Sebastián de Belalcázar conquered the Inca’s Kingdom of Quito in 1534. The Spanish conquistador then created a new settlement nearby named San Francisco de Quito. It was given city status seven years later. Now with a population of 2.7 million people, Ecuador’s capital has become the country’s second largest metropolitan area. Despite its urban sprawl in the Guayllabamba River valley high in the Andes, the Historic Centre is one of the best preserved in Latin America. At the core is La Plaza Grande. Also called Independence Square, this is the perfect place to start your exploration of Quito.