Deeper into Jeopardy! XXXV: South American Capitals – $1200

Jeopardy! category: SOUTH AMERICAN CAPITALS (8-1-2015)

$1200 clue: High up & deep inland, it was isolated until the railway to Guayaquil on the coast opened in 1908

Correct response

The gist: We’re moving down the mountains but up the elevation from Wednesday’s clue. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is yet another Andean capital, and at 2800 metres (9350 feet) it is the world’s highest national capital in terms of elevation. It sits on the slope of the active Andean volcano Pichincha, which erupted for the first time in over 440 years just a few years ago in 1999, depositing inches of ash over the city. Quito’s name comes from a prehistoric people who lived in the area, perhaps as long ago as the first millennium CE, the Quitu, but by the time the conquistadors arrived it had been part of the Inca Empire for more than fifty years. The Spanish city was founded in 1534 by Diego de Almagro. After almost 300 years of Spanish rule, as revolutionary fervor swept across South America, Antonio Jose de Sucre, under the command of Simon Bolivar, conquered and liberated Quito in 1822 after the Battle of Pichincha. After eight years as part of Bolivar’s republic of Gran Colombia, Ecuador’s independence was formally recognized and Quito became the new country’s capital in 1830.

Although only the country’s second largest city behind the coastal city of Guayaquil, Quito is a large city of over 2 000 000 people. Besides being the national capital, it is also the capital of Pichincha province and the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations. Its famously well-preserved historic district was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, and has the honour of being the second historic district site ever put on the list, after the historic district of Krakow, Poland.

View of Quito's famous historic centre, including the city's Gothic basilica

View of Quito’s famous historic centre, including the city’s Gothic basilica

The clue: Another two-parter: first, what country is Guayaquil in, and second, what’s that country’s capital? The references to its location are another clue, especially if you know that it’s in the Andes, but there are many other South American capitals that are high up and inland, too.

In Jeopardy!: “Quito,” being part of “mosquito,” is in almost 170 clues in the J!Archive, so we’ll need to narrow it down somehow. The city is in 20 clues along with Ecuador, 19 of which boil down to “what’s this country’s capital” or “what’s this city the capital of.” The rest of the clues I could find were all about its location – whether high up, near the equator, or next to a volcano. Sadly, the J!Archive doesn’t make this one an easy topic to research, but the above should cover the majority of clues about it.

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