Ecuador: History in Brief

Before you attend Spanish classes in Ecuador, you will want to learn something about the country's history. Having some prior knowledge will enable you to get more out of your visits to various museums and cultural landmarks. It would be impossible to do Ecuador's 9000-year history justice here, but a brief summary of the major historical periods in Ecuador will serve to prepare you to learn Spanish in Ecuador. The five historical periods are: the Pre-Columbian period, the Conquest, the Colonial Period, the War of Independence and the Republican Era.

In Pre-Columbian Ecuador, the Incas invaded the indigenous people who traditionally lived in clans. This conquest began in 1463 under the leadership of Pachacuti Inca Ypanqui. His son Tupa commanded the army and led the takeover. They quickly colonized the region. Of course, many native tribes fought hard to resist the Incas, in particular, the Canari. This Inca Empire was called Tawantinsuyu. The Emperor really liked Quito and made it one of the capitols of Tawantinsuyu.

The Conquest was the next period in Ecuador's history. This period began when the Spanish landed in 1851 and fought the Incans for control. In addition to the fighting, disease also played a role in destroying the Incan empire. Although there were far more Incans than Europeans, the Spanish had better weapons and tactics. Due to their technological advantage, the Spanish quickly captured the Incan Emperor.

Of course, the next main period in the history of Ecuador was the Spanish Colonial Era. The country was one of Spain's colonies between 1544-1563. Spanish occupied the land in "encomienda," a system in which the natives were divided up among the various colonial estates. The Spanish instructed the natives in Spanish and Catholicism. In return, they asked for labor as well as gold. Encomienda was considered to be quite unfair and many viewed it as enslaving the native people of Ecuador. Throughout the 18th century, there was an economic depression in the country. Even the elites became very poor by 1790.

The next historical era was the War of Independence, when those in Spanish-controlled America revolted against colonial rule. Citizens began organizing juntas. In 1811, the Juntas demanded a congress and declared that the area should be free of all governments based in Spain. However, the Viceroyal of Peru stopped this rebellion in 1812. Later in 1820, another junta declared independence. Stronger military forces were organized to support this movement. The natives met with a series of victories in battle. Even after the country was liberated from Spanish rule, they ended up in the middle of a fight between Peru and Gran Colombia over border issues.

The Republic of Ecuador started off with 15 turbulent years that included a great deal of fighting. One of the country's significant leaders from this time period, Gabriel Garcia Moreno, was considered to be Ecuador's best nation builder. He saved the country from falling apart in 1859 and then ruled it with an "iron fist." In the period leading up to 1890, the exports from the country grow tremendously. Since that time, there have continued to be a variety of political upheavals and changes to and from democratic rule.

If you decide to learn Spanish in Ecuador, you will have the opportunity to gain a better understanding for the country's complex history. If you read the newspapers and listen to the radio, you can even gain tremendous insight into the political climate today. It is interesting to note that currently a social democrat is president of the country. When you attend Spanish classes in Ecuador it also makes sense to spend time visiting museums and various historical landmarks.

Latin Immersion offers Spanish lessons in Ecuador year-round, which include cultural exposure through activities and family homestays. To learn Spanish in Ecuador visit =>

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