History of the Consulate General

The U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil is one of our oldest diplomatic posts in Latin America – a testament to our commitment to working with our friends and partners in Ecuador.  The U.S. and Gran Colombia (of which Ecuador was at that time a part) first established formal ties in 1824 through the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Navigation and Commerce, which allowed each country to appoint Consuls and Vice Consuls in the other’s ports.  Our first Consul General was William Wheelwright, a shipwrecked sailor who had settled in Guayaquil and had later become a successful merchant.

In the subsequent years of uninterrupted diplomatic relations, there have been 59 Consuls General assigned to the Consulate in Guayaquil. One of the most notable was the world-famous political cartoonist Thomas Nast.  Known as the father of modern political cartooning, Nast created the “Uncle Sam” U.S. political symbol and was the first to depict the U.S. Democratic and Republican parties as the now-familiar donkey and elephant.

As the only U.S. consulate in the Western Hemisphere outside of Mexico, Brazil and Canada, the Consulate in Guayaquil continues to highlight the importance of both Ecuador and Guayaquil.  The Consulate provides consular services to Americans and Ecuadorians living in the coastal provinces of Guayas, Manabi, Los Rios, Santa Elena and El Oro; the southern highland provinces of Cañar and Azuay; the Amazonian province of Zamora Chinchipe; and the Galapagos Islands.