Santiago de Guayaquil, or just Guayaquil, is the most populous city in Ecuador, as well as that nation's main sea port. Guayaquil is on the right margin of the Guayas River, which flows into the Gulf of Guayaquil in the Pacific Ocean. Guayaquil is at 2.21°S 79.90°W, about 250 km south-southwest of the capital of Ecuador, Quito. According to the most recent census (2001), its population was 1,985,379.
Guayaquil is the capital of the Ecuadorian province of Guayas and the seat of the namesake canton. (In Ecuador, a cantón (canton) is a second-order subnational entity below a first-order province.)
Some of Guayaquil's main universities are:
Universidad de Guayaquil 
Universidad Católica de Santiago de Guayaquil 
Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral 
Universidad [Laica] Vicente Rocafuerte 
Universidad [de Especialidades del] Espíritu Santo 
Guayaquil serves as the Metropolitan see to the Roman Catholic province of the Archdiocese of Guayaquil. Her cathedral San Pedro is the motherchurch to the Catholics of the region, who in 2005 comprised about 94% of the population of Guayaquil, at least in theory (though the figures may need a more realistic revision).There are also many religious buildings of several other denominations, including an Anglican Communion see and a Mormon temple - that is, a Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is also an Islamic Center.
The city is the center of Ecuador's fishing and manufacturing industries.
The city's airport, Simón Bolívar International Airport (IATA abbr.: GYE), has undergone renovations in the past years.
Famous people from Guayaquil include painter Enrique Tabara, painter Félix Arauz, painter and draftsman Juan Villafuerte, poet José Joaquín de Olmedo, scholar Benjamín Urrutia and tennis player Pancho Segura.
Guayaquil was founded on July 25 (see note below), 1531 with the name Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de Guayaquil by Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Orellana. Even before it was founded by the Spanish, it already existed as a native village.
Note - July 25 is the legal holiday in Guayaquil. Historians have not yet reached a consensus about the date of Guayaquil's foundation or founder. The city might have been founded more than once. Another possible founder might be Diego de Almagro.
In 1600 Guayaquil had a population of about 2,000 people; by 1700 the city had a population of over 10,000.
In 1687, Guayaquil was attacked and looted by English and French pirates under 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. Quito paid the ransom demanded by the pirates with the condition they release the hostages and not burn Guayaquil.
In 1709, the English captains Woodes Rogers and Etienne Courtney along with 110 other pirates, looted Guayaquil and demanded ransom; however, they suddenly departed without collecting the ransom after an epidemic of yellow fever broke out.
In October 9, 1820, almost without bloodshed, a group of civilians supported by soldiers from the "Granaderos de Reserva", a Peruvian battalion quartered in Guayaquil, overwhelmed the resistance of the Royalist guards and arrested the Spanish authorities. Guayaquil declared independence from Spain. José Joaquín de Olmedo was named "Jefe Civil" of Guayaquil.
Monument commemorating the historical conference between Simón Bolívar and José de San MartínOn 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.
The city suffered from a major fire in 1896 which destroyed large portions of the city.
The city's mayor (alcalde) nowadays is Jaime Nebot, a well-known member of the Ecuadorian political party Partido Social Cristiano, and one of the political rivals of former Ecuadorian president Abdalá Bucaram.
Nebot began a campaign of construction projects for the city in the late 1990s to attract tourism. One of the projects was called Malecón 2000 [ma.le.ˈkon ðoz ˈmil], the renovation of the breakwater (malecón) along the Guayas River with the addition of a boardwalk in 2000. 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 Guayas and Daule rivers, in a mangrove wetland area. The park cost the city about 7 million dollars. It is a refuge for fauna and a zone of historical-architecture preservation, and has a traditions-and-history exhibition center. The idea of the creation of this park came from Ecuador's central bank in 1982, as part of their "Rescate Arquitectónico" ("Architectural Rescue") program.
Museo de Antropología y Arte Contemporáneo (Museum of Anthropology and Contemporary Art), near the breakwater (photo taken in 2000)Most buildings in downtown Guayaquil have a very attractive and utilitarian feature - the portales. These are colonnades or arcades that provide protection to pedestrians from the Equatorial sun and torrential rains. These are worthy of study and imitation by architects from other parts of the world.
Ecuador is known for its very important artists and its place in art history. The country is home to some of the most important artists of the last century which include: Enrique Tabara (b. 1930, Guayaquil), Oswaldo Guayasamín (b. 1919-1999, Quito), Eduardo Kingman (b. 1913-1998, Quito), Juan Villafuerte (b. 1945, Guayaquil; d. 1977, Spain), Félix Arauz (b. 1935, Guayaquil), Aníbal Villacís, Camilo Egas, Humberto More, Theo Constante, Luis Miranda and Manuel Rendón Seminario.
Two of the best football teams of the country have been found in Guayaquil, the Barcelona Sporting Club and Club Sport Emelec. The latter is short for "Empresa Electrica" - the team is sponsored by the Electric Power Company.
Guayaquil in modern fiction
Much of the novel "Galapagos" by Kurt Vonnegut is set in Guayaquil. The novel contains one major factual error: Vonnegut claims that Guayaquil is entirely Roman Catholic. Actually, the city's population is mostly Catholic, but also home to a great number of denominations and religions.