay, and the Zamora, which has its source among the mountains of Loja. According to Alexander Garland (Peru in 1906), the rivers of eastern Ecuador are navigable at low water for steamers of 2 to 4 ft. draft for an aggregate distance of 1503 m., as follows:—
|Napo, to the mouth of the Aguarico||559|
|Curaray, up to Canonaco||286|
|Tigre, up to Cunambo-Huiviyacu confluence||416|
|Morona, up to the Rarayacu||211|
These same rivers are navigable at high water for steamers of 19½ ft. draft for an aggregate distance of 1330 m., including 68 m. of the Aguarico, and for steamers of 2 to 4 ft. draft for an additional 733 m. The last aggregate includes an extension of 93 m. on the Pastaza, 99 on the Morona, 186 on the Napo, and the balance on the Manhuasisa, Cangaima, Pucacuro, Corrientes, Cunambo and Huiviyacu.
On the western versant of the Andes of Ecuador there are three river systems of considerable size—the Mira, the Esmeraldas and the Guayas. The sources of the first—the Rioblanco, Pisco and Puntal—are to be found on the northern slopes of the transverse ridge which culminates in the Imbabura volcano. Its course is north and north-west to the Colombian frontier, thence westward and north-west to the Pacific, breaking through the Western Cordillera on its way. It forms the boundary line for some distance between Ecuador and Colombia, but near its mouth where the river turns northward Colombia has taken possession of the left bank and all the territory covered by its large delta. Its principal tributaries on the left are the San Pedro, Paramba, Cachiyacu, Chachavi and Canumbi, and on the right the San Juan, Caiquer and Nulpe. The delta channels of the Mira are navigable, being tributary to the Colombian port of Tumaco. The Esmeraldas drains all that part of the central plateau lying between the transverse ridge of Tiupullo on the south, and the Imbabura ridge on the north, together with the western slopes of the Cordillera between Iliniza and Cotocachi, and a considerable part of the lower plain. It is formed by the confluence of the Quininde and Toachi with the Guaillabamba between 40 and 50 m. above its mouth, and discharges into the Pacific in lat. 1° N., long. 79° 40′ W., through a narrow and precipitous gorge. The volume and current of the river is sufficient to freshen the sea 2 m. from the coast. The Guaillabamba is the larger and more important tributary, and should be considered the main stream. It rises in the Chillo valley in the vicinity of Cayambe, and flows across the northern end of the central plateau, breaking through the Western Cordillera between Cotocachi and Pichincha. One of its plateau tributaries, Rio Pedregal, rises on the slopes of Cotopaxi and is celebrated for its three beautiful cascades, the highest of which is about 220 ft. The Toachi and Quininde have their sources on the western slopes of the Cordillera. The Guayas or Guayaquil river is in part an estuary extending northward from the Gulf of Guayaquil, bordered by mangrove swamps and mud banks formed by the silt brought down from the neighbouring mountains. All the bordering country on both sides is of the same description, and for a long distance inland extensive areas of swampy country are submerged during the rainy season. Above the mouth of the Daule the river is known as the Bodegas, which in turn is formed by the confluence of the Babahoyo and the Vinces. The Guayas also receives a large tributary from the east called the Yaguachi. All these streams are navigable on their lower courses, regular steamboat communication being maintained on the Guayas and Bodegas to a river port of the latter name, 80 m. above Guayaquil, and for 40 m. on the Daule. The navigable channels of all the rivers are computed at 200 m. The drainage basin of the Guayas, according to Theodor Wolf, covers an area of 14,000 sq. m., and includes the greater part of the lower plain and the western slopes of the Cordillera Occidental as far north as Iliniza. The Babahoyo, which is the main stream, has its sources on the slopes of Chimborazo, the Daule on the Sandomo ridge in the latitude of Pichincha, the Yaguachi on the south-eastern slopes of Chimborazo, whence it flows southward for a considerable distance before breaking through the Cordillera to the western plain. The Guayas is one of the most interesting and varied of the South American river systems, and is of great economic importance to Ecuador. In addition to these three river systems, there are a large number of short streams on the coast flowing into the Pacific and Gulf of Guayaquil, only two of which have any special importance in the present undeveloped state of the country. These are the Santiago, which drains several fertile valleys in northern Esmeraldas and western Carchi, and whose outlet is connected with some navigable tide-water channels, including the Pailon basin and the Caráquez, or Caracas, on which is located the village of Bahia de Caráquez (lat. 0° 34′ S.), the nearest port to the city of Quito.
There are a considerable number of small lakes in Ecuador, but no large ones. These are of two classes—those of the bowl-like valleys and extinct craters of the mountainous region, and the reservoir lakes of the lowland plains caused by Lakes. the annual overflow of the rivers. It is impossible to say how many of the latter there may be, for much of the territory where they are found is unexplored. They are usually shallow and malarial. Among the upland lakes, there are some of special interest because of their position and historical association. The Yaguar-cocha (“lake of blood”), in the province of Imbabura, near Ibarra, which is only 1½ m. in circumference, is celebrated for the tradition that Huayna-Capac, one of the great conquerors of the Inca dynasty, defeated an army of rebellious Carranquis on its shores, and threw so many of their bleeding corpses into it as to turn its waters to the colour of blood. On the south-east skirt of Cotocachi, 10,200 ft. above the sea, is the beautiful little Cuy-cocha, which originated, it is believed, through the falling in of the mountain’s sides. There are two others of apparently the same origin on the north-west slopes of the Mojanda volcano, but they are less attractive because of their gloomy surroundings. In the deep valley between the mountains of Imbabura and Mojanda is the lake of San Pablo, 8848 ft. above the sea. It is one of the largest of its class, being about 5 m. in circumference, and is situated in an exceptionally fertile region. It drains through the Peguchi into the Rio Blanco, a tributary of the Mira. Other well-known lakes of the plateau region are Quirotoa, about 4600 ft. in diameter; Colta, east of Riobamba, and Colay, south of the same place. Among the many thermal springs throughout the Andean districts, the best known are at Belermos and San Pedro del Tingo, north-east of Quito; at Cachillacta, in the district of Nanegal; at Timbugpoyo, near Latacunga; at Baños (5906 ft. elevation), near the foot of Tunguragua; and on the slopes of Rumiñagui and Chimborazo.
The coast of Ecuador extends from about lat. 1° 20′ N. to the vicinity of the Boca Jambeli on the southern shore of the Gulf of Guayaquil, in lat. 3° 14′ S., and has an outward curve. Its more prominent headlands are Punta Galera, Cabo Coast. Pasado, Cabo de San Lorenzo and La Puntilla, or Santa Élena
Point. The bays on this coast are commonly broad indentations, and the rivers discharging into them are generally obstructed by bars. The small ports along the coast, therefore, do not afford much protection to shipping. The most northern of these bays is the Ancon de Sardinas, lying south of the Mira delta. The head of the bay is fringed with islands and reefs, behind which is the mouth of the Santiago river, Poza Harbour, San Lorenzo Bay, Pailon basin and a network of navigable channels, all of which are difficult of access. The small ports of La Tola and Pailon are located on these waters. The port of Esmeraldas, near the mouth of the Esmeraldas river, is located near the southern entrance to this bay. As the mouth of the river is obstructed by a bar and its current is swift, the anchorage is outside in an open roadstead, only slightly protected on the south. Farther south is the broad Bay of Manta, with a small port of the same name at its southern extremity. The most frequented port on this part of the coast is that of Bahia de Caráquez, at the mouth of the Caráquez, or Caracas river, which is also obstructed by a bar. There is a fertile, productive country back of this port, and it is the objective point of a road from Quito. Immediately north of the Gulf of Guayaquil is the Bay of Santa Élena, with a small port of the same name, which has a good, well-sheltered anchorage and is the landing-place of the West Coast cable. The Gulf of Guayaquil, which lies between the Ecuadorean and Peruvian coasts, is the largest gulf on the Pacific coast of South America between Panama and Chiloe. Its mouth is 140 m. wide between La Puntilla on the north and Cabo Blanco on the south, and it penetrates the land eastward, with a slight curve northward at its head, for a distance of about 100 m., terminating in the Guayas estuary or river, on which is located the port of Guayaquil. The upper end of the bay and its northern shores are fringed with swamps through which numerous estuaries penetrate for some distance inland. Immediately west of the Guayas river the Estero Salado, which comprises a great many shallow tide-water channels, or bayous, penetrates as far inland as Guayaquil, but is used only by canoes. The upper end of the gulf is filling up with the silt brought down from the Cordillera. It is divided midway by the large island of Puna, at the eastern end of which is the anchorage for steamers too large to ascend the Guayas. The steamship channel passes between this island and the Peruvian coast, and is known as the Jambeli channel. The passage north of Puna Island is known as the Morro channel, but its entrance is obstructed by shoals and it is considered dangerous for shipping. A small port in the Jambeli channel, on the south-east shore of the gulf, is that of Puerto Bolivar, or Puerto Huaila, the shipping port for the town of Machala and the Zaruma mining region.
There are few islands off the coast of Ecuador, and only one of any considerable size—that of Puna in the Gulf of Guayaquil, which is 29 m. long from north-east to south-west and 8 to 14 m. wide. It lies in the north-east part of the gulf, and is Islands. separated from the Ecuadorean mainland by the Morro channel, and from the southern mainland by the wider and deeper Jambeli channel. There is a low, mountainous ridge, called the Zampo Palo, running through it, and its eastern shores have some moderately high bluffs; otherwise the island is low and swampy, and its shores, except the eastern end, are fringed with mud banks. The island is densely wooded (in marked contrast with the opposite Peruvian shore), and is considered unhealthy throughout the greater part. It has a population of 200, chiefly centred in the village of Puna, at its north-east extremity, which is a shipping port and health resort for the city of Guayaquil. Puna island is celebrated for its connexion with Pizarro’s invasion of Peru in 1531. It is said that it had a considerable population at that time, and that the natives resisted the invaders so vigorously that it cost six months to reduce them. Midway in the outer part of the Gulf of Guayaquil is Amortajada or Santa Clara island, whose resemblance to a shrouded corpse suggested the name which it bears. It lies 12 m. south-west of Puna island and 80 m. from Guayaquil. It rises to a considerable elevation, and carries a light 256 ft. above sea-level. There are some low, swampy islands, or mud flats, covered with mangrove thickets, in the lower Guayas river, but they are uninhabited and of no importance. North of the Gulf of Guayaquil there are only two small islands on the coast of more than local interest. The first of these is Salango, in lat. 1° 25′ S., which is 2 m. in circumference and rises to a height of 524 ft. It is richly wooded, and has a well-sheltered anchorage much frequented by whalers in search of water and fresh provisions. The next is La Plata, in lat. 1° 16′ S., which rises to a height of 790 ft., and has a deep anchorage on its eastern side where Drake is said to have anchored in 1579 to divide the spoils of the Spanish treasure ship “Cacafuego.” The Galapagos Islands (q.v.) belong to the republic of Ecuador, and form a part of the province of Guayas.
Geology.—The great longitudinal depression which lies between the eastern and the western branches of the Andes is also the boundary between the ancient rocks of the east and the Mesozoic beds which form the greater part of the west of the country. The Eastern Cordillera is composed of gneiss, mica and chlorite schist and other crystalline rocks of ancient date; the Western Cordillera, on the other hand, is formed of porphyritic eruptive rocks of Mesozoic age, together with sedimentary deposits containing Cretaceous fossils. Most of the country between the Andes and the sea is covered by Tertiary and Quaternary beds; but the range of hills which runs north-west from Guayaquil is formed of Cretaceous and porphyritic rocks similar to those of the Andes. In the intra-andine depression, between the East and West Cordilleras, recent deposits with plant remains occur near Loja, and to the north-east of Cuenca is a sandstone containing mercury ores, somewhat similar to that of Peru. Farther north nearly the whole of the depression is filled with lavas, tuffs and agglomerates, derived from the Tertiary and recent volcanoes which form the most striking feature of the Andes of Ecuador. These volcanoes are most numerous in the northern half of the country, and they stand indifferently upon the folded Mesozoic beds of the Western Cordillera (e.g. Chimborazo, Iliniza, Pichincha), the ancient rocks of the Eastern Cordillera (Altar, Tunguragua, Cotopaxi, Antisana), or the floor of the great depression between. The lavas and ashes are for the most part andesitic.
Climate.—Climatic conditions in Ecuador are very largely contingent on altitude, and the transition from one climate to another is a matter of only a few hours’ journey. Although the equator crosses the northern part of the republic, only 15 m. north of the city Of Quito, a very considerable part of its area has the temperature of the temperate zone, and snow-crowned summits are to be seen every day in the year from its great central plateau. In addition to the climatic changes due to altitude, there are others caused by local arid conditions, by volcanic influences and by the influence of mountain ranges on the temperature and rainfall of certain districts. These influences are not general; on the contrary, they often affect very limited areas. For instance, Guayaquil has a hot humid climate and mangrove swamps line the shores of Guayas down to the gulf; at Santa Élena, about 60 m. due west, arid conditions prevail and vegetation is scanty and dwarfed; at Salango island, 50 m. north of Santa Élena, there is an abundance of moisture and vegetation is luxuriant; 33 m. farther north, at Manta, the country is a desert; and at Atacames bay, 135 m. north of Manta, the rainfall and vegetation are again favourable. On the plateau similar conditions prevail. There is no great display of arboreal vegetation anywhere except in the valleys and lower passes where the rainfall is abundant, but in general terms it may be said that the rainfall and vegetation which characterize the Quito basin soon disappear as one proceeds southward, and are substituted by arid conditions. Even here there are local modifications, as at Ambato, where a shallow depression, surrounded by barren, dust-covered ridges exposed to cold winds, is celebrated for its warm, equable climate and its fruit. It is to be noted that the Gulf of Guayaquil separates the humid, forest-covered coastal plain of Ecuador from the arid, barren coast of Peru, the two regions being widely dissimilar. The mean annual temperature, on this plain, according to an official publication, is 82.4° F., and the range is from 66° to 95°. The heat is modified at many points on the coast, however, by the cold Humboldt current which sweeps up the west coast of South America from the Antarctic seas. The year is divided into a wet and dry season—the former running from December to June, and the latter from July to December. The rainy season, or invierno, is broken by a short period of dry weather, called the veranillo (little summer), shortly after the December solstice; otherwise it rains every day, the streams overflow, land traffic is suspended, and the air is drenched with moisture and becomes oppressive and pestiferous. The dry season, which is called the verano, or summer, is also broken by a short rainy spell called the inviernillo (little winter) or “cordonazo de San Francisco,” which follows the September equinox. Apart from these the two seasons are sometimes broken by cloudless skies in winter, and a drizzling mist, called the garua, in summer. In the inter-andine region the variations in temperature are frequent and the averages comparatively low. An official estimate gives the mean annual temperature as 64° to 68° between 6000 and 11,000 ft. In Quito the mean annual temperature is 58.8°, the diurnal variation 10°, the annual maximum 70°, and the annual minimum 45°. Other returns give the mean annual temperature at 55°. It is said that pulmonary tuberculosis is unknown in these altitudes, though it is common in the coast districts. Catarrhal complaints are common, however, and leprosy is widely prevalent, it being necessary to maintain three large hospitals for lepers. In the higher altitudes there are wide variations in the snow-fall and intensity of the cold even on the same mountain. The line of permanent snow is much higher on the plateau side in both ranges, the precipitation being greater on the outer sides—those facing the forested lowlands—and the terrestrial radiation being greater from the barren surfaces of the plateau. In some instances the difference in the elevation of the snow-line has been found to be fully 1000 ft. Moreover, no two summits seem to retain the snow permanently at the same altitude. For instance, in 1880 Whymper found permanent snow on Cotocachi at 14,500 ft., while near by Imbabura was bare to its summit (15,033 ft.); Antisana was permanently covered at 16,000 ft., and near by Sara-Urcu, which is drenched with rains and mists from the Amazon valley
all the year round, at 14,000 ft.; Sincholagua had large beds of permanent snow at 15,300 ft., Cotopaxi was permanently covered at 15,500 ft. on its western side, Corazon had daily snowstorms down to 14,500 ft., but no permanent beds of snow on its east side (elevation 15,871 ft.); and Chimborazo had deep snow at 15,600 ft. on its north-east and south sides in June—July. The eastern range was found to receive the heaviest snowfall. The elevation at which human residence is possible seems to be unusually high in Ecuador. Many of the towns and villages of central Ecuador lie at altitudes ranging from 8606 ft. (Ambato) to 9839 ft. (Machachi). The capital city of Quito is 9343 ft. above the sea, and is celebrated for its agreeable temperature, and also for its healthiness in spite of prevailing unsanitary conditions. Above these towns are a number of farms and herdsmen’s habitations, where men live the whole or a part of the year with less discomfort from low temperature than is experienced in northern Europe and northern United States. According to Whymper, the tambo of Chuquipoquio, at the foot of Chimborazo, is 11,704 ft., and the hacienda of Pedregal, near Iliniza, 11,629 ft., both being permanently occupied. The hacienda of Antisana, 13,306 ft., and the herdsmen’s hut of Cunayaco on Chimborazo, 13,396 ft., are occupied only for a part of the year. The highest elevations are generally covered with ice and snow, and glaciers, according to Whymper, are to be found upon no less than nine of the culminating peaks, and possibly upon two or three more. These serve to modify the temperatures of the plateau, which is swept by cold winds at all seasons of the year. The prevailing wind is that of the north-east and south-east trade winds, broken and modified on the plateau and western lowlands by mountain barriers. Westerly and north-west winds are sometimes experienced, but are not permanent.
Flora.—The flora of the Quito basin has been well studied by various European botanists, more especially by Dr William Jameson (1796-1873) of the university of Quito, who began the preparation of a synopsis of the Ecuadorean flora in 1864-1865 (Synopsis plantarum Quitensium, 2 vols., Quito, 1865). The flora of the forested lowlands on both sides of the Andes has not been studied and described so fully. From the Pacific coast upward to a height of about 3000 to 4000 ft. the vegetation is distinctively tropical, including among its economic products cacao, cotton, sugar, tobacco, rice, maize, yucca (also known as cassava and mandioca), peanuts, bananas, sweet potatoes, yams, arracacha (Conium moschatum, H.B.K., or Arracacha esculenta), indigo, rubber (Castilloa), ivory-nuts, cinchona and bread-fruit. Most of these become rare at 3000 ft., but a few, like sugar-cane, are cultivated as high as 8000 ft. The alluvial valley of the Guayas, above Guayaquil, is celebrated for the richness of its vegetation, which, in fruit alone, includes cacao, coffee, coco-nuts, pine-apples, oranges, lemons, guayavas (Psidium pomiferum), guavas (Inga spectabilis), shaddocks (or grape-fruit), pomegranates, apricots, chirimoyas (Anona Chirimolia), granadillas (Passiflora quadrangularis), paltas (Persea gratissima, otherwise known as “alligator pears”), tunas (Cactus), mangoes (Mangifera Indica), pacays (Prosopis dulcis), aji (Chile pepper), and many others of less importance. Besides rubber, the forests produce a great variety of cabinet and construction woods, ivory-nuts (from the “tagua” palm, Phytelephas macrocarpa), “toquilla” fibre (Carludovica palmata) for the manufacture of so-called Panama hats, cabbage palms, several species of cinchona, vanilla and dyewoods. Among the large trees which are valued for their timber are redwood (Humiria balsamifera), Brazil-wood, algarrobo, palo de cruz (Jacquinea ruscifolia), guaiacum or holy wood, rosewood, cedar and walnut. From 6000 to 10,000 ft. above the sea, the indigenous species include the potato, maize, oca (Oxalis tuberosa), and quinua (Chenopodium quinoa), and the exotic species, wheat, barley, oats, alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and most of the fruits and vegetables of the northern temperate zone. Wheat does not form a head below 4500 ft., nor ripen above 10,500. The larger forest trees are rarely seen above 10,000 ft., and even there only on the outer slopes of the Cordilleras. The Escallonia myrtalloides, however, is found at an elevation of 13,000 ft., and the shrubby Befarias 400 or 500 ft. higher. A characteristic growth of the open plateau and upland valleys is the cabulla, cabaya or maguey (Agave americana), whose fibre is much used by the natives in the manufacture of cordage, sandals (alpargatas) and other useful articles. In the treeless region lying between 11,600 and 13,800, or in other places between 12,000 and 14,000 ft., the similarity of the vegetation to that of the corresponding European region, according to Wagner, is especially striking. On the paramos of Chimborazo, Pichincha, Iliniza, &c., the relation of characteristic genera to those identical with genera in the Alpine flora of Europe is as 5 to 4; and the botanist might almost suppose himself in the Upper Engadine. Of the flora of the highest Andes, Whymper found 42 species, of various orders, above 16,000 ft., almost all of which were from Antisana and Chimborazo; 12 genera of mosses were found above 15,000 ft., and 59 species of flowering plants above 14,000 ft., of which 35 species came from above 15,000 and 20 species from above 16,000 ft. The highest specimen obtained was a lichen (Lecanora subfusca, L.) on the south side of Chimborazo, 18,400 ft. above sea-level. Mosses (Grimmia) were found on Chimborazo at 16,660 ft., ferns (Polypodium pycnolepis, Kze.) at 14,900, and specimens of Gentiana rupicola, H. B. K., Achyrophorus quitensis, Sz. Bip., Culcitium nivale, H. B. K., at 16,300; Phyllactis inconspicua, Wedd., at 16,600, Astragalus geminiflorus, H. B. K., at 14-15,000, Geranium diffusum, H. B. K., at 16,000, Malvastrum phyllanthos, Asa Gray, at 16,500, Draba obovata, Benth., at 16,660, and Ranunculus praemorsus, Kth., at 16,500—all on Chimborazo. Fuchsia loxensis, H. B. K., was found on the slope of Sara-Urcu at 12,779 ft., and currant bushes (Ribes glandulosum, R. & P.), on Chimborazo, at 14,000. On the eastern slopes of the Andes, where the rainfall is continuous throughout the year and the atmosphere is surcharged with moisture, the forest growth is phenomenal. It is similar to that of the Colombian and Peruvian montanas, modified, if at all, by the excessive humidity which prevails in this region.
Fauna.—The fauna of Ecuador is comparatively poor in mammalia, but the birds and still more the insects are very numerous. The Quadrumana are represented by a large number of species, the eastern forests being very much like the other parts of the great Amazonian basin in this respect. The Carnivora include the puma (Felis concolor), jaguar (F. onca), ocelot (F. grisea), bear (Ursus ornatus), fox, weasel and otter. A small deer and, in southern Ecuador, the llama (Auchenia) with its allied species, the alpaca, guanaco and vicuña, represent the ruminants. The rodents are numerous and include most, if not all, of the Amazonian species—the capybara (Hydrochoerus capybara), cavia (C. aperea), paca (Coelogenys paca) and cutia (Dasyprocta aguti), all amphibious and having an extensive range. Tapirs are to be found in the eastern forests, the peccary in more open woodlands, and the opossum in nearly every part of the country. Cattle, horses, asses, sheep and swine were introduced by the Spaniards, and thrive well in some of the provinces. Excellent horses are reared in the uplands, as well as mules and cattle, the pasturage on the mountain slopes being good, and alfalfa being grown in abundance in many districts. The Reptilia include countless numbers of alligators in the Guayas and its tributaries and in the tide-water channels of many of the smaller rivers; many species of lizards, of which Mr Whymper found three in the Quito basin; snakes of every description from the huge anaconda of the Amazon region down to the beautifully marked coral snake; and a great variety of frogs and toads. Bats also are very numerous, especially in the eastern forest region, where the vampire bat is a serious obstacle to permanent settlement. The avifauna of Ecuador is distinguished for the great variety of its genera and species, among which are many peculiar to the Amazon valley, and others to the colder uplands. Among the Amazon species may be mentioned the parrot, macaw (Macrocercus), toucan (Ramphastos), curassow (Crax), penelope, trogon, and horned screamer (Palamedea cornuta). There are also herons, ibises, storks and cranes, including the great black-headed white crane, Mycteria americana, which ranges from northern Argentina to Colombia. One species of ibis, the Theristicus caudatus, is to be found, it is said, only on the slopes of Antisana. Species of the pheasant and partridge are not uncommon, and the “guácharo” (Steatornis caripensis), once believed to inhabit Venezuela only, is found in Ecuador also. The Raptores are well represented by a large number of genera and species, which include the condor, eagle, vulture, falcon, hawk and owl. The condor (Sarcorhamphus gryphus) is commonly found between the elevations of 6000 and 16,000 ft., rarely, if ever, descending to the lowland plains or rising above the lower peaks. It preys upon the smaller animals and inflicts much loss upon stock farmers through the destruction of calves, lambs, &c., but it very rarely ventures to attack man or any of the larger animals. The eagle common to Ecuador is the Morphnus taeniatus, and possibly the M. guaianensis on the eastern slopes of the Andes. The harrier-eagle (Herpetotheres cachinnans) is also to be found throughout this part of the continent. An eagle with buzzard-like habits, the Leucopternis plumbea, is likewise common in Ecuador. Among the vultures the turkey-buzzard group (Rhinogryphus or Cathartes), including the R. aurus, burrovianus and perniger, is common everywhere. The carrion crow, or black vulture (Catharista atrata), is also common to every part of the country, and is the general scavenger. The carrion hawks are represented by the Polyborus tharus, popularly called the “caracara,” and the Phalcobaenus carunculatus; the falcons by the Aesalon columbarius; and the kites by the Gampsonyx swainsoni. The Ecuadorean owl is the Bubo nigrescens. An interesting species of the song birds is popularly known as the “flautero” (flute-bird), which inhabits the eastern forests. Its notes are marvellous imitations of “the most mellow, sweet-sounding flute,” but the singer itself, according to Mr Simson, is “a very insignificant-looking little, greyish-coloured bird,” which “always dies in captivity.” The most interesting group of the smaller birds is that of the hummingbirds, of which the number and variety is astonishing. Some of these have a very wide range, while others are apparently limited to a small district, or to a certain altitude. The best-known fish of Ecuador is the insignificant Pimelodus cyclopum, the only fish found in the streams and lakes of the plateau region. Its fame rests on Humboldt’s publication of the tradition that great numbers of this tiny fish had been thrown out during the eruptions of Imbabura and other volcanoes. Mr Whymper’s explanation of the phenomenon is that the fish are scattered over the land by the sudden overflow during volcanic eruptions of the rivers and lakes which they inhabit. The rivers of the eastern plains are probably stocked with the fish found in the Amazon. On the coast, the Ancon de Sardinas bay is so named from the multitude of small fish (sardinas) which inhabit its
waters. Elsewhere there are no fisheries of importance, except those of the Galapagos Islands.
The insect inhabitants of Ecuador, like the birds, include a large number of genera and species, but no complete entomological survey of the country has ever been made, and our knowledge in this respect is insufficient to warrant a detailed description. In one ascent of Pichincha in 1880, Mr Whymper collected 21 species of beetles, all new to science, between 12,000 and 15,600 ft. elevation. On Cotopaxi, at elevations of 13,000 to 15,800 ft., 18 species of the genus Colpodes were collected, of which 16 were new. This may be considered a fair illustration of the situation in Ecuador so far as natural history exploration is concerned. Of the Machachi basin, near Quito, which he calls a “zoologist’s paradise,” Mr Whymper writes (Travels amongst the Great Andes of the Equator): “Butterflies above, below and around; now here, now there, by many turns and twists displaying the brilliant tessellation of their under-sides.... May-flies and dragon-flies danced in the sunlight; lizards darted across the paths; and legions of spiders pervaded the grass, many very beautiful—frosted—silver backs, or curious, like the saltigrades, who took a few steps and then gave a leap. There were crickets in infinite numbers; and flies innumerable, from slim daddy-long-legs to ponderous, black, hairy fellows known to science as Dejeaniae; hymenopterous insects in profusion, including our old friend the bishop of Ambato (possibly Dielis), in company with another formidable stinger, with chrome antennae, called by the natives ’the Devil’; and occasional Phasmas (caballo de palo) crawling painfully about, like animated twigs.” This description refers to a fertile sub-tropical oasis on the partially barren plateau; below in the forested lowlands, where tropical conditions prevail, the numbers and varieties are many times greater. The Coleoptera are especially numerous; Mr Whymper took home with him 206 species which had been identified and described up to 1892, most of them from the uplands and most of them new to science. The total number of species in Ecuador is roughly estimated to be 8000. The Hymenoptera are also numerous, but less so than the Lepidoptera, with which the mountain slopes and sunny, open spaces seem to be literally covered. Of moths alone Mr Whymper took away with him specimens representing no less than 23 genera, with a probable addition of 13 genera more among his undescribed specimens, the largest of which (an Erebus odora) was 7¼ in. across the wings. Among the Diptera, which includes a very wide range of genera and species, are some of a highly troublesome character, though on the whole, Mr Whymper did not find the flies and mosquitoes so. His explorations, however, did not extend to the eastern region, where the mosquitoes are usually described by travellers as extremely troublesome. Sand-flies are common, and in the eastern forests the tiny piúm fly (Trombidium, sp.?) is a veritable pest. Of the insects which infest dwellings and prey upon their human inmates, such as fleas, bed-bugs, roaches, &c., Ecuador has more than a bountiful supply. Lice-eating is a widely prevalent habit among the Indians and mestizos, and demonstrates how numerous these parasites are among the people. A good illustration of the prevalence of house-infesting animals and insects is given by Mr Whymper (op. cit. p. 391), who made a collection of 50 different specimens of the vermin which infested his bedroom in Guayaquil.
Population.—The indigenous population of Ecuador was originally composed of two distinct races—the Quitus and Caras, the former being the older, and the latter presumably of Quichua origin. The Caras, according to tradition, entered the country from the coast, and had thoroughly established themselves there long before the conquest by the Inca rulers Tupac-Yupanqui and his son Huayna-Capac. This conquest was comparatively easy because the Caras spoke a dialect of the same language, and were not greatly unlike their conquerors in manners and customs. The present Indian population of Ecuador, excepting those of the trans-Andean region, may be considered as descendants of these two races. They are subjected to incredible abuses under Spanish colonial rule, their numbers being reduced to a fraction of the former population, and even yet they are subjected to a kind of debt-bondage which is slavery in all but the name. Notwithstanding all this they still represent from two-thirds to three-fourths of the actual population of Ecuador. East of the Andes the forests are inhabited by tribes of what are termed “aucas” or “infieles” (infidels)—Indians who are independent of both church and political control. Missions have been established among some of the tribes, but their influence reaches only a small part of the wild inhabitants of this extensive region.
The principal tribes are the Quijos or Canelos, who are settled about the headwaters of the Napo, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, and are in great part grouped about the missions; the Jivaros who inhabit the valley of the Pastaza; the Zaparos who occupy the forest region between the Pastaza and Napo; the Piojes of the middle Napo, and eastward to the Putumayo; and the Iquitos and Mazanes of the lower Napo and Tigre, chiefly in territory occupied by Peru. The Jivaros are the best known of these tribes because of their successful resistance to the Spanish invaders. They are still independent of political control, live in permanent settlements, till the soil (producing Indian corn, beans, yucca and plantains), and have developed some rude manufactures. The Zaparos are less homogeneous, some of their hordes living in a state of complete savagery. They are classified with the Guaranis of Brazil, whom they resemble in many particulars. The Piojes live in permanent communities and cultivate the soil. The total number of “aucas” or uncivilized Indians in the republic has been estimated at about 200,000, but this estimate covered a larger area than Ecuador actually occupies and is evidently too high. Their settlements are usually small and very much scattered, and their aggregate number is evidently much under the earlier estimates. An official estimate given to Mr Whymper in 1880, however, places the population of Oriente (the eastern territory) at 80,000, which is probably more nearly correct.
No general census has ever been taken in Ecuador, and estimates are little better than vague conjectures. One of these estimates, that published by P. F. Cevallos for 1889, which has been generally accepted, gave the total population as 1,272,161, and these figures have been used with but slight changes for various later estimates. A later official estimate appeared in 1900 in La République de l’Équateur et sa participation à l’Exposition Universelle de 1900, which gives for the provinces practically the same figures as those of Cevallos, and at the same time assumes the total for the whole republic to be 1,500,000. The white population is estimated at 100,000 to 120,000, which probably includes many of mixed ancestry, and the mixed bloods at 300,000 to 450,000. The tendency is for the mestizo who dwells in Indian communities to revert to the Indian type, and it is probable that the larger estimate is nearer the truth. On the other hand mestizos who live among the whites and form new alliances with them eventually class themselves as whites wherever their social condition has been improved. As a rule, the mestizos of Ecuador are ignorant, indolent and non-progressive. As in Colombia they are the artizans and small traders and the Indians are the farm labourers. The land is held by a few proprietors, and caste sentiment is strong among those who claim unmixed European descent; consequently the mestizos have limited opportunities to improve their condition.
The whites form an exclusive governing caste, as in Chile. The territory of the republic is divided among a very few of them, and its government is in their hands.
In the hot seaboard districts there are a small number of negroes, and a somewhat larger number of their crosses with the other two races. The majority of these are to be found in the northern provinces. There are comparatively few negroes and mulattoes on the colder plateaus. Villavicencio estimated their numbers at 7831 pure negroes and 36,592 mixed bloods, which is probably not far from the correct totals.
The foreign population is small, the total being estimated at about 6000, of which 5000 are natives of the neighbouring Latin republics, 700 Europeans and Americans, and 300 Chinese.
Territorial Divisions and Towns.—The republic is divided into 15 provinces and one territory. The Galapagos Islands were declared a dependency of the province of Guayas in 1885, but are practically independent and constitute a second territory under the administration of jefe territorial appointed by the national executive.
The official estimate (La République de l’Équateur et sa participation à l’Exposition Universelle de 1900) gives the data for the provinces and their capitals, which are shown on the next page.
These population figures are very nearly the same as those given by Cevállos for 1889. If the population of the Oriente be taken as 80,000, the aggretate is very nearly the same. The population of the provincial capitals is in some cases over-estimated, especially for Guayaquil and Quito, neither of which could have had 50,000 at the date of this estimate. The population of Quito in May 1906 was 50,841, of which 1365 were foreigners. As for the areas of the provinces the figures need not be questioned except those for the Oriente territory, which are much too large for the region actually
occupied by Ecuador, and for the Galapagos Islands which are described by competent authorities as 2400 sq. m. The population of these islands was 400 (principally convicts) on Chatham Island in 1901, about 115 on Albemarle and 3 on Charles Island in 1903. Besides the provincial capitals already noted, there are no large and important towns in the country. The largest of the smaller towns is probably Jipijapa, in the province of Manabi, which is the centre of the Panama hat industry and had in 1900 an estimated population of 6000, nearly all Indians.
|Galapagos Is.||2865||2,000||· ·||· ·|
Communications.—The first railway to be completed in Ecuador was the line between Guayaquil and Quito, 290 m. in length, the last section of which was formally opened at Quito on the 25th of June 1908. It belongs to an American company, and had been under construction for many years. Lines from Puerto Bolívar to Machala, province of El Oro, and another from Bahia de Caráquez to Chone, were under construction in 1908. Several lines were also projected, two to penetrate the Ecuadorean montana. There is only one highway in the country on which vehicles can be used, the paved road extending southward from Quito 115 m. on the Guayaquil route, which was begun by Garcia Moreno but has been allowed to fall into neglect. Other roads have been projected to the coast and one to the eastern territory. The ordinary roads are rough mule-tracks. These are difficult at all times, and in the rainy season are quite impassable. On the Pacific lowlands the rivers Guayas, Daule, Vinces and Yaguachi have about 200 m. of navigable channels in the rainy season, and are used for the transportation of produce and merchandise. There are also several short river channels along the coast which are used by planters for the same purpose. A great part of the country, however, is still compelled to use the most primitive means of communication—mule paths, fords in the smaller streams in the dry season, and rude suspension bridges across deep gorges and swift mountain torrents. The latter are usually constructed from the tough fibre of the Agave americana and consist of one or more cables. When of one cable, called the taravita, the passenger and his luggage are drawn across in a rude kind of basket suspended from it; but when two or more cables are used, transverse sticks of bamboo and reeds are laid upon them, forming a rude prototype of the regular suspension bridge. Such a bridge is called a chimba-chaca, and is very hazardous for an unpractised foot. In 1907 there were 2564 m. of telegraph lines in operation, connecting Quito with all the principal towns. The national capital is connected with the submarine cable at Santa Elena (via Guayaquil) and at Tumaco, in Colombia. Guayaquil is provided with tramway and telephone lines. These public services are under the general supervision of the Minister of Public Instruction, Posts and Telegraphs.
Commerce.—Ecuador has no merchant marine beyond a few small vessels engaged in the coastwise traffic, some eighteen or twenty river steamers on the Guayas and its tributaries, and a number of steam launches, towboats and various descriptions of barges engaged in the transportation of produce and goods on the rivers. The ocean-going foreign trade of the country is carried wholly in foreign vessels, for the regular lines of which Guayaquil is a principal port of call. Less frequent calls are made at Esmeraldas and some of the other small ports on the coast, of which there are nine in all. Most of these are difficult of access and their trade is unimportant. The total trade of the republic in 1905, according to returns published by the Guayaquil Chamber of Commerce, amounted to only £3,429,955, of which £1,573,389 (15,733,891 sucrés) were credited to imports, and £1,856,566 (18,565,668 sucrés) to exports. Of these totals, all but £127,532 of the imports and £441,679 of the exports passed through the port of Guayaquil. The great poverty of the people has been a serious obstacle to the development of a larger commerce.
Agriculture.—The agricultural industries on which the export trade depends are almost wholly restricted to the western lowlands, and include cacao, coffee, cotton, sugar, tobacco, rice, yucca and sweet potatoes. The Guayas basin and the district about Machala are celebrated for their cacao, and produce about one-third of the world’s supply. It is the staple product of the country. Coffee is produced on the lower slopes of the Cordilleras and is of excellent quality. The production is small, but would be increased at remunerative prices. During the American civil war the planters of Ecuador entered largely into the production of cotton, which at that time yielded large profits, but the industry has declined to very insignificant proportions since then because of inability to compete with the lower cost of production in the United States. The output of sugar and tobacco is small, but could be largely increased, as the conditions of soil and climate are favourable. Much of the sugar-cane produced is turned into rum, which is consumed in the country. The tobacco grown is of excellent quality. Efforts have been made to promote the cultivation of indigo, but without much success. On the uplands, wheat, Indian corn, oats, barley, potatoes and vegetables of many kinds are successfully cultivated, but wholly for home consumption. The vine is successfully grown in the warm upland valleys, both for its fruit and for the production of wine. The staple foods for the common people are potatoes on the plateau (which are chiefly consumed in the form of locro, or potato-soup) and yucca- or cassava-meal in the warmer regions. Although cattle and horses were not known before the Spanish conquest, they have become since then important products of the country. The best grazing lands are on the lower elevations west of the Cordilleras in certain districts of the plateau and on the slopes of some of the higher Andes, as on Chimborazo and Antisana. Horses and mules are reared for export on a small scale, and sheep for their wool, which is used in home manufactures.
Forest Products.—The forest and other natural products include rubber, cinchona bark, ivory-nuts, mocora and toquilla fibre for the manufacture of hats, hammocks, &c., cabaya fibre for shoes and cordage, vegetable wool (Bombax ceiba), sarsaparilla, vanilla, cochineal, cabinet woods, fruit, resins, &c. The original source of the Peruvian bark of commerce, the Cinchona calisaya, is completely exhausted, and the “red bark” derived from C. succirubra, is now the principal source of supply from Ecuador. Guaranda is the centre of the industry, but bark gatherers are to be found everywhere in the forest regions. The rubber-gathering industry is comparatively new. The product is derived from the Castilloa elastica, the Heveas not being found west of the Andes.
Minerals.—The mineral resources are much inferior to those of Colombia and Peru. Gold is found in the province of El Oro, where the great Zaruma and other companies have opened a number of mines. It is also found in the provinces of Loja, Esmeraldas, and in the river-beds along the eastern slopes of the Andes. Quicksilver has been mined at Azogues, in the province of Cañar, and is also to be found in Azuay. Iron ores and lead are credited to several provinces, and platinum has been found in Esmeraldas, where emerald mines have been worked ever since the Spanish conquest. Coal of good quality has been found in Azuay and at other points, and petroleum is known to exist in several localities. Salt springs near Riobamba and at Salinas, in Imbabura, have long been used by the natives in the manufacture of salt.
Manufactures.—The manufacturing industries are chiefly of a primitive character and have been developed to meet local necessities. There are some cotton factories and sugar mills provided with modern machinery, but the cotton and woollen cloths of the country are commonly coarse and manufactured in the most primitive manner. Some of these goods are sent into southern Colombia, but they are chiefly made for the local market. Hats and hammocks are made from the fibres of the mocora and toquilla palms, and sandals from the fibre of the Agave americana. The hats are an article of export, and are known abroad as Panama hats. Hand-made laces of admirable workmanship are made in some localities, especially on the plateau about Quito. Among other manufactories, all for the home market, may be mentioned: flour-mills, sugar refineries, rum distilleries, breweries, chocolate factories, a candle factory, saw-mills and tanneries.
Government.—Constitutionally, the government of Ecuador is that of a centralized republic, whose powers are defined by a written constitution and whose chief organs are an executive consisting of a president and vice-president, and a national congress consisting of two houses, a senate and a chamber of deputies. Revolutionary changes, however, have been very frequent in Ecuador, and no less than eleven constitutions were adopted between 1830 and 1909.
The constitution adopted in 1906 succeeded that of 1884 (amended in 1887 and 1897), and its terms may be given here, subject to what may be regarded as the extra-constitutional powers vested in the executive. Executive power is vested in a president and vice-president elected for periods of four years by a direct vote of the people. (Under the constitution of 1884 the official terms of these two officers were not wholly synchronous, the vice-president’s term beginning with the president’s third year.) These officials cannot be re-elected to succeed themselves. The president, whose salary is 12,000 sucrés per annum, has a limited veto power, and may convene extraordinary sessions of Congress for a specified purpose, but he has no further authority over that body. He appoints the diplomatic and consular representatives of the republic and the governors of the provinces, exercises a limited control over the administration of
justice and public instruction through the appointment of officials, and is chief of the small military force maintained by the republic. The construction of railways with public funds and under government supervision also places him at the head of a very important public service. The president is assisted by a cabinet of five ministers:—foreign relations and justice; interior and public works; finance; war; public instruction, posts and telegraphs—all of whom may be impeached by congress. The executive authority is also partially exercised by a council of state composed of 15 members, including the five cabinet ministers, of which the vice-president is ex-officio president. The council has important advisory functions, and must be consulted by the president on every important measure or appointment. The provinces are administered by governors chosen by the national executive; the departments by jefes politicos (political chiefs); and the municipalities by tenientes politicos (political lieutenants). The Galapagos Islands are under a jefe territorial (territorial chief), Chatham Island being a penal colony and governed by special laws.
The congressional organization is similar to that of the majority of South American states. The senate is composed of 32 members (2 from each province) elected for two years, one-half the number being renewed each two years. The chamber is composed of 42 deputies, who are elected by the provinces for a period of two years, on a basis of one representative for each 30,000 inhabitants and one supplementary representative for an additional 15,000. A senator must be at least 35 years of age, and a deputy 25. The elections are direct, and members of both houses may be re-elected. The immunities of legislators begin 30 days before the opening session of congress, and terminate 30 days after its dissolution. Congress meets at Quito on the 10th of August, and remains in session for a period of 60 days, but its sessions may be extended or extraordinary sessions called for specified purposes. The right of suffrage is restricted to literate male adults.
The judicial branch of the government is composed of a supreme court, located at Quito, consisting of 5 judges and a fiscal (public prosecutor) appointed by the executive; six superior courts (in Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Riobamba, Loja and Portoviejo) with a total of 9 judges; a Tribunal de Cuentas of seven members at Quito; and various municipal courts, or alcaldes, in the chief towns of the departments. There are civil courts of first and second instance in the larger towns, and consular courts in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca with jurisdiction in commercial cases. There are also police commissaries in the departments and justices of the peace in the municipalities, the latter having jurisdiction in civil cases where the amount involved does not exceed 200 sucrés. The laws of Ecuador are based on the old Spanish laws and procedure, and include civil, criminal and commercial codes.
Army.—The army, according to an official report of 1900, consisted of 4 battalions of infantry (about 3690 strong), 3 brigades of artillery (1362), and 2 regiments of cavalry (468), in all, about 5520 men, rank and file. In 1908 this force was reported to comprise 4350 men. The national guard is composed of three classes: actives—all enrolled citizens of 20 to 38 years; auxiliaries—enrolled citizens of 38 to 44 years; and passives—enrolled citizens of 44 to 50 years. These were estimated at 95,329 men. There is a military school at Quito and a naval school at Guayaquil.
Education.—Although primary instruction is free, and is obligatory for children of 6 to 12 years, a considerable part Of the population is unprovided with schools and is indifferent in regard to them. An official report for 1900 gives the number of primary schools as 1297, and the number of pupils in attendance as about 80,000. The secondary schools numbered 37, with 371 teachers and about 4500 pupils. Higher instruction includes the technical and professional schools with the three universities of Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca, and 6 schools of “trades and professions” (artes y oficios) in as many provinces. The old University of Quito has a staff of 32 professors divided into 5 faculties: Philosophy and Belles-Lettres, Law, Medicine, Physical and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. There are also in Quito a school of agriculture, astronomical observatory, botanical garden, museum and national printing office, all apparently under the supervision of the University.
Church.—According to the constitution of 1884, “the religion of the Republic is the Roman Catholic Apostolic, and all others are excluded.” The only opposition which the Church has ever had to encounter has been from the “liberal” element within itself, and thus has arisen, seemingly from political motives, a desire to restrict clerical influence in political affairs. This influence has been exercised to an extreme in Ecuador, so much so, in fact, that its government at times was more nearly a theocracy than a republic. The growth of liberalism finally began to produce results. In 1889 the tithes from which the Church revenues had been derived were abolished, and a tax of 3 per mil. on real estate was substituted. In 1902 a signal victory was won in a law permitting civil marriage, but in 1904 a social revolution was effected by legislation, which placed the Church under State control, forbade the foundation of new religious orders and admission into the country of new religious communities, and provided that the members of the episcopate must be citizens of Ecuador. The higher dignitaries of the Church are an archbishop at Quito, and six suffragan bishops at Cuenca, Loja, Ibarra, Riobamba, Guayaquil and Manabi.
Finance.—The revenues of the republic are derived from import and export duties, liquor, tobacco and stamp taxes, inheritance tax, salt, gunpowder and playing cards monopolies, consular charges, and sundry miscellaneous receipts, including those from posts, telegraphs and railways. Up to 1907 the customs duties were increased by surtaxes amounting at that time to 100%. The minister of finance proposed to abolish these surtaxes and double all the rates of duties involved. On exports, however, all the duties were to be abolished except those on cacao, coffee, hides, rubber, tagua (ivory nuts), hat fibre, hammock fibre and tobacco. For 1907 the revenues were £1,424,770 and the expenditures £1,383,122.
On the 10th of October 1906, when the report of the provisional government created by the revolution of the preceding January presented its financial report to a national assembly, the total obligations of the country were stated to be:—
|Railway bonds, 12,282,000 sucrés gold at 107% premium||25,423,740|
|Banco del Ecuador, advances||3,000,000|
|Banco Comercial y Agrocola, idem||2,400,000|
|French Finance Corporation||887,000|
|In £ sterling at 10 sucrés per £||3,320,731|
The foreign debt of the republic, which in 1898 stood at £693,160 in bonds, was assumed by the Guayaquil & Quito Railway Co. under contracts of 1897, 1898, 1899 and 1900, the government guaranteeing interest on the sum of £2,520,000 railway mortgage bonds for 33 years and recognizing the external debt at 35% of its face value. This debt originated in 1830, when Ecuador seceded from the Colombian confederacy and was charged with 21½% of the indebtedness of the three states. In 1855 the amount was fixed at £1,824,000, and in 1892 it was converted into a new consolidated debt of £750,000. Payments of interest and amortization had been very irregular, and its transfer to a foreign company as the price of a railway concession put an end to a transaction which had been a serious discredit to the country. The amount outstanding on the 31st of December 1907 was 10,808,000 sucrés (£1,080,800). It should be said that the difficulties in regard to this debt arose from a feeling in Ecuador that the part assigned to it in 1830 was much too large, and that it was contracted almost wholly for the benefit of the two northern republics, Colombia and Venezuela.
Money and Measures.—Under the law of 1898, which came into effect on the 4th of June 1900, gold is made the monetary standard in Ecuador, the legal tender of silver being limited to 10 sucrés, and banks of issue being required to hold at least one-half their metallic reserves in gold coin. Previously there had been much confusion in the circulating medium because of the depreciated value of the Quito currency in comparison with that of Guayaquil, but the new law has corrected the anomaly and has given a simple and uniform medium for the whole country. The coinage under the law of 1898 consists of the gold condor, of 10 sucrés, which weighs 8.136 grams, contains 7.3224 grams of fine gold, and is equal to the English pound sterling in value; the silver sucré, of 100 centavos, equivalent to 24d. in value; and smaller coins of silver, nickel and copper, the denominations being decimal parts of the sucré. The sucré received its name from the portrait of General Sucré engraved on the coin, and is legal tender up to 10 sucrés. The paper money circulation consists of the issues of two Guayaquil banks—the Banco del Ecuador, and the Banco Comercial y Agricola, whose united issues on June 30th, 1906, amounted to 7,414,140 sucrés (£741,414). The Bank of Quito at one time issued notes which, according to Whymper, were not current at and south of Riobamba, but it does not appear that this bank is authorized to issue its notes under the new law. The metallic money nominally in circulation on the 30th of June 1906, amounted to 2,587,667 sucrés gold and 2,522,802 sucrés silver. Although the metric system was adopted in 1856, the old Spanish weights and measures—the quintal, libra, vara and fanega—are still in use, the quintal being equivalent to about 101 ℔
Antiquities.—Throughout Ecuador there are still considerable remains of the architectural and artistic skill of the ante-European period. At Cañar, to the north-east of Cuenca, stands the Incapirca, a circular rampart of finely hewn stone, enclosing an open area with a roofless but well-preserved building in the centre; not far off is the Inca-chungana, a very much smaller enclosure, probably the remains of a pavilion; and in the same neighbourhood the image of the sun and a small cabinet are carved on the face of a rock called Intihuaicu. On one of the hills running from Pichincha to the Esmeraldas there are remains at Paltatamba of a temple and a conical tower, the buttresses of a bridge composed of stone and bitumen, portions of a great causeway, and numerous tombs from which mummies and plates of silver have been obtained. At Hantuntaqui similar sepulchral mounds, called tolas, may be seen, as well as traces of military structures. On the plain of Callo, near Cotopaxi, at a height of 8658 ft., the ruins of an Incarial palace, Pachusala, are utilized by the hacienda; and a conical hill at its side is supposed to
be of artificial construction. The remains of another fortress and palace are preserved at Pomallacta, and in the neighbouring pueblo of Achupallas an ancient temple of the sun now serves as parish church. In many localities, especially in Imbabura, pottery and various objects are found belonging to the pre-Colombian period, among which five and six rayed stars (casse-têtes) are very numerous. (A. J. L.)
History.—The territory of the republic of Ecuador, when first it becomes dimly visible in the grey dawn of American history, appears to be inhabited by upwards of fifty independent tribes, among which the Quitus seem to hold the most important position. About A.D. 280 a foreign tribe is said to have forced their way inland up the valley of the Esmeraldas; and the kingdom which they founded at Quito lasted for about 1200 years, and was gradually extended, both by war and alliance, over many of the neighbouring dominions. In 1460, during the reign of the fourteenth Caran Shyri, or king of the Cara nation, Hualcopo Duchisela, the conquest of Quito was undertaken by Tupac Yupanqui, the Inca of Peru; and his ambitious schemes were, not long after his death, successfully carried out by his son Huayna-Capac, who inflicted a decisive defeat on the Quitonians in the battle of Hatuntaqui, and secured his position by marrying Pacha, the daughter of the late Shyri. By his will the conqueror left the kingdom of Quito to Atahuallpa, his son by this alliance; while the Peruvian throne was assigned to Huascar, an elder son by his Peruvian consort. War soon broke out between the two kingdoms, owing to Huascar’s pretensions to supremacy over his brother; but it ended in the defeat and imprisonment of the usurper, and the establishment of Atahuallpa as master both of Quito and Cuzco. The fortunate monarch, however, had not long to enjoy his success; for Pizarro and his Spaniards were already at the door, and by 1533 the fate of the country was sealed. As soon as the confusions and rivalries of the first occupation were suppressed, the recent kingdom of Quito was made a presidency of the Spanish viceroyalty of Peru, and no change of importance took place till 1710. In that year it was attached to the viceroyalty of Santa Fé; but it was restored to Peru in 1722. When, towards the close of the century, the desire for independence began to manifest itself throughout the Spanish colonies of South America, Quito did not remain altogether indifferent. The Quitonian doctor Eugenio Espejo, and his fellow-citizen Don Juan Pio Montufar, entered into hearty co-operation with Nariño and Zea, the leaders of the revolutionary movement at Santa Fé; and it was at Espejo’s suggestion that the political association called the Escuela de Concordia was instituted at Quito. It was not till 1809, however, that the Quitonians made a real attempt to throw off the Spanish yoke; and both on that occasion and in 1812 the royal general succeeded in crushing the insurrection. In 1820 the people of Guayaquil took up the cry of liberty; and in spite of several defeats they continued the contest, till at length, under Antonio José de Sucré, who had been sent to their assistance by Bolivar, and reinforced by a Peruvian contingent under Andres de Santa Cruz, they gained a complete victory on May 22, 1822, in a battle fought on the side of Mount Pichincha, at a height of 10,200 ft. above the sea. Two days after, the Spanish president of Quito, Don Melchor de Aymeric, capitulated, and the independence of the country was secured. A political union was at once effected with New Granada and Venezuela on the basis of the republican constitution instituted at Cucuta in July 1821—the triple confederation taking the name of Colombia.
A disagreement with Peru in 1828 resulted in the invasion of Ecuador and the temporary occupation of Cuenca and Guayaquil by Peruvian forces; but peace was restored in the following year after the Ecuadorian victory at Tarqui. In the early part of 1830 a separation was effected from the Colombian federation, and the country was proclaimed an independent republic. General Juan José Flores was the first president, and in spite of many difficulties, both domestic and foreign, he managed to maintain a powerful position in the state for about 15 years. Succeeded in 1835 by Vicente Rocafuerte, he regained the presidency in 1839, and was elected for the third time in 1843; but shortly afterwards he accepted the title of generalissimo and a sum of 20,000 pesos, and left the country to his rivals. One of the most important measures of his second presidency was the establishment of peace and friendship with Spain. Roca, who next attained to power, effected a temporary settlement with Colombia, concluded a convention with England against the slave trade, and made a commercial treaty with Belgium. Diego Noboa, elected in 1850 after a period of great confusion, recalled the Jesuits, produced a rupture with New Granada by receiving conservative refugees, and thus brought about his own deposition and exile. The democratic Urbina now became practically dictator, and as the attempt of Flores to reinstate Noboa proved a total failure, he was quickly succeeded in 1856 by General Francisco Robles, who, among other progressive measures, secured the adoption of the French system of coinage, weights and measures. He abdicated in 1859 and left the country, after refusing to ratify the treaty with Peru, by which the defender of Guayaquil had obtained the raising of the siege. Dr Gabriel Garcia Moreno, professor of chemistry, the recognized leader of the conservative party at Quito, was ultimately elected by the national convention of 1861. Distrust in his policy, however, was excited by the publication of some of his private correspondence, in which he spoke favourably of a French protectorate, and the army which he sent under Flores to resist the encroachments of Mosquera, the president of New Granada, was completely routed. His first resignation in 1864 was refused; but the despotic acts by which he sought to establish a dictatorship only embittered his opponents, and in September 1865 he retired from office. While he had endeavoured to develop the material resources of the country, he had at the same time introduced retrograde measures in regard to religion and education. The principal event in the short presidency of his successor, Gerónimo Carrion (May 1865-Nov. 1867), was the alliance with Chile and Peru against Spain, and the banishment of all Spanish subjects. Several important changes were made by congress in the period between his resignation and the election of Xavier Espinosa, January 1868: the power of the president to imprison persons regarded as dangerous to public order was annulled; and the immediate naturalization of Bolivians, Chilians, Peruvians and Colombians was authorized. Espinosa had hardly entered on his office when, in August 1868, the country was visited by an earthquake, in which 30,000 people are said to have perished throughout South America. The public buildings of Quito were laid in ruins; and Ibarra, Otavalo, Cotacachi and several other towns were completely destroyed. Next year a revolution at Quito, under Moreno, brought Espinosa’s presidency to a close; and though the national convention appointed Carvajal to the vacant office, Moreno succeeded in securing his own election in 1870 for a term of six years. His policy had undergone no alteration since 1865: the same persistent endeavour was made to establish a religious despotism, in which the supremacy of the president should be subordinate only to the higher supremacy of the clergy.
President Moreno was eventually assassinated at Quito, in August 1875, and Dr Borrero was elected to the presidency, but his tenure of power was short. A revolution headed by General Veintemilla, the Radical leader, then military commandant at Guayaquil, broke out in 1876, and on the 14th of December of that year the government forces under General Aparicio were completely routed at Galte. Veintemilla was proclaimed president, and in 1877 was duly elected by the cortes. He altered the constitution in a more Liberal direction, and struck various blows at the Clerical party, among other things abolishing the concordat with Rome. In 1878 Veintemilla caused himself to be declared elected as president for a term of four years. At the expiration of this period the president assumed dictatorial powers and remained in office as chief of the executive. This action on the part of General Veintemilla led to a union between the Clericals and Moderate Liberals, and resulted in a popular rising throughout the republic, ending in his defeat and overthrow. His power was first restricted to Guayaquil and Esmeraldas, and finally General Rinaldo Flores drove him from Guayaquil, and Veintemilla fled (July 1883) to Peru. Dr Placido Caamaño was then called upon to take charge temporarily, and on the 17th of
February 1884 was definitely elected for the presidential period terminating in 1888. Several revolutionary outbreaks occurred during the Caamaño administration, but were successfully suppressed. In 1888 Dr Antonio Flores succeeded Caamaño, the four years following being passed in peaceful conditions. In 1892 Dr Luis Cordero was elected, his administration again plunging the country into an epoch of internal disturbance.
The cause of the troubles under President Cordero was the assistance lent by Ecuador to Chile in the matter of the sale of the cruiser Esmeralda to the Japanese government in 1894, in the middle of the Japanese-Chinese War. The government of Chile arranged the sale of the Esmeralda, but wished to be free from all danger of international complications in the affair. To this end the transfer of the vessel was made to Ecuador, and she proceeded to Ecuadorian waters. On arriving at the Galapagos Islands the flag of Ecuador was replaced by that of Japan and the vessel handed over to the representatives of that nation sent for the purpose. When the part played by President Cordero in this transaction became known, an outburst of popular indignation occurred. An insurrection, headed by General Eloy Alfaro, followed; and after desultory skirmishing extending over a period of nearly a year the government forces were finally routed, President Cordero abandoning his office and escaping from the country.
General Alfaro then assumed dictatorial powers as supreme chief of the nation, continuing in this capacity until the 6th of February 1897, on which date he was declared to be elected president of the republic. A series of revolutionary movements against the administration of President Alfaro occurred in the course of the next few years. Many of these risings were due to the intrigues of the Church party, and in view of these circumstances President Alfaro curtailed the influence of the clergy in several directions. On the 31st of August 1901 General Alfaro peacefully handed over the presidency to his elected successor, General Leonidas Plaza.
General Plaza continued the anticlerical policy of his predecessor. Civil marriage and divorce were introduced, and in 1904 all religions were placed on a position of equality in the eye of the law, and the foundation of new monasteries and convents was forbidden. The final year of Plaza’s tenure of office was marked by a still stronger measure, all the property of the church being declared to be national property, and let to the highest bidders. In 1905 the Opposition made an effort to effect a change of policy, and were successful in obtaining the election of Lizaro Garcia, a well-to-do merchant and a director of the Banco commercial y Agricola. General Alfaro, however, appealed to arms, ejected Garcia from office, and made himself ruler with practically dictatorial powers.
The more recent history of Ecuador would not be complete without a reference to the work of Mr Archer Harman (b. 1860), an American railway builder and financier whose connexion with the construction of the Guayaquil and Quito railway began in 1897. To his personal energy and enterprise, as manager of the railway company, was largely due the continued prosecution of this difficult engineering undertaking, in connexion with which he was responsible for a thorough reconstruction of Ecuador finance. He thus came to exercise a powerful influence on the internal progress of the country.
See C. E. Akers, History of South America, 1854-1904 (London, 1904); H. W. Bates, Central and South America (London, 1882); Pedro F. Cevallos, Resumen de la historia del Ecuador (Guayaquil, 1886); Hans Meyer, In den Hoch-Anden von Ecuador (Berlin 1907); A. H. Keane, Stanford’s Compendium, vol. i. (1904); W. Reiss and A. Stübel, Das Hochgebirge der Republik Ecuador (Berlin, 1892-1898); Edward Whymper, Travels amongst the Great Andes of the Equator (London, 1892); T. Wolf, Geografia y geologia del Ecuador (Leipzig, 1892); A. Stübel, Skizzen aus Ecuador (Berlin, 1886); Die Vulkanberge von Ecuador (Berlin, 1897); Handbook of Ecuador (Bureau of the American Republics, Washington, 1892); The World’s Work, vol. ii. pp. 1271-1277; Engineering News (New York), vol. 52, pp. 117-119; Bulletin of Internat. Bureau of American Republics for July 1900, p. 26, and for August 1908, pp. 280-282; Thirty-fifth Annual Report of the Council of Foreign Bondholders, pp. 115, 117.
- See J. Siemiradzki, “Geologische Reisenotizen aus Ecuador,” Neues Jahrb. f. Min., Beil. Band iv. (1886, pp. 195-227, pl. vii.); Th. Wolf, Geografia y geologia del Ecuador, publicada por orden del Supremo Gobierno de la Republica (Leipzig, 1892); W. Reiss and A. Stübel, Reisen in Sud-America. Das Hochgebirge der Republik Ecuador (Berlin, 1892-1902).