The Middle of the World is a land owned by the prefecture of the province of Pichincha, Ecuador. It is located in the parish of San Antonio Metropolitan District of Quito, north of downtown Quito.
The main attraction is the monument to the Middle of the World, which is aimed at highlighting the exact location of the equator and Ecuador, which the country takes its name, and also highlight the Franco-Spanish geodesic mission of the century XVIII which placed the approximate site through which passes the equator.
There is also the Middle of the World Ethnographic Museum, a museum about the indigenous ethnography of Ecuador. A small town surrounding the monument acts as a resort, featuring a replica of a Spanish colonial city called "Middle of the World".
Between 1736 and 1744, a French Geodesic Mission (directed by Charles Marie de la Condamine) traveled to Ecuador (then part of the Spanish empire) to resolve a discussion that existed at the Academy of Sciences of Paris, on whether the globe had flattening at the poles or ends. This mission made measurements and astronomical calculations to determine what was effectively the flattening of the Earth. Hence the metric system is derived, because the Metro is the diezmillonécima part of a quadrant of the earth's meridian, which was measured by the mission of La Condamine and other experts who were on the expedition. Ecuador was elected to measure because it offered more stable to carry out the mission conditions, as in Africa and Asia the conditions were not stable.
In the mission various instruments were used, but the main problem was presented by the series of sensitivities that arose in the communities, who saw foreigners who did strange things. It is known from a story in the newspaper La Condamine, according to which the scientists were able to install two references made from brick and mortar to its astronomical measurements. The third, had to do it on a hill near Quito, called Cruz Loma (because there was a large cross). There they were able to perform measurements Caraburo of Hoyambaro, and the third was that of Cruz Loma. The latter measure caused them enormous difficulties because they had to mule carrying the bricks after astronomical calculations, install this reference with a small piece of metal (possibly bronze) marking the exact location of the measurement. The problem arose when the concern of certain indigenous communities gave rise to investigate what was what those people were doing. This made the piece of metal was destroyed, and when they had already built the pyramid of Cruz Loma, the other two pieces of metal were destroyed. Then, when they were installed to make the measurements and wanted the leaders, and they could not use them. The concern arose on a mission for the common mortal was strange.
When the mission settled, Spain had suspicion of the mission and sent two Spanish scientists of high quality, which were Jorge Juan and Santacilia and Antonio de Ulloa, who presented themselves as assistants of the mission, but actually it was to spy what They were doing. Already in Ecuadorian lands joined by their knowledge of geography and geodesy Ecuadorian scientist, Pedro Vicente Maldonado, who worked closely to ensure the success of the Misión.1 late eighteenth century General Charles Perrier, the French Academy of Sciences , he was sent on a scientific mission to verify the result of its predecessor.
It is noteworthy that the only monuments found on the equator to date, are the monument of La Catequilla, an ancient archaeological site and Quitsato Sundial.
The monument to the Middle of the World
The old monument in Calacalí Ecuador (2008).
In 1936, with the support of the Franco-American Committee, the Ecuadorian geographer Luis Tufiño, located the marks left by the geodesic mission of the eighteenth century. Based on this finding a monument of 10 meters high in San Antonio de Pichincha was built. In 1979 the monument was moved 7 km west to the city of Calacalí.
Between 1979 and 1982 it was built a monument of 30 meters high (replica of the monument was moved to Calacalí) to mark the spot where it was believed that Ecuador facing the country at that time. In fact, a line was drawn from the center of the staircase leading to the east, across the square to mark the Ecuador, and over the years countless tourists have photographed crossing the line. But really the whole structure is approximately 240 m south of the true Ecuador (on the parallel 0 ° 0 '7.83' South latitude) with the advent of GPS technology, the late twentieth century.
The pyramidal monument, with each side facing a cardinal direction, is made of iron and cement and covered with carved stone and polished andesite and topped by a globe of 4.5 m in diameter and 5 tons. Inside the monument there is a small museum displaying elements of indigenous culture of Ecuador, such as clothing, descriptions of the various ethnic groups, and samples of their activities.
Has four monoliths in the angles and sides are the geographic direction of the four cardinal points. On each side of the monument are commemorative inscriptions of the Franco-Spanish geodesic mission. Thus we have the North a commemorative legend, dedicated to Pedro Vicente Maldonado, who worked closely with the Geodesic Mission in the year 1736. An engraving that appears below the inscription represents the fourth circle used by the Geodesic Mission of the eighteenth century. On the Western side is an inscription dedicated to Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa Santacilia and two Spaniards who collaborated with eminent scientific work in France. Under the inscription is engraved coat of Spain (as it appeared in the 30s). In the South face is an inscription of gratitude to the Government of Ecuador for the scientific work of the Geodesic Mission of France. Under the inscription is engraved coat of Ecuador.1 Finally, on the east side, it is an inscription dedicated to La Condamine and their French colleagues of the mission. Under the inscription is engraved coat of France.
The globe of the top (made of metal) is embossed continents. This balloon is wrapped from East to West by a metal also, indicator tape Equatorial Line, dividing the area into two halves exactly. The orientation of the metallic balloon corresponds to the actual position of the Earth, that is, the lower the polar axis is parallel to the axis of actual rotation of the Earth.