Guayaquil is located on the western bank of the Guayas River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Guayaquil.
Guayaquil is recognized by the government as having been founded on July 25, 1538 with the name Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de Guayaquil (Most Noble and Most Loyal City of St. James of Guayaquil) by Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Orellana. Even before it was founded by the Spanish, it already existed as a native village.
In 1687, Guayaquil was attacked and looted by English and French pirates under the command of George d'Hout (English) and Picard and Groniet (Frenchmen). Of the more than 260 pirates, 35 died and 46 were wounded; 75 defenders of the city died and more than 100 were wounded. The pirates took local women as concubines.
In 1709, the English captains Woodes Rogers, Etienne Courtney, and William Dampier, along with a crew of 110, looted Guayaquil and demanded ransom; however, they suddenly departed without collecting the ransom after an epidemic of yellow fever broke out.
On October 9, 1820, almost without bloodshed, a group of civilians, supported by soldiers from the "Granaderos de Reserva", a battalion quartered in Guayaquil, overwhelmed the resistance of the Royalist guards and arrested the Spanish authorities. Guayaquil declared independence from Spain, becoming Provincia Libre de Guayaquil, and José Joaquín de Olmedo was named Jefe Civil (Civilian Chief) of Guayaquil. This would prove to be a key victory for the Ecuadorian War of Independence.
On July 26, 1822, José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar held a famous conference in Guayaquil to plan for the independence of Spanish South America.
In 1829, the city was invaded by the Peruvian Army, which occupied it for seven months.
In 1860, the city was the site of the Battle of Guayaquil, the last of a series of military conflicts between the forces of the Provisional Government, led by Gabriel García Moreno and General Juan José Flores, and the forces of the Supreme Chief of Guayas, General Guillermo Franco, whose government was recognized as possessing sovereignty over the Ecuadorian territory by Peruvian president Ramón Castilla.
Large portions of the city were destroyed by a major fire in 1896.
On July 8, 1898, the Guayaquil City Hall "Muy Ilustre Municipalidad de Guayaquil" officially recognized the anthem written by José Joaquín de Olmedo in 1821, with the music composed by Ana Villamil Ycaza in 1895, as the "Himno al 9 de Octubre" Canción al Nueve de Octubre, most widely known now as the "Himno a Guayaquil" (Guayaquil Anthem).
Guayaquileño’s' main sources of income are: formal and informal trade, business, agriculture and aquaculture. Most commerce consists of small and medium businesses, adding an important informal economy occupation that gives thousands of guayaquileños employment.
The Port of Guayaquil is Ecuador's most important commercial port; most international import and export merchandise passes through the Gulf of Guayaquil. As the largest city in the country, most industries are located either in the city or its peripheral areas.
Ongoing projects seek urban regeneration as a principal objective of the growth of the city's commercial districts, as the increase of capital produces income. These projects in the city driven by the recent mayors have achieved this goal after investing large sums of money. The current municipal administration aims to convert Guayaquil into a place for first-class international tourism and multinational businesses.
Guayaquil's current mayor is Jaime Nebot. He began a campaign of construction projects for the city in the early 2000s to attract tourism, that included the "urban regeneration" plan which reconstructed the city's main tourist streets' sidewalks and upgraded the city's chaotic transit system with multiple infrastructure projects (speedways, overhead passages, tunnels, etc.).
In August 2006, the city's first rapid transit bus system, Metrovia, opened to provide a quicker, high-capacity service. One of the main projects was called Malecón 2000 [maleˈkon doz ˈmil], the renovation of the waterfront promenade (malecón) along the Guayas River. Another project was the creation of the Nuevo Parque Histórico, a park in a housing development area that is called Entre Ríos because it lies between the Daule and Babahoyo Rivers (which merge to form the Guayas River), in a mangrove wetland area. The park cost the city about 7 million dollars.
In 2013, the national government led by Rafael Correa built two pedestrian bridges connecting downtown Guayaquil, Santay Island, and the town of Durán, to allow people to make ecotourism trips on a same-day return basis. The two bridges were a big addition to the Guayas River scenery.
Guayaquil is the nation's largest city and the capital of Guayas Province. It is on the Guayas River about 60 kilometres (40 mi) north of the Gulf of Guayaquil, near the Equator.
Guayaquil is constantly facing tsunami and major earthquake threats due to its soil stratigraphy and location near the Gulf of Guayaquil and the south of North-Andean subduction zone. The city can be easily damaged by earthquake as its weak and compressible soil stratigraphy is composed of deep soft sediments over hard rocks and deposits in a brackish environment. Also, the city itself is strongly affected by the subduction of the active Ecuadorian margin, an intraplate region where active faults locate; and the Guayaquil-Babahoyo strike-slip fault system, formed as the North Andean Block drifts northward. The tsunami threat is caused by the nearby Gulf of Guayaquil which also is one of the major locations on the Earth where earthquakes tend to happen all the time. It has complex tectonic features such as the Posorja and the Jambeli –two major east-west trending detachment systems; the Puna-Santa Clara northeast-southwest trending fault system; and the Domito north-south trending fault system; that have developed since the Pleistocene times.
Guayaquil features a tropical savanna climate (Köppen: Aw). Between January and April, the climate is hot and humid with heavy rainfall, especially during El Niño years when it increases dramatically and flooding usually occurs. The rest of the year (from May through December), however, rainfall is minimal due to the cooling influence of the Humboldt Current, with usually cloudy mornings and afternoons, and evening breezes. Guayaquil, along with most of the coastal region, was impacted by the April 16, 2016 earthquake of 7.8 magnitude. A bridge that was above a major artery, Avenida de las Americas, collapsed in the early evening of April 16, killing two people.
Typical Guayaquil cuisine includes mostly seafood dishes such as encebollado and ceviche. The most traditional dish of Guayaquil is Arroz con Menestra y Carne Asada (rice with lentils and grilled beef). Churrasco is also a staple food of Guayaquil.
During breakfast, Patacones and Bolon de Verde (fried plantain with cheese mashed and given a rounded shape) play a big role. Pan de yuca is a typical snack in Guayaquil. Local cuisine is heavily influenced by the diversity of Guayaquil's ethnic groups which includes Italian, Spanish and West African origins.
Ecuador is known for its artists and its place in art history. Many of them were born in Guayaquil, such as:
Other notable people from Guayaquil include:
Biblioteca Municipal de Guayaquil (Municipal Library of Guayaquil) serves as the public library of Guayaquil. The city has several universities, including the University of Guayaquil (founded in 1867), the Universidad Catolica de Santiago de Guayaquil, the Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral (ESPOL), and the Universidad de Especialidades Espiritu Santo.
The oldest and largest religion in Guayaquil is the Roman Catholic Church. However, in the late 20th century and early 21st century, the fastest growing religion has been the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has an operating Temple in Guayaquil, a future temple in Quito, plus many stakes, wards and branches. There are also a number of Evangelical and Pentecostal churches.
There are two major association football clubs; the Barcelona Sporting Club and the Club Sport Emelec. Each club has its own stadium; the Estadio Monumental Banco Pichincha is the home of the "Barcelonistas" while the Estadio George Capwell is the home of the "Emelecistas". These two teams have a long history of rivalry in Guayaquil and when these two teams play against each other the game is called "El Clásico del Astillero".
The city is the birthplace of Francisco Segura Cano; and Andrés Gómez and Nicolás Lapentti, Ecuador's two most famous tennis players, now both retired. The "Abierto de Tenis Ciudad de Guayaquil" is a tennis tournament organised in Guayaquil by Gómez and Luis Morejon, and held annually in November.
Another major event in the city is the Guayaquil Marathon, which has been held every year on the first weekend of October since 2005. These race is certified by the (AIMS) Association of International Marathons and Distance Races.
The Parque Samanes is a sports park with courts for soccer, tennis, volleball, and basketball, two lakes, a soccer stadium and an amphi theatre for open air concerts and events. It is connected to a forest reserve with trails for cycling and walking, as well as installations for Climbing and zip-lining.
Some of Guayaquil's main universities are:
The Malecón 2000 is a restoration project of the historic Simón Bolívar Pier. It will be a symbolic centre of the city, a mix of green areas and shopping. The tall ship Guayas has its home base here.
The Palacio Municipal is located in front of the Malecón and holds the political offices of city and provincial officials. Built in a neoclassical style, it is considered one of the most important architectural works in the country.
Las Peñas is a neighbourhood in the northeast corner of the city centre; is the artistic centre of the city. Many of the area's 400-year-old houses have been converted into art galleries and several notable artists have studios in the area.
The Mercado Artesanal is the largest artisan market in the city. The market is housed in a 240-shop building that takes up an entire block.
Parque Centenario is located on Av. 9 de Octubre, between Lorenzo de Garaycoa and Pedro Moncayo. This is the largest park in the town centre, occupying four city blocks. A large Statue of Liberty dominates the central area of the park.
Parque Seminario (also known as Parque de Las Iguanas or Iguana Park) is home to many iguanas (Iguana iguana), some of which approach 5 feet (1.5 m) in length. Tourists and locals alike often feed the iguanas mango slices from park vendors. An equestrian statue of Simón Bolívar is located in the centre of the park.
Urdesa is a traditional neighborhood, for restaurants and stores.
Guayaquil Municipal Museum
Among Guayaquil's major trading points are the seaport, the largest in Ecuador and one of the biggest handlers of shipping on the shores of the Pacific; and José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport.
José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport, though using the same runways, had its passenger terminal completely rebuilt in 2006 and was renamed. The old passenger terminal is now a convention centre.
The main mass public transportation in Guayaquil is the Metrovia which is relatively new yet the most used way of public transportation. There are local buses as well with defined routes.