Guayaquil, Ecuador, the nation's largest city and the capital of Guayas Province. It is on the Guayas River about 40 miles (64 km) north of the Gulf of Guayaquil, near the Equator. Guayaquil is Ecuador's chief port and principal commercial and manufacturing center. An international airport and the only railway to the nation's interior serve the city.
Landmarks include the cathedral and the church of San Francisco. Among educational institutions are the University of Guayaquil (founded in 1867) and the Catholic University of St. James (1962).
Guayaquil was founded by Spaniards in 1537 as Santiago de Guayaquil. It was sacked several times by pirates and was plagued by yellow fever and other tropical diseases for many years. A devastating earthquake occurred in 1942.