• Name: Republic of Ecuador
  • Independence: May 24, 1822 (from Spain)
  • Type of government: Democratic Republic
  • Area: 256,370 sq. kilometers
  • Population: 14.6 million
  • Capital City: Quito (population 2.2 million)
  • Most important cities: Guayaquil (3.1 million), Quito, and Cuenca (702.000 habitants)
  • Official language: Spanish & Quichua
  • Currency: U.S. Dollar

Heritages:

  • Quito – World Heritage Site
  • Cuenca – World Heritage Site
  • Sangay National Park – Natural Heritage
  • Galapagos – Natural Heritage Park

People

  • Population density: 47.7 people per sq. km (one of the highest in South America)
  • Ethnic Division:
    • Mestizo (mixed Indigenous and Spanish): 65%
    • Indigenous: 25%
    • Spanish: 7%
    • Black: 3%
  • Indigenous groups: over 40 indigenous nations including the Quichua, Huaorani, Shuar (Jivaro), Achuar, Cofan, Siona, Secoya, Otavaleño, Tchatchilas (Colorados), Zaparo, Salasacas, Canaris, Saraguro & Chachi
  • Languages: Spanish (official), numerous indigenous tongues. Quichua, the language of the Incas, is the most widely spoken indigenous language. English is commonly spoken among professionals and tourism providers.
  • Religion: 95% Roman Catholic, however most mestizos and indigenous converts combine Catholicism with animistic practices and beliefs.

 Geography

  • Location: north western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru
  • Border countries: Colombia and Peru
  • Area: 256,370 sq. km.- roughly the size of the U.S. State of Colorado
  • Coastline: 2,237 kilometres
  • Lowest point: Pacific Ocean, 0 meters
  • Highest point: Chimborazo Volcano, 6,310 meters
    (note: Cotopaxi Volcano in the Andes is the highest active volcano in world)
  • Climate: tropical along the coast and in the Amazon region, and cooler in the highlands
  • Terrain: coastal plain (Costa), inter-Andean highlands (Sierra), rolling eastern rainforest plain (Oriente) & the Galapagos Island Archipelago
  • Natural hazards: frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity, and periodic droughts
  • Volcanic history: Ecuador has many active volcanoes, as well as one of the greatest densities of volcanoes in the world. Active volcanoes include Cotopaxi, Sangay, Reventador, Tungurahua & Guagua Pichincha.

Ecology & Environment
Overview: In the Ecuadorian Amazon, which represents just two percent of the whole basin, live one-third of all the bird species in the entire Amazon region, and 10 percent of all the tree species on earth. Over 24 tropical life zones are found in Ecuador (according to the Holdridge Life Zone system) including: mangrove swamp, dry tropical forest, tropical cloud forest, paramo, and tropical lowland rainforest. Due to its great variety of life zones, Ecuador boasts one the highest levels of bio-diversity in the world. For example one hectare of lowland rainforest can contain as many frog species as in all of North America; one tree can contain more ant species than in all of the British Isles combined; and of the world’s known bird species (about 9,000), pint-sized Ecuador is home to over 1,500. Ecuador also has one of the greatest levels of endemism anywhere in the world.
Government

  • Type of government: Democratic Republic
  • Capital: Quito
  • Current President: Rafael Correa
  • Administrative division: 24 provinces – Azuay, Bolivar, Cañar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Galápagos, Guayas, Imbabura, Loja, Los Ríos, Manabí, Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Pichincha, Santa  Elena, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Sucumbíos, Tungurahua, Zamora-Chinchipe,
  • Suffrage: 16 years of age, universal, compulsory for literate people ages 18-65

Economy

Overview: Ecuador has substantial oil resources and rich agricultural areas. Because the country exports primary products such as oil, bananas, and shrimp, fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact.

Tourism represents the fourth source of income of the country.