RIOBAMBA or Royabamba, a town of Ecuador, capital of the province of Chimborazo, on the railway between Guayaquil and Quito, about 85 m. E.N.E. of the former. Pop. (1900, estimate) 12,000. It stands in a barren, sandy basin of the great central plateau, drained by the Chambo, a tributary of the Pastaza, on the old road running southward from Quito into Peru, 9039 ft. above sea-level, and in full view of the imposing heights of Chimborazo, Carahuairazo (Carguairazo), Tunguragua and Altar. Though 300 ft. lower than Quito, its climate is considerably colder, owing, perhaps, to its more exposed situation and the vicinity of so many snow-clad peaks. It is a town of unusually wide streets and one-storeyed adobe houses, being so laid out and built because of earthquakes. It has very little importance as a commercial or industrial centre, having only a small trade and a few unimportant industries. The present town dates from 1797, when the great earthquake of that year destroyed the old town then situated 12 m. W., near the existing village of Cajabamba. The ruins of the old town indicate that it was much larger and finer than its successor.
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