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Quito

miles, earthquakes and capital

QUITO, keta, capital of the republic of Ecuador, situated only a few miles south of the equator, but at a height of more than 9,000 feet above sea-level. Climatic results of proximity to the equatorial line are modified and nearly equalized throughout the year by those of alti tude; the temperature is, therefore, spring-like. It is, however, an inaccessible inland place; un til 1903 (see EcuAnoa) neither railway nor high way connected it with the seacoast. A part, at least, of the journey to Guayaquil, 165 miles away, was usually made on mule-back, along a mere bridlepath which crossed the breast of Mount Chimborazo at a height of 14,000 feet; and the rare action of the atmosphere at that altitude can seldom be supported without dis comfort. For the transportation of freight from the port to the interior two or three weeks have hitherto been required. Owing to its re moteness and the lack of highways, the city is visited by few strangers, and has no good hotels, no carriages or wagons. Yet the streets are lighted by electricity, and the list of public institutions devoted to education, the Roman Catholic Church and the government is quite impressive, including an astronomical observa tory, botanical garden, school of agriculture, and other adjuncts of a university,* with faculties of belles-lettres, science, law and medicine. The architecture in general is that

of a country subject to earthquakes low and substantial. Features deserving special mention are the beautiful park called the Alameda, and the Sucre Theatre. The estimate of population (probably much too liberal) in semi-official publications is 70,000. It was originally the central town of an ancient Indian nation. In 1470 it was captured by the Incas, who in turn surrendered it to the Spaniards in 1534. Dur ing the Spanish rule, it was the capital of the presidency of Quito. Frequent earthquakes have demolished the town, the last having oc curred in 1887. See also E.cuAroe, History.