Ecuador is a predominantly Spanish-speaking country located in South America, neighbored by Colombia and Peru. Prior to becoming a Spanish colony, the Incan empire conquered large swaths of land that would eventually belong to the country. When Francisco Pizzaro captured the Incan Atahualpa and seized Peru, Pizzaro heard about the Kingdom of Quito. In May 1534, Spanish forces used their superior firepower to defeat the Incan stronghold. In 1548, the Spanish king Carlos V wrested power away from conquistador control and placed Ecuador firmly under the Spanish throne.

For over two centuries, Ecuador remained a Spanish possession and later struggled to find its identity as an independent nation. In the early 1800s, Simón Bolívar—a Venezuelan general who had spearheaded a movement to liberate South America from ...

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