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Fact Friday: Mitad Del Mundo

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Mitad del Mundo

The earth has always been a topic of curiosity to humankind and science. Astronomers, geographers, scientists, and chemists have solved the most mysterious theories and phenomena throughout the centuries. Once it was proven the earth was indeed round, a geodesic mission to find the center of the earth began in 1735.

Two missions were launched to make observations and gather calculations. One expedition set out to the north pole, while another team traveled to South America. The French believed the earth was flat at the equator, while scientist Isaac Newton predicted it was flat at the poles. French explorer Charles Marie de la Condamine, Louis Godin and Pierre Bouguer were the first to calculate the diameter of the earth at the equator. The team completed the calculations in 1739.

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Fact Friday: The Legend of Cantuña

San Francisco Church Quito, Ecuador

San Francisco Church (Quito, Ecuador)

Legend has it that the 16th century San Francisco church was constructed on a pact with the devil.

An indigenous native named Cantuña, was hired by the Franciscan friars to complete the project in six months. Catuña and his men worked tirelessly but much was left to finish.

On the eve of the deadline, the devil appeared. Taking advantage of Catuña’s desperation, the Devil offered to help in exchange for his soul. The indigenous man accepted, but clarified that every last brick must be laid otherwise the pact was void.

All the little devils began to work and managed to progress quickly. Before daybreak, the boastful Devil was ready to claim Catuña’s soul as the church appeared to be complete. But the native exclaimed it was not finished as promised for a brick was missing. The Devil, feeling humiliated, left in fury with an unclaimed soul. Catuña was spared thanks to his wit, because before the devils began the labor, the native hid one of the bricks knowing this would be his saving grace.

This story has been told for many centuries, and to this day it is said one brick is still missing. So if you ever visit the San Francisco church, let us know if you find it!

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