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History Of Quito 1869-present

In 1869, President Gabriel Garc√≠a Moreno altered the constitution to make Catholicism the official state religion of Ecuador and required all voters and political candidates to be Catholic. The liberal opposition despised him for this, especially the self-exiled writer Juan Montalvo. Shortly after he began his third term, Moreno was attacked on the steps of the Palacio de Gobierno and hacked to death by a machete-wielding assassin in 1875. When Montalvo heard of Moreno's death, he proclaimed, ‚ÄúMy pen has killed him!‚ÄĚ

The conservatives continued their reign in the country, especially under the dictator General Ignacio de Veintimilla. Conservative rule ended in 1897 with the election of Eloy Alfaro. He was a revolutionary and fought against García Moreno's government during his youth. During his two terms as president, from 1897 to 1901 and 1906 to 1911, Alfaro separated church and state, severed ties with the Vatican, instituted divorce, and kicked out foreign clergy. He also helped complete the Quito-Guayaquil railway. In between terms, Alfaro's adversary General Leónidas Plaza became president. Plaza caused civil unrest amongst conservative Catholics and liberals and Alfaro's second term saw nearly half of the budget go towards the military for security reasons and fear of an uprising. Civil war broke out after Alfaro's successor Emilio Estrada died shortly after his inauguration in 1911. Plaza's forces defeated Alfaro. Alfaro and his supporters were then killed and dragged through the streets of Quito and burned in the Parque Ejido.

Leonidas Plaza's son, Galo Plaza Lasso, became president in 1948. He had strong ties to both Liberal and Conservative parties, and strongly advocated democracy and freedom of speech, which caused him to become the first Ecuadorian president to serve a full term since 1924. The banana boom in the 1940s helped fund Quito's undertaking of new schools, an airport, hospitals and universities. Then the 1970s saw the oil boom transform Quito into the second most important financial center in the country.

On March 5, 1987 an earthquake hit the city and several buildings were destroyed. By 1991, the population of the city hit 1 million. 2005 saw the renovation of La Mariscal, which formerly was a red zone, and new bars, cafes and restaurants started filling the area.










By Thomas Griffin

I recently graduated from the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. I studied in Sevilla, Spain in...

27 Apr 2010






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