History Of Guayaquil: Most Important Characteristics

The history of Guayaquil dates back to before the arrival of the Spanish, which is why both its political structure and its territorial division have undergone various changes.

According to historians and archaeological remains, the first human settlements in Guayaquil date back to 4200 BC. C.

From that year until the arrival of the Spanish in 1531, the following cultures developed in Guayaquil: Valdivia, Machalilla and Chorrera (between 4200 BC and 500 BC).

During the 15th century the Inca Empire conquered this territory, maintaining its dominion until the arrival of the Spanish. The Conquest of the Spanish was totally brutal.

Prehispanic stage

In Guayaquil several indigenous cultures developed that were dedicated to fishing and the development of handicrafts. They were mostly semi-nomadic peoples.

In the 15th century the Incas decided to expand their domain, which is why they began the conquest of the territory that today is known as Ecuador.

The conquest of the Incas began in the middle of the 15th century and ended at the end of the same century. The conquest was bloody, since the peoples who resided in that territory strongly opposed it. The Incas maintained their power until the arrival of the Spanish in 1531.

Colonial stage

The Spanish made their expeditions through the territory of Guayaquil in 1531, when Francisco Pizarro decided to extend Spanish rule to that region.

The objective was to definitively defeat the Inca Empire. The process of conquest lasted several years, since the natives objected causing the Spanish to have to change their settlements on several occasions. The conquest began in 1534 and ended in 1547.

Guayaquil Foundation

The foundation of Guayaquil, as it is known today, went through a long process.

First, Diego Almagro founded on August 15, 1534 the city of Santiago de Quito, in the territory known as Liribamba.

However, the city did not stay long in that place, as it did not meet all the conditions established by the Spanish Crown. For this reason it was transferred to the coast of Ecuador. In 1535 it was named Santiago de Amay.

The following year the city had to move due to the continuous attacks of the Chonos. This happened repeatedly, and each time its name was changed. Guayaquil was also called Santiago de la Culata and Santiago de la Nueva Castilla.

Finally, in 1543 the city was located near the Guayaquile indigenous town and since then it was called Santiago de Guayaquil. The final location was near the Guayas River.


Guayaquil became independent from the Spanish Crown on October 9, 1820. The Independence of Guayaquil served to mark the beginning of what would become the War of Independence of Ecuador, a country known at that time as the Royal Audience of Quito.

Guayaquil after Independence

The city of Santiago de Guayaquil is one of the largest in America. Due to its location, it represents a strategic point for commerce.


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