There are very few facts available regarding the history of Ecuador during the Pre-Inca era. The earliest evidence of human habitation in Ecuador goes back to 10,000 B.C. Prior to the Inca invasion in the 15th century many advanced and diverse indigenous cultures like Chorrera, Bahia, Tolita, Jama Coaque, Machalilla and Valdiva flourished between 12,000B.C to 1,500 A.D. The history of Ecuador is marked by the two major invasions, namely the Incas and the Spanish.
The Inca Invasion
The Incas were a dynamic, fast advancing society who dominated Peru in since the 11th century and by the mid 15th century they expanded into Ecuador. In spite of fierce resistance the Incas shortly got hold of the region aided by strong leadership and policies of intermarriage. In the early 1500s, Huayna Capac, the Inca leader had consolidated his occupation of the territory which incorporated Ecuador. Following the conquest of Ecuador, Huayna Capac indoctrinated Quechua, the language of the Incas to the tribes, and it is still widely spoken in the country. A civil war over the inheritance of the new Inca Kingdom broke out which further weakened and divided the region just before the Spanish invasion.
With the arrival of the Spanish invaders headed by Francisco Pizarro in 1532, the Inca Empire was completely demolished and its leader Atuhualpa was trapped held hostage and executed. The only intact Inca site in Ecuador today is Ingapirca, located to the north of Cuenca.
Subsequent to the defeat of the Inca Empire in 1534, the Spanish colonizers establish themselves as the new ruling elite of Ecuador. During the colonial era the arts flourished in Ecuador. Pizarro founded his capital at Lima from where the colony was ruled until 1739 and in the same year the base was shifted to the viceroyalty of Colombia. Ecuador was under Spanish rule for almost three hundred years during which they introduced Roman Catholicism, colonial architecture, and the present national language.
With the gradual emergence of a Creole middle class, there were several endeavors to liberate Ecuador from Spanish rule. Independence was finally attained on 24 May, 1822, when Simon Bolivar the famous South American liberator defeated a Spanish army at the Battle of Pichincha.
The initial years of the Republic were characterized by instability, internal disputes and power struggles. The first President of independent Ecuador was General Juan Jose Flores and during his administration the first constitution of the nation was written. Quito was made the Capital of Ecuador while Roman Catholicism was made the official state religion.