A country of northwest South America on the Pacific Ocean. Once part of the Incan Empire, it was conquered by the Spanish in 1534 and later became subject to Peru and New Granada.
The area achieved independence from Spain in 1822 but formed a part of Greater Colombia until 1830, when it became a separate country. Quito is the capital and Guayaquil the largest city.
Etymology: from the Spanish form of equator (which runs through it).
Before 1830 the region bore the name of its chief city, Quito, which is from the name of a now-extinct native people, of unknown meaning.