1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cuenca (Ecuador)
CUENCA, a city and the capital of the province of Azuay, Ecuador, about 190 m. S. of Quito and 70 m. S.E. of Guayaquil. Pop. (1908 estimate) 30,000 (largely Indians), including the suburb of Ejido. Cuenca stands at the northern end of a broad valley, or basin, of the Andes, lying between the transverse ridges of Azuay and Loja, and is about 8640 ft. above sea-level. Near by is the hill of Tarqui which the French astronomers chose for their meridian in 1742. Communication with the coast is difficult. Cuenca is the third most important city of Ecuador, being the seat of a bishopric, and having a college, a university faculty, a cathedral, and several churches, and a considerable industrial and commercial development. It manufactures sugar, woollen goods and pottery, and exports Peruvian bark (cinchona), hats, cereals, cheese, hides, &c. It was founded in 1557 on the site of a native town called Tumibamba, and was made an episcopal see in 1786.