Mitad del Mundo is a touristic attraction built in 1979 by order of Patricio Romero barberia with the intent of promoting Ecuador’s identity and the European 18th-century geodesic missions. The main entrance is a large corridor with some sculptures with the most important men who took measures in the first geodesic mission like La Condamine or…
PEDRO VICENTE MALDONADO (Riobambam 1704 – London, 1748)
- Thanks to his ample knowledge of geodesy and geography, he was one of the key members of the First Geodesic Mision.
- He was the first latin american to join the Paris Academy of Sciences.
- He drew the first geographical map of the Royal Audiencia of Quito.
- He is attributed with building the commercial route between Quito and Esmeraldas.
- Due to his notable work, he was dubbed “Knight of the Royal Chamber” by King Philip V of Spain in 1746.
- His remains lie in St. James’s Church of England.
ANTONIO DE ULLOA (Sevilla, 1716 – Isla de León, 1795)
- He was one of the sailors sent by King Philip V of Spain to form part of the Geodesic Mission.
- He went to Paris with La Condamine where he became a member of the Academy of Sciences.
- Due to his scientific work, he published “Noticias de America” (News of the Americas) in 1772.
- Together with Jorge Juan y Santacilia, he wrote the famous report entitled “Noticias Secretas” (Secret News) to the King of Spain about the state of his colonies.
JORGE JUAN Y SANTA CILIA (Alicante, 1713 – Madrid, 1773)
- He was a Spanish scientist, mathematician, naval officer and mariner. He was appointed member of the French Geodesic Mission by the King of Spain, Philip V.
- He remained in South America for many years with the purpose of studying the political and social situations in the Spanish territories.
- He wrote “Relación Histórica del Viaje a la América Meridional” (History of the Journey to Meridional America) with Antonio de Ulloa. It was published in Madrid in 1748.
The expedition was former by the French scientists La Condamine, Godin, Jussieu, Bouguer, Morinville, Verguin, Godin des Odonnais, Seniergues and Hugot, and the Spaniards Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa. They left La Rochelle on May 16th, 1735 and arrived at Manta on March 9th, 1736. La Condamine separated himself from the others and performed the first measurements and observations on the coast of Manabi and on June, the members of the mission met again to select the most adequate place for a base that would be used for the necessary triangulation.
On the top of the main monument there is a big world with a rounding equatorial line…
… and inside you can see that the rotation of the water is determined by other factors like the initial rotational direction (Coriolis effect!):
It is the effect
It is the effect observed in a rotating reference system when an object is moving respect to that system. Its influence can be detected in the rotation of hurricanes, ocean currents and trade winds.
The place is lovely and the views from the top of the monument are wonderful!
There also are some sundials like these ones:
In the different museums, it is possible to learn more things about the geodesic mission and the instruments of measurement used by the scientists:
Of course, if you go to Mitad del Mundo you must play with your feet and the equatorial line: one foot in the North and one foot in the South!