Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo


The city of Quito, formerly known as San Francisco de Quito, capital of the Republic of Ecuador, is situated 14' south of the Equator, and 114 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. It stands at an elevation of about 9300 feet, and has a population of some 70,000, mostly mestizos. It was the capital of the Incas Huaynacapac and Atahualpa, and was burnt by Rumiñahui in 1533. Sebastián de Belalcázar captured Quito the following year. In 1541 it was made a city by Charles V ; in 1565 it became the headquarters of a separate Franciscan province. Quito formed part of Peru till 1718, when it was included in Nueva Granada. The seminary in charge of the Jesuits was the centre of ecclesiastical studies for all middle and northern South America. The Dominicans and Augustinians had high schools in Quito. In 1735 the city was ruined by an earthquake. Independence was declared there on 19 August, 1809; and the following year witnessed a terrible massacre of the nobility, even women and children being put to the sword. President Montes defeated the patriots two years later in the Panecillo; Sucre gained his great victory hard by in 1822. In 1829 Quito became the capital of Ecuador.

The city is built on very uneven ground, and the streets run in parallel lines. The most important square is the Plaza Mayor, on the southern side of which is the cathedral, on the eastern the city ball, and on the western the government house. The square was turned into a beautiful garden by President Garcia Moreno , who was assassinated here 6 Aug., 1875. Quito is remarkable for its many beautiful churches, especially the old seventeenth-century Jesuit Church of Santa Ana, San Francisco, La Merced, and El Sagrario. The present university, which was founded by Sixtus V and Philip II in 1586, but opened only in 1621 by the Jesuits, still occupies a portion of the old Jesuit college and has an excellent library, formed in part from that of the San Luis seminary. There are 32 professors and 216 students. The observatory was erected under the direction of the celebrated astronomer Father Menten. García Moreno invited the German Jesuits to lecture in the university ; they have since been expelled by the Masonic parties. The College of St. Ferdinand contains a tablet with a Latin inscription commemorative of the French and Spanish mathematicians who measured the degree of the meridian here in 1736-41. The chief manufactures of the city are woollens, laces, rugs, carpets, and tobacco. There is also a large export trade in religious oil-paintings.

The Diocese of Quito was erected by Paul III on 8 Jan., 1545, at the request of Charles V, and made suffragan of Lima. The first bishop was Mgr. Garcidia, who died in 1563. In 1853 the Holy See proceeded to the beatification of Maria Ana de Jesù de Paredes y Flores , the "Lily of Quito" (b. 31 Oct., 1618; d. 26 May, 1645). By the Bull "Nos semper Romanis Pontificibus" of 13 Jan., 1848, Pius IX made Quito a metropolitan see, with the Dioceses of Cuenca and Guayaquil as suffragans, to which have since been added the Sees of Ibarra, Riobambo, Loja, and Portoviejo. The first archbishop, Mgr Francisco Xavier de Garaycos, previously Bishop of Guayaquil, was appointed 5 Sept., 1851. The present archbishop, Mgr Gonsález y Francisco Suárez , was born at Quito 2 Jan., 1845; consecrated Bishop of Ibarra, 30 July, 1895; transferred to Quito, 14 Dec., 1905, and entered into possession on 6 July, 1906, succeeding Mgr Pedro Rafael Gonsález (b. at Quito, 14 Oct., 1839; Bishop of Ibarra, 29 Sept., 1876; coadjutor titular Archbishop of Synnade, 15 June, 1893, succeeding to the archbishopric in Aug., 1893). The Archdiocese of Quito includes the provinces of Pichincha, Leén, and Tunguragua, and contains 81 parishes, 195 priests, and 420,560 Catholics. The seminary is in care of the Lazarists.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Blessing of an Automobile HD Video
  • Why don't people like Hillary Clinton? Yale researchers have an answer!
  • Daily Readings for Thursday, July 28, 2016
  • Shoulder Wound of Christ HD Video
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: God, Thank you for keeping me together
  • 'I especially loved watching the baby walking himself out of the ...
  • St. Innocent I: Saint of the Day for Thursday, July 28, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be a man of strife and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence save me.3 ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 27th, 2016 Image

St. Pantaleon
July 27: St Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black ... Read More