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Quito Canton (Pichincha, Ecuador)

Cantón de Quito

Last modified: 2009-07-26 by dov gutterman
Keywords: ecuador | pichincha | quito | amaguana | san francisco de quito |
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image by Jens Pattke, 29 October 2002

see also:


The flag above is based on the province official site.
Falko Schmidt, 29 October 2002

The flag is presented on the municipal website as follows:
"Decree No. 1634
The flag of the town was officialized on 17 May 1944 by the Municipal Council of Quito. It is made of a horizontal rectangle divided into three parallel stripes: the central part is red and the two lateral parts are blue. In the middle is shows a castle as a symbol of strength, nobleness and loyalty of the town. The finial of the staff is decorated with the golden ribbon of St. Francis."  
There is more information on the website of the Province of Pichincha. The text is exactly as above, but there is an image of the flag showing the central red stripe twice wider than the blue ones.
There are several reports of the flag with the municipal coat of arms instead of the castle. The most recent sighting is a photograph, published in "La Hora" on 21 October 2008, of the last meeting of the Supreme Court of Justice, to be replaced soon by the new National Court of Justice.
The coat of arms is described on themunicipal website as follows:
"Decree No. 3111
The coat of arms of the Town of San Francisco de Quito was granted by Emperor Charles V, King of Germany and Spain, by the Royal Letter signed on 14 March 1541 in the palace of Talavera, Spain. This Letter, following a first Letter granting the title of Town to an Francisco de Quito, granted to the town a coat of arms which has been used until today.
The Royal Letter grants to Quiot "all the pre-eminences, prerogatives and immunities that it can and shall have as a town" and commission the whole Royal Court to respect and let respect this rank for Quito. The document prescribed to the new Town of Quito a coat of arms and a blazon, which have been kept until now and make of the coat of arms of Quito the oldest of all the coats of arms granted to towns and provinces of Ecuador, highlighting the importance of the town in the history of our country.
The Emperor ordered the coat of arms of Quito to be "a castle argent surrounded by two mountains or rocks, with a green cave on the base of each of them, on the top of the castle a cross or with a base vert hold in their claws by two eagles sable fimbriated or, one dexter and the other sinister, [...], the whole on a field gules; an orle made of the St. Francis ribbon or on a field azure".
The coats of arms was immediatly used in all the documents of the town's administration. According to a report published in 1914  by Pedro Pablo Traversari, once a Municipal Councillor in Quito, and whose original illustrated manuscript is thoroughly kept in the reserve of the Municipal Historic Museum, the oldest reproduction of the coat of arms of Quito that we can still observe is the coat of arms encarved in a stone located on the facade of the St. Augustine convent. According to Traversari, this coat of arms is dated 1573.
For the commemoration of the 460th anniversary of the Royal Letter, Paco Moncayo, Mayor of the Metropolitan Disctrict of Quito, unvealed last March a polychromous coat of arms of Quito, encarved in cedar wood by the artist Whitman Villalba. Villalba's coat of arms is a model based on Traversari's detailed drawing and reproducing the central element of the coat of arms of Quito, the crenelled tower, crowned by the cross, in a beautiful silversmith's piece kept by the municipality for centuries [...] This work is part of the Hall of the Coat of Arms of Quito, located in the Municipal Palace and placed under the custody of the Metropolitan District of Quito."  
The website of the Province of Pichincha gives fragments of this text.
Ivan Sache, 26 October 2008

Variant (?)

[Flag of Quito]
image by T.F. Mills, 11 December 1997

Quito's flag is a blue-red-blue tricolour, and about half of them showed a coat of arms.
I made the "Variant (?)" from a small flag which I purchased in Quito shortly before submitting them.  I saw many more like them on buildings and none like the 1944 model -- so I think your assumptions are fairly sound.  I know very little about the vexillographic culture of Ecuador, but in my experience much of the world does not have "sealed patterns".  It is therefore possible that the difference is not an official evolution.
T.F. Mills, 11 December 1997 and 13 December 2001

Coat of Arms

[Coat-of-Arms of Quito]
image from website of the Province of Pichincha

Parish of Amaguaña

[Coat-of-Arms of Quito]
image by Ivan Sache, 24 February 2007

The parish of  Amaguaña (20,000 inhabitants; 60 sq. km) belongs to the Metropolitan District of Quito; it is located in the valley of Chillos, 28 km south-east of Quito, at an elevation of 2,683 a.s.l.
The origin of the name of Amaguaña is controversial. E. Moreno Yánez (Nueva Historia del Ecuador) claims that the two main parishes of the valley are named after their respective caciques (chiefs), in the north, Sangolquí named after Sangoquiza, in the south, Amaguaña, named after Amaguañuy. Other say that Amaguaña means "love" in Aymara. Anyway, the oldest mention of Amaguaña dates back to 1559, as listed by the Franciscan monk Agustín Moreno in his "Cien preguntas sobre los orígenes Franciscanos" (Hundred questions on the Franciscan origins). In the early years of the Spanish settlement, Amaguaña was inhabited by "doctrinas" (native tribes not incorporating into a parish) and colonists, including Pedro Ampudia, the son of the the founder of Quito.
Teodoro Wolf, Gonzáles Suárez and Aquiles Pérez consistently reports the eruption of volcano Pichincha in October 1660, considered as the biggest ever, which causes the flooding of the valley of Chillos and the opening of the precipice of Sincholagua. The villagers escaped to the hillsides of the Pasochoa and Rumiñahui. Accordingly, the inhabitants of the valleys of Tumbaco and Chillos still believe that the place was once a big lake.
Amaguaña might have become a civil parish during the first term of Gabriel García Moreno, 1861-1865. On 29 May 1861, the National Convention of Ecuador issued the Law on the Territorial Division, erecting Amaguaña as one of the 47 parishes of the Canton of Quito, Province of Pichincha. There is, however, no other decree stating that Amaguaña was already a civil parish, but there are hints in local archives of the existence of a civil administration in 1861 and 1863.
The National Park Pasochoa is located close to Amaguaña. It is made of a sleeping volcano and hosts several endemic or endangered. During 1996 and 1997, Doris Vela and Violeta Rafael, from the Pontifical University of Ecuador, collected specimens of Drosophila (fruit flies)  in the western slopes of the Pasochoa. They described three new species, on e of them being named D. amaguana, after the parish of Amaguaña (Vela, D., Rafael, V. 2004. Three new andean species of Drosophila (Diptera, Drosophilidae) of the mesophragmatica group. Iheringia. Série Zoologia 94, 295-299 - available online.
Maize has been grown in the valley of Chillos since the pre-Inca period; the valley of Chillos is still known as the land of maize.
Accordingly, the flag of Amaguaña is horizontally divided yellow-blue, yellow representing maize and blue representing the clear sky and the water of the rivers.
Source: Amaguaña by Enrique V. Carrera.
Ivan Sache, 24 February 2007