Past Cities

Ambato, Tungurahua, Ecuador

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Ambato is a city located in the central Andean region of Ecuador, in the province of Tungurahua. The city is situated at an altitude of 2,577 meters above sea level and has a population of approximately 300,000 inhabitants. The history of Ambato dates back to pre-Columbian times when it was inhabited by the Puruhaes people. Later on, during the Inca Empire, it became an important administrative center.

The Spanish arrived in Ambato in the 16th century, and in 1534, the city was officially founded by the conquistador Juan de Salinas. During the colonial period, Ambato grew in importance as a commercial and agricultural center, and by the 18th century, it had become one of the most prosperous cities in the region. The city's main economic activities were agriculture, textile production, and commerce.

In 1797, a catastrophic earthquake destroyed most of the city, killing thousands of people and leaving many more homeless. The earthquake had a profound impact on the city and its inhabitants, and it took many years for Ambato to recover from the disaster.

Throughout the 19th century, Ambato continued to grow and develop, and by the early 20th century, it had become an important industrial center, with the production of textiles, paper, and ceramics. During this period, the city also became a center of cultural and intellectual activity, with the establishment of the first public library, the first theater, and the first newspaper.

In the early 20th century, Ambato played an important role in the struggle for Ecuadorian independence and democracy. In 1912, the city was the site of the Battle of Tapi, which was a key event in the overthrow of the conservative government and the establishment of a more democratic regime.

During the mid-20th century, Ambato experienced a period of rapid economic growth, driven by the expansion of the textile industry and the development of new industries such as food processing and plastics. However, this period was also marked by political instability, with the city and the country as a whole experiencing a series of military coups and political crises.

In 1949, a major eruption of the Tungurahua volcano, located near Ambato, caused significant damage to the city and forced many residents to flee. The eruption also had a major impact on the local economy, as many farms and businesses were destroyed.

In recent years, Ambato has continued to grow and develop, with a focus on promoting tourism, agriculture, and industry. The city is known for its annual carnival celebration, which attracts visitors from all over Ecuador and beyond.

The history of Ambato is one of resilience and adaptation, as the city and its inhabitants have overcome numerous challenges over the centuries. From its pre-Columbian roots to its colonial and modern history, Ambato has played an important role in the development of Ecuadorian culture and society. Its geography, with the nearby Tungurahua volcano, has also had a significant impact on the city and its people, shaping its history and development. Today, Ambato is a vibrant and dynamic city, with a rich cultural heritage and a bright future.