The first seat of the Spanish Crown in the Royal Audience of Quito functioned near the convent of La Merced (current Cuenca and Chile streets) until around the year 1611, when dies Diego Suarez de Figueroa, secretary of the audience, who owned a small palace built in the central square (Plaza Grande).
Juan Fernandez de Recalde, president of the Audience then informed the king that the building was finished, and it was purchased by the Crown as a larger building to house the comfortable premises of the Spanish Administration in Quito soil.
Some time later, the successor to President Recalde, Antonio de Morga, informed the king that the royal houses were unworthy to carry that name, because they were close and very old, so they proposed to buy the adjacent houses. The earthquake of 1627 forced them to buy the neighboring buildings that, because of their age, were rebuilt in stone and brick. Thereafter, the power of the audience settled in front of the Plaza Grande.
In 1799, the Barón Francisco Luis Héctor de Carondelet was appointed chairman of the hearing. In 1801, the Spanish engaged to Antonio Garcia, under his direction, perform work of rehabilitation and improvements, both at the Palace of the audience at the Cathedral as well; also led the work on the arches of the sewers and the renovation of the Prison building.
After the independence of Ecuador culminated with the Battle of Pichincha in 1822, the palace became the headquarters of the South Department of Gran Colombia, receiving the liberator Simón Bolívar sometimes, who wondered at the elegance and austerity of the building in addition to being delighted with the taste of the Baron of Carondelet (main thrust of the work); thus, Bolivar gave the building the name of Carondelet Palace.
During the Republican era, almost all the presidents (constitutional, internees and dictators) have dispatched from this building, which is the seat of Government of the Republic of Ecuador.
There has been some changes over the years, the most important in the presidencies of Gabriel García Moreno, Camilo Ponce Enríquez and Sixto Durán Ballén.
In addition to the administrative units in the third level of the Palace is the presidential residence, a luxurious colonial-style apartment in which the President and his family live.
Currently, the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the Republic and the Ministry of the Interior, occupy the Complex of Carondelet, which includes the buildings of the former Mail (current Benalcázar street, between Chile and Espejo) and the Government Palace, separated by the garage.
During the presidency of Rafael Correa, the Ecuadorian government, considering the Carondelet Palace and its agencies an Ecuadorian cultural heritage, converted the presidential compound into a museum open to the public.
Designated areas were organized to house objects within their cultural contexts, allotting several rooms and spaces within the palace, so as to make them publicly accessible.
To carry out this work, Maria del Carmen Molestina, researcher, PhD in Archaeology, and former director of the Museum of the Central Bank of Ecuador, cataloged objects and identified places to exhibit the gifts that the president receives while in office. Furthermore, she located objects and antique furniture with cultural value from within the palace to be placed in the exhibition gallery.
Under this system, it now became possible to assign to the presidential gifts their corresponding cultural, historical and/or ethnographic value and to identify all objects that represent and embody customs, traditions, ideologies, and forms of thinking of different Ecuadorian ethnic groups.