Coordinates: 2°00′S 77°30′W / 2.000°S 77.500°W /
Republic of Ecuador
República del Ecuador (Spanish)
Coat of arms
"Dios, patria y libertad" (Spanish)
"Pro Deo, Patria et Libertate" (Latin)
"God, homeland and freedom"
Anthem: Salve, Oh Patria (Spanish)
Hail, Oh Homeland
Location of Ecuador (dark green)
in South America (grey)
00°9′S 78°21′W / 0.150°S 78.350°W / -0.150; -78.350
Recognized regional languages
Shuar and others "are in official use for indigenous
Ethnic groups ()
Unitary presidential constitutional republic
• Vice President
María Alejandra Vicuña
August 10, 1809
• from Spain
May 24, 1822
• from Gran Colombia
May 13, 1830
• Recognized by Spain
February 16, 1840
• Current constitution
September 28, 2008
283,561 km2 (109,484 sq mi)a (73rd)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
• 2010 census
58.95/km2 (152.7/sq mi) (151st)
• Per capita
$109.759 billion (64th)
• Per capita
high · 89th
United States dollarb (USD)
ECT / GALT (UTC−5 / −6)
Drives on the
ISO 3166 code
Sucre until 2000, replaced by the US$ and Ecuadorian centavo coins.
Ecuador (/ˈɛkwədɔːr/ ( listen) EK-wə-dor,
Spanish: [ekwaˈðor]) (Quechua: Ikwadur), officially the
Ecuador (Spanish: República del Ecuador, which literally
translates as "Republic of the Equator"; Quechua: Ikwadur Ripuwlika),
is a representative democratic republic in northwestern South America,
Colombia on the north,
Peru on the east and south, and the
Pacific Ocean to the west.
Ecuador also includes the Galápagos
Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of
the mainland. The capital city is Quito, while the largest city is
What is now
Ecuador was home to a variety of
Amerindian groups that
were gradually incorporated into the
Inca Empire during the 15th
century. The territory was colonized by
Spain during the 16th century,
achieving independence in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia, from which it
emerged as its own sovereign state in 1830. The legacy of both empires
is reflected in Ecuador's ethnically diverse population, with most of
its 16.4 million people being mestizos, followed by large minorities
of European, Amerindian, and African descendants. Spanish is the
official language and is spoken by a majority of the population,
Amerindian languages are also recognized, including Quichua
Ecuador is a middle-income country, with a developing economy that is
highly dependent on commodities, namely petroleum and agricultural
products. It is governed as a democratic presidential republic. One of
17 megadiverse countries in the world,
Ecuador hosts many
endemic plants and animals, such as those of the
In recognition of its unique ecological heritage, the new constitution
of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable
Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights.
1.1 Pre-Inca era
1.2 Inca era
1.3 Spanish rule
1.5 Liberal Revolution
1.6 Loss of claimed territories since 1830
Juan José Flores
Juan José Flores de jure territorial claims
1.6.2 Struggle for independence
1.6.3 Peruvian occupation of Jaén, Tumbes, and Guayaquil
1.6.4 The dissolution of Gran Colombia
1.6.5 Struggle for possession of the Amazon Basin
1.7 Military governments (1972–79)
1.8 Return to democracy
2 Government and politics
2.1 Executive branch
2.2 Legislative branch
2.3 Judicial branch
2.4 Electoral branch
2.5 Transparency and social control branch
2.6 Human rights
2.7 Foreign affairs
3 Administrative divisions
3.1 Regions and planning areas
8 Electrical power outlets
9 Mobile (cellular) phone frequencies
10.3 Population genetics
10.4 Population density
10.5 Immigration and emigration
14 Sciences and research
15 See also
17 Further reading
18 External links
History of Ecuador
History of Ecuador and Indigenous peoples in Ecuador
Tumaco-La Tolita mythological figure in feathered costume. Between 100
BC and 100 AD. Found in Esmeraldas
Various peoples had settled in the area of the future
the arrival of the Incas. The archeological evidence suggests that the
Paleo-Indians' first dispersal into the
Americas occurred near the end
of the last glacial period, around 16,500–13,000 years ago. The
first Indians who reached
Ecuador may have journeyed by land from
North and Central America or by boat down the
Pacific Ocean coastline.
Much later migrations to
Ecuador may have come via the Amazon
tributaries, others descended from northern South America, and others
ascended from the southern part of
South America through the Andes.
They developed different languages while emerging as unique ethnic
Even though their languages were unrelated, these groups developed
similar groups of cultures, each based in different environments. The
people of the coast developed a fishing, hunting, and gathering
culture; the people of the highland
Andes developed a sedentary
agricultural way of life; and the people of the
Amazon basin developed
a nomadic hunting-and-gathering mode of existence.
Over time these groups began to interact and intermingle with each
other so that groups of families in one area became one community or
tribe, with a similar language and culture. Many civilizations arose
in Ecuador, such as the
Valdivia Culture and
Machalilla Culture on the
Quitus (near present-day Quito), and the
present-day Cuenca). Each civilization developed its own distinctive
architecture, pottery, and religious interests.
In the highland
Andes mountains, where life was more sedentary, groups
of tribes cooperated and formed villages; thus the first nations based
on agricultural resources and the domestication of animals formed.
Eventually, through wars and marriage alliances of their leaders, a
group of nations formed confederations. One region consolidated under
a confederation called the Shyris, which exercised organized trading
and bartering between the different regions. Its political and
military power came under the rule of the Duchicela blood-line.
Ruins of Ingapirca, this site served as an outpost and provisioning of
the Incan troops, but mainly it was a place of worship and veneration
to the sun, the maximum Incan God, thus constituting a Coricancha,
dedicated to the Inca ritual.
Pre-Hispanic shrunken head of the Shuars (Jivaroan peoples).
Incas arrived, they found that these confederations were so
developed that it took the
Incas two generations of rulers – Topa
Inca Yupanqui and
Huayna Capac – to absorb them into the Inca
Empire. The native confederations that gave them the most problems
were deported to distant areas of Peru, Bolivia, and north Argentina.
Similarly, a number of loyal Inca subjects from
Ecuador to prevent rebellion. Thus, the region of highland
Ecuador became part of the
Inca Empire in 1463 sharing the same
In contrast, when the
Incas made incursions into coastal
the eastern Amazon jungles of Ecuador, they found both the environment
and indigenous people more hostile. Moreover, when the
Incas tried to
subdue them, these indigenous people withdrew to the interior and
resorted to guerrilla tactics. As a result, Inca expansion into the
Amazon basin and the Pacific coast of
Ecuador was hampered. The
indigenous people of the Amazon jungle and coastal
relatively autonomous until the Spanish soldiers and missionaries
arrived in force. The Amazonian people and the Cayapas of Coastal
Ecuador were the only groups to resist Inca and Spanish domination,
maintaining their language and culture well into the 21st century.
Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the
Inca Empire was involved in a
civil war. The untimely death of both the heir Ninan Cuchi and the
Emperor Huayna Capac, from a European disease that spread into
Ecuador, created a power vacuum between two factions. The northern
faction headed by Atahualpa claims that
Huayna Capac gave a verbal
decree before his death about how the empire should be divided. He
gave the territories pertaining to present-day
Ecuador and northern
Peru to his favorite son Atahualpa, who was to rule from Quito; and he
gave the rest to Huáscar, who was to rule from Cuzco. He willed that
his heart be buried in Quito, his favorite city, and the rest of his
body be buried with his ancestors in Cuzco.
Huáscar did not recognize his father's will, since it did not follow
Inca traditions of naming an Inca through the priests. Huáscar
ordered Atahualpa to attend their father's burial in
Cuzco and pay
homage to him as the new Inca ruler. Atahualpa, with a large number of
his father's veteran soldiers, decided to ignore Huáscar, and a civil
war ensued. A number of bloody battles took place until finally
Huáscar was captured. Atahualpa marched south to
Cuzco and massacred
the royal family associated with his brother.
A small band of Spaniards headed by Francisco
Pizarro landed in Tumbez
and marched over the
Andes Mountains until they reached Cajamarca,
where the new Inca Atahualpa was to hold an interview with them.
Valverde, the priest, tried to convince Atahualpa that he should join
the Catholic Church and declare himself a vassal of Spain. This
infuriated Atahualpa so much that he threw the Bible to the ground. At
this point the enraged Spaniards, with orders from Valverde, attacked
and massacred unarmed escorts of the Inca and captured Atahualpa.
Pizarro promised to release Atahualpa if he made good his promise of
filling a room full of gold. But, after a mock trial, the Spaniards
executed Atahualpa by strangulation.
Major square of Quito. Painting of 18th century.
New infectious diseases, endemic to the Europeans, caused high
fatalities among the
Amerindian population during the first decades of
Spanish rule, as they had no immunity. At the same time, the natives
were forced into the encomienda labor system for the Spanish. In 1563,
Quito became the seat of a real audiencia (administrative district) of
Spain and part of the Viceroyalty of
Peru and later the Viceroyalty of
After nearly 300 years of Spanish rule,
Quito was still a small city
numbering 10,000 inhabitants. On August 10, 1809, the city's criollos
called for independence from
Spain (first among the peoples of Latin
America). They were led by Juan Pío Montúfar, Quiroga, Salinas, and
Bishop Cuero y Caicedo. Quito's nickname, "Luz de América" ("Light of
America"), is based on its leading role in trying to secure an
independent, local government. Although the new government lasted no
more than two months, it had important repercussions and was an
inspiration for the independence movement of the rest of Spanish
America. all brigantine, the San Pedro.
Main article: Ecuadorian War of Independence
Venezuelan independence leader Antonio José de Sucre
Guayaquil Conference" was the meeting between the two main
Hispanic South American independence leaders. In it the form of
government of the nascent countries was discussed, San Martín opted
for a monarchy, while Bolívar opted for a unified
South America in
the form of a republic. Painting of 1843.
On October 9, 1820,
Guayaquil became the first city in
Ecuador to gain
its independence from Spain. The people were very happy about the
independence and celebrated, which is now Ecuador's independence day,
officially on May 24, 1822. The rest of
Ecuador gained its
Antonio José de Sucre
Antonio José de Sucre defeated the Spanish
Royalist forces at the Battle of Pichincha, near Quito. Following the
Ecuador joined Simón Bolívar's Republic of Gran Colombia,
also including modern-day Colombia,
Venezuela and Panama. In 1830
Ecuador separated from
Gran Colombia and became an independent
The 19th century was marked by instability for
Ecuador with a rapid
succession of rulers. The first president of
Ecuador was the
Venezuelan-born Juan José Flores, who was ultimately deposed,
followed by several authoritarian leaders, such as Vicente Rocafuerte;
José Joaquín de Olmedo; José María Urbina; Diego Noboa; Pedro
José de Arteta; Manuel de Ascásubi; and Flores's own son, Antonio
Flores Jijón, among others. The conservative Gabriel Garcia Moreno
unified the country in the 1860s with the support of the Roman
Catholic Church. In the late 19th century, world demand for cocoa tied
the economy to commodity exports and led to migrations from the
highlands to the agricultural frontier on the coast.
Ecuador abolished slavery and freed its black slaves in 1851.
Antique dug out canoes in the courtyard of the Old Military Hospital
in the Historic Center of Quito
Main article: Liberal Revolution of 1895
Liberal Revolution of 1895 under
Eloy Alfaro reduced the power of
the clergy and the conservative land owners. This liberal wing
retained power until the military "Julian Revolution" of 1925. The
1930s and 1940s were marked by instability and emergence of populist
politicians, such as five-time President José María Velasco Ibarra.
Loss of claimed territories since 1830
Main article: History of the Ecuadorian–Peruvian territorial dispute
The Ecuadorian–Peruvian territorial dispute
History of the Ecuadorian–Peruvian territorial dispute
Peru War (1828-1829)
Ecuadorian–Peruvian territorial dispute of 1857–60
Ecuadorian-Peruvian War (1941)
Paquisha War (1981)
Cenepa War (1995)
Juan José Flores
Juan José Flores de jure territorial claims
Since Ecuador's separation from
Colombia in May 13, 1830, its first
President, General Juan José Flores, laid claim to the territory that
was called the Real Audiencia of Quito, also referred to as the
Presidencia of Quito. He supported his claims with Spanish Royal
decrees or Real Cedulas, that delineated the borders of Spain's former
overseas colonies. In the case of Ecuador, Flores-based Ecuador's de
jure claims on the following cedulas - Real Cedula of 1563, 1739, and
1740; with modifications in the
Amazon Basin and
Andes Mountains that
were introduced through the Treaty of
Guayaquil (1829) which Peru
reluctantly signed, after the overwhelmingly outnumbered Gran
Colombian force led by
Antonio José de Sucre
Antonio José de Sucre defeated President and
General La Mar's Peruvian invasion force in the Battle of Tarqui. In
addition, Ecuador's eastern border with the Portuguese colony of
Brazil in the
Amazon Basin was modified before the wars of
Independence by the
First Treaty of San Ildefonso (1777) between the
Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire. Moreover, to add legitimacy
to his claims, on February 16, 1840, Flores signed a treaty with
Spain, whereby Flores convinced
Spain to officially recognize
Ecuadorian independence and its sole rights to colonial titles over
Spain's former colonial territory known anciently to
Spain as the
Kingdom and Presidency of Quito.
Ecuador during its long and turbulent history has lost most of its
contested territories to each of its more powerful neighbors, such as
Colombia in 1832 and 1916,
Brazil in 1904 through a series of peaceful
Peru after a short war in which the Protocol of Rio de
Janeiro was signed in 1942.
Struggle for independence
During the struggle for independence, before
independent nations, a few areas of the former Vice Royalty of New
Granada - Guayaquil, Tumbez, and Jaén - declared themselves
independent from Spain. A few months later, a part of the Peruvian
liberation army of San Martin decided to occupy the independent cities
of Tumbez and Jaén with the intention of using these towns as
springboards to occupy the independent city of
Guayaquil and then to
liberate the rest of the Audiencia de
Quito (Ecuador). It was common
knowledge among the top officers of the liberation army from the south
that their leader San Martin wished to liberate present-day Ecuador
and add it to the future republic of Peru, since it had been part of
Inca Empire before the Spaniards conquered it.
However, Bolívar's intention was to form a new republic known as the
Gran Colombia, out of the liberated Spanish territory of New Granada
which consisted of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. San Martin's
plans were thwarted when Bolívar, with the help of Marshal Antonio
José de Sucre and the Gran Colombian liberation force, descended from
Andes mountains and occupied Guayaquil; they also annexed the
newly liberated Audiencia de
Quito to the Republic of Gran Colombia.
This happened a few days before San Martin's Peruvian forces could
arrive and occupy Guayaquil, with the intention of annexing Guayaquil
to the rest of Audiencia of
Quito (Ecuador) and to the future republic
of Peru. Historic documents repeatedly stated that San Martin told
Bolivar he came to
Guayaquil to liberate the land of the
Spain. Bolivar countered by sending a message from
San Martin and his troops to Colombian soil.
Peruvian occupation of Jaén, Tumbes, and Guayaquil
In the south,
Ecuador had de jure claims to a small piece of land
Pacific Ocean known as Tumbes which lay between the
Zarumilla and Tumbes rivers. In Ecuador's southern
region where the Marañon cuts across,
Ecuador had de jure claims to
an area it called Jaén de Bracamoros. These areas were included as
part of the territory of
Gran Colombia by Bolivar in December 17,
1819, during the
Congress of Angostura
Congress of Angostura when the Republic of Gran
Colombia was created. Tumbes declared itself independent from
January 17, 1821, and Jaen de Bracamoros on June 17, 1821, without any
outside help from revolutionary armies. However, that same year, 1821,
Peruvian forces participating in the Trujillo revolution occupied both
Jaen and Tumbes. Some Peruvian generals, without any legal titles
backing them up and with
Ecuador still federated with the Gran
Colombia, had the desire to annex
Ecuador to the Republic of
the expense of the Gran Colombia, feeling that
Ecuador was once part
of the Inca Empire.
On July 28, 1821, Peruvian independence was proclaimed in Lima by the
Liberator San Martin and Tumbes and Jaen which were included as part
of the revolution of Trujillo by the Peruvian occupying force, had the
whole region swear allegiance to the new Peruvian flag and
incorporated itself into Peru, even though
Peru was not completely
liberated from Spain. After
Peru was completely liberated from Spain
by the patriot armies led by Bolivar and Antonio Jose de Sucre at the
Battle of Ayacucho
Battle of Ayacucho dated December 9, 1824, there was a strong desire
by some Peruvians to resurrect the
Inca Empire and to include Bolivia
and Ecuador. One of these Peruvian Generals was the Ecuadorian-born
José de La Mar, who became one of Peru's presidents after Bolivar
resigned as dictator of
Peru and returned to Colombia. Gran Colombia
had always protested
Peru for the return of Jaen and Tumbes for almost
a decade, then finally Bolivar after long and futile discussion over
the return of Jaen, Tumbes, and part of Mainas, declared war.
President and General José de La Mar, who was born in Ecuador,
believing his opportunity had come to annex the District of
Peru, personally, with a Peruvian force, invaded and occupied
Guayaquil and a few cities in the Loja region of southern
November 28, 1828.
The war ended when a triumphant heavily outnumbered southern Gran
Colombian army at
Battle of Tarqui
Battle of Tarqui dated February 27, 1829, led by
Antonio José de Sucre, defeated the Peruvian invasion force led by
President La Mar. This defeat led to the signing of the Treaty of
Guayaquil dated September 22, 1829, whereby
Peru and its Congress
recognized Gran Colombian rights over Tumbes, Jaen, and Maynas.
Through protocolized meetings between representatives of
Peru and Gran
Colombia, the border was set as Tumbes river in the west and in the
east the Maranon and Amazon rivers were to be followed toward Brazil
as the most natural borders between them. However, what was pending
was whether the new border around the Jaen region should follow the
Chinchipe river or the Huancabamba river. According to the peace
Peru agreed to return Guayaquil, Tumbez, and Jaén;
Peru returned Guayaquil, but failed to return Tumbes and
Jaén, alleging that it was not obligated to follow the agreements,
Gran Colombia ceased to exist when it divided itself into
three different nations - Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela.
The dissolution of Gran Colombia
Map of the former
Gran Colombia in 1824 (named in its time as
Gran Colombia covered all the colored region.
Ecuador in 1832
The Central District of the Gran Colombia, known as Cundinamarca or
New Granada (modern Colombia) with its capital in Bogota, did not
recognize the separation of the Southern District of the Gran
Colombia, with its capital in Quito, from the Gran Colombian
federation on May 13, 1830. After Ecuador's separation, the Department
of Cauca voluntarily decided to unite itself with
Ecuador due to
instability in the central government of Bogota. President Juan José
Flores with the approval of the Ecuadorian congress annexed the
Department of Cauca
Department of Cauca on December 20, 1830, since the government of
Cauca had called for union with the District of the South as far back
as April 1830. Moreover, the Cauca region throughout its long history
had very strong economic and cultural ties with the people of Ecuador.
Also, the Cauca region which included such cities as Pasto, Popayán,
and Buenaventura had always been dependent on the Presidencia or
Audiencia of Quito.
Fruitless negotiations continued between the governments of Bogotá
and Quito, where the government of Bogotá did not recognize the
Ecuador or that of Cauca from the
Gran Colombia until
war broke out in May 1832. In five months, New Granada defeated
Ecuador due to the fact that the majority of the Ecuadorian Armed
Forces were composed of rebellious angry unpaid veterans from
Colombia that did not want to fight against their fellow
countrymen. Seeing that his officers were rebelling, mutinying, and
changing sides, President Flores had no option but to reluctantly make
peace with New Granada. The Treaty of Pasto of 1832 was signed by
Department of Cauca
Department of Cauca was turned over to New Granada (modern
Colombia), the government of Bogotá recognized
Ecuador as an
independent country and the border was to follow the Ley de División
Territorial de la República de
Colombia (Law of the Division of
Territory of the Gran Colombia) passed on June 25, 1824. This law set
the border at the river
Carchi and the eastern border that stretched
Brazil at the Caquetá river. Later,
Ecuador contended that the
Republic of Colombia, while reorganizing its government, unlawfully
made its eastern border provisional and that
Colombia extended its
claims south to the
Napo River because it said that the Government of
Popayán extended its control all the way to the Napo River.
Struggle for possession of the Amazon Basin
South America (1879): All land claims by Peru, Ecuador, Colombia,
Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and
Bolivia in 1879
Ecuador seceded from the Gran Colombia,
Peru decided not to
follow the treaty of
Guayaquil of 1829 or the protocoled agreements
Peru contested Ecuador's claims with the newly discovered Real
Cedula of 1802, by which
Peru claims the King of
Spain had transferred
these lands from the
Viceroyalty of New Granada
Viceroyalty of New Granada to the Viceroyalty of
Peru. During colonial times this was to halt the ever-expanding
Portuguese settlements into Spanish domains, which were left vacant
and in disorder after the expulsion of Jesuit missionaries from their
bases along the Amazon Basin.
Ecuador countered by labeling the Cedula
of 1802 an ecclesiastical instrument, which had nothing to do with
Peru began its de facto occupation of disputed
Amazonian territories, after it signed a secret 1851 peace treaty in
favor of Brazil. This treaty disregarded Spanish rights that were
confirmed during colonial times by a Spanish-Portuguese treaty over
the Amazon regarding territories held by illegal Portuguese settlers.
Peru began occupying the defenseless missionary villages in the Mainas
or Maynas region which it began calling Loreto with its capital in
Iquitos. During its negotiations with Brazil,
Peru stated that based
on the royal cedula of 1802, it claimed Amazonian Basin territories up
to Caqueta River in the north and toward the
Andes Mountain range,
Colombia of all their claims to the Amazon
Colombia protested stating that its claims extended south
toward the Napo and Amazon Rivers.
Ecuador protested that it claimed
Amazon Basin between the Caqueta river and the Marañon-Amazon
Peru ignored these protests and created the Department of
Loreto in 1853 with its capital in
Iquitos which it had recently
invaded and systematically began to occupy using the river systems in
all the territories claimed by both
Colombia and Ecuador.
Guayaquil again in 1860, since
Peru thought that
selling some of the disputed land for development to British bond
holders, but returned
Guayaquil after a few months. The border dispute
was then submitted to
Spain for arbitration from 1880 to 1910, but to
In the early part of the 20th century
Ecuador made an effort to
peacefully define its eastern Amazonian borders with its neighbours
through negotiation. On May 6, 1904,
Ecuador signed the Tobar-Rio
Branco Treaty recognizing Brazil's claims to the Amazon in recognition
of Ecuador's claim to be an Amazonian country to counter Peru's
earlier Treaty with
Brazil back in October 23, 1851. Then after a few
meetings with the Colombian government's representatives an agreement
was reached and the Muñoz Vernaza-Suarez Treaty was signed July 15,
1916, in which Colombian rights to the Putumayo river were recognized
as well as Ecuador's rights to the Napo river and the new border was a
line that ran midpoint between those two rivers. In this way Ecuador
gave up the claims it had to the Amazonian territories between the
Caquetá River and
Napo River to Colombia, thus cutting itself off
from Brazil. Later a brief war erupted between
Colombia and Peru, over
Peru's claims to the Caquetá region, which ended with the Peru
reluctantly signing the Salomon-Lozano Treaty on March 24, 1922.
Ecuador protested this secret treaty, since
Colombia gave away
Ecuadorian claimed land to
Ecuador had given to
In July 21, 1924 the Ponce-Castro Oyanguren Protocol was signed
Peru where both agreed to hold direct negotiations
and to resolve the dispute in an equitable manner and to submit the
differing points of the dispute to the
United States for arbitration.
Negotiations between the Ecuadorian and Peruvian representatives began
in Washington on September 30, 1935. These negotiations were long and
tiresome. Both sides logically presented their cases, but no one
seemed to give up their claims. Then on February 6, 1937, Ecuador
presented a transactional line which
Peru rejected the next day. The
negotiations turned into intense arguments during the next 7 months
and finally on September 29, 1937 the Peruvian representatives decided
to break off the negotiations without submitting the dispute to
arbitration because the direct negotiations were going nowhere.
Four years later in 1941, amid fast-growing tensions within disputed
territories around the Zarumilla River, war broke out with Peru. Peru
claimed that Ecuador's military presence in Peruvian-claimed territory
was an invasion; Ecuador, for its part, claimed that
Peru had recently
Ecuador around the
Zarumilla River and that
Ecuador's independence from
Spain has systematically occupied Tumbez,
Jaen, and most of the disputed territories in the Amazonian Basin
between the Putomayo and Marañon Rivers. In July 1941, troops were
mobilized in both countries.
Peru had an army of 11,681 troops who
faced a poorly supplied and inadequately armed Ecuadorian force of
2,300, of which only 1,300 were deployed in the southern provinces.
Hostilities erupted on July 5, 1941, when Peruvian forces crossed the
Zarumilla river at several locations, testing the strength and resolve
of the Ecuadorian border troops. Finally, on July 23, 1941, the
Peruvians launched a major invasion, crossing the Zarumilla river in
force and advancing into the Ecuadorian province of El Oro.
Map of Ecuadorian Land Claims after 1916
During the course of the Ecuadorian–Peruvian War,
control over part of the disputed territory and some parts of the
province of El Oro, and some parts of the province of Loja, demanding
that the Ecuadorian government give up its territorial claims. The
Peruvian Navy blocked the port of Guayaquil, almost cutting all
supplies to the Ecuadorian troops. After a few weeks of war and under
pressure by the
United States and several Latin American nations, all
fighting came to a stop.
Peru came to an accord formalized
in the Rio Protocol, signed on January 29, 1942, in favor of
hemispheric unity against the
Axis Powers in
World War II
World War II favouring
Peru with the territory they occupied at the time the war came to an
The 1944 Glorious May Revolution followed a military-civilian
rebellion and a subsequent civic strike which successfully removed
Carlos Arroyo del Río as a dictator from Ecuador's government.
However, a post-Second World War recession and popular unrest led to a
return to populist politics and domestic military interventions in the
1960s, while foreign companies developed oil resources in the
Ecuadorian Amazon. In 1972, construction of the Andean pipeline was
completed. The pipeline brought oil from the east side of the
the coast, making
Ecuador South America's second largest oil exporter.
The pipeline in southern
Ecuador did nothing to resolve tensions
Ecuador and Peru, however.
Ecuadorian troops during the Cenepa War
The Mirage F.1JA (FAE-806) was one aircraft involved in the claimed
shooting down of two Peruvian
Sukhoi Su-22 on February 10, 1995.
Rio Protocol failed to precisely resolve the border along a little
river in the remote Cordillera del Cóndor region in southern Ecuador.
This caused a long-simmering dispute between
Ecuador and Peru, which
ultimately led to fighting between the two countries; first a border
skirmish in January–February 1981 known as the Paquisha Incident,
and ultimately full-scale warfare in January 1995 where the Ecuadorian
military shot down Peruvian aircraft and helicopters and Peruvian
infantry marched into southern Ecuador. Each country blamed the other
for the onset of hostilities, known as the Cenepa War. Sixto Durán
Ballén, the Ecuadorian president, famously declared that he would not
give up a single centimeter of Ecuador. Popular sentiment in Ecuador
became strongly nationalistic against Peru: graffiti could be seen on
the walls of
Quito referring to
Peru as the "
Cain de Latinoamérica",
a reference to the murder of
Abel by his brother
Cain in the Book of
Peru signed the
Brasilia Presidential Act peace agreement
on October 26, 1998, which ended hostilities, and effectively put an
end to the Western Hemisphere's longest running territorial
dispute. The Guarantors of the
Rio Protocol (Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, and the
United States of America) ruled that the border of the
undelineated zone was to be set at the line of the Cordillera del
Ecuador had to give up its decades-old territorial
claims to the eastern slopes of the Cordillera, as well as to the
entire western area of Cenepa headwaters,
Peru was compelled to give
to Ecuador, in perpetual lease but without sovereignty, 1 km2 of
its territory, in the area where the Ecuadorian base of Tiwinza –
focal point of the war – had been located within Peruvian soil and
Ecuadorian Army held during the conflict. The final border
demarcation came into effect on May 13, 1999 and the multi-national
MOMEP (Military Observer Mission for
Ecuador and Peru) troop
deployment withdrew on June 17, 1999.
Military governments (1972–79)
In 1972, a "revolutionary and nationalist" military junta overthrew
the government of Velasco Ibarra. The coup d'état was led by General
Guillermo Rodríguez and executed by navy commander Jorge Queirolo G.
The new president exiled José María Velasco to Argentina. He
remained in power until 1976, when he was removed by another military
government. That military junta was led by Admiral Alfredo Poveda, who
was declared chairman of the Supreme Council. The Supreme Council
included two other members: General Guillermo Durán Arcentales and
General Luis Leoro Franco. The civil society more and more insistently
called for democratic elections. Colonel Richelieu Levoyer, Government
Minister, proposed and implemented a Plan to return to the
constitutional system through universal elections. This plan enabled
the new democratically elected president to assume the duties of the
Return to democracy
Elections were held on April 29, 1979, under a new constitution. Jaime
Roldós Aguilera was elected president, garnering over one million
votes, the most in Ecuadorian history. He took office on August 10, as
the first constitutionally elected president after nearly a decade of
civilian and military dictatorships. In 1980, he founded the Partido
Pueblo, Cambio y Democracia (People, Change, and Democracy Party)
after withdrawing from the Concentración de Fuerzas Populares
(Popular Forces Concentration) and governed until May 24, 1981, when
he died along with his wife and the minister of defense, Marco Subia
Martinez, when his Air Force plane crashed in heavy rain near the
Peruvian border. Many people believe that he was assassinated by the
CIA, given the multiple death threats leveled against
him because of his reformist agenda, deaths in automobile crashes of
two key witnesses before they could testify during the investigation,
and the sometimes contradictory accounts of the incident.
Roldos was immediately succeeded by Vice President Osvaldo Hurtado,
who was followed in 1984 by
León Febres Cordero
León Febres Cordero from the Social
Rodrigo Borja Cevallos
Rodrigo Borja Cevallos of the Democratic Left
(Izquierda Democrática, or ID) party won the presidency in 1988,
running in the runoff election against
Abdalá Bucaram (brother in law
Jaime Roldos and founder of the Ecuadorian Roldosist Party). His
government was committed to improving human rights protection and
carried out some reforms, notably an opening of
Ecuador to foreign
trade. The Borja government concluded an accord leading to the
disbanding of the small terrorist group, "¡Alfaro Vive, Carajo!"
("Alfaro Lives, Dammit!"), named after Eloy Alfaro. However,
continuing economic problems undermined the popularity of the ID, and
opposition parties gained control of Congress in 1999.
The emergence of the
Amerindian population as an active constituency
has added to the democratic volatility of the country in recent years.
The population has been motivated by government failures to deliver on
promises of land reform, lower unemployment and provision of social
services, and historical exploitation by the land-holding elite. Their
movement, along with the continuing destabilizing efforts by both the
elite and leftist movements, has led to a deterioration of the
executive office. The populace and the other branches of government
give the president very little political capital, as illustrated by
the most recent removal of President
Lucio Gutiérrez from office by
Congress in April 2005. Vice President
Alfredo Palacio took his place
and remained in office until the presidential election of 2006, in
Rafael Correa gained the presidency.
In December 2008, president Correa declared Ecuador's national debt
illegitimate, based on the argument that it was odious debt contracted
by corrupt and despotic prior regimes. He announced that the country
would default on over $3 billion worth of bonds; he then pledged to
fight creditors in international courts and succeeded in reducing the
price of outstanding bonds by more than 60%. He brought Ecuador
Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas
Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas in June 2009. To date,
Correa's administration has succeeded in reducing the high levels of
poverty and unemployment in Ecuador.
Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Ecuador
The former President
Rafael Correa assumed office on January 15, 2007
The Ecuadorian State consists of five branches of government: the
Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, the Judicial Branch, the
Electoral Branch, and Transparency and Social Control.
Ecuador is governed by a democratically elected President, for a
four-year term. The current president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno,
exercises his power from the presidential
Palacio de Carondelet
Palacio de Carondelet in
Quito. The current constitution was written by the Ecuadorian
Constituent Assembly elected in 2007, and was approved by referendum
in 2008. Since 1936, voting is compulsory for all literate persons
aged 18–65, optional for all other citizens.
The executive branch includes 23 ministries. Provincial governors and
councilors (mayors, aldermen, and parish boards) are directly elected.
National Assembly of Ecuador
National Assembly of Ecuador meets throughout the year except for
recesses in July and December. There are thirteen permanent
committees. Members of the National Court of Justice are appointed by
the National Judicial Council for nine-year terms.
Main article: List of heads of state of Ecuador
Palacio de Carondelet, the executive branch of the Ecuadorian
The executive branch is led by the president, an office currently held
by Lenin Moreno. He is accompanied by the vice-president, currently
Jorge Glas, elected for four years (with the ability to be re-elected
only once). As head of state and chief government official, he is
responsible for public administration including the appointing of
national coordinators, ministers, ministers of State and public
servants. The executive branch defines foreign policy, appoints the
Chancellor of the Republic, as well as ambassadors and consuls, being
the ultimate authority over the Armed Forces of Ecuador, National
Police of Ecuador, and appointing authorities. The acting president's
wife receives the title of First Lady of Ecuador.
Main article: National Assembly (Ecuador)
The legislative branch is embodied by the National Assembly, which is
headquartered in the city of
Quito in the Legislative Palace, and
consists of 137 assemblymen, divided into ten committees and elected
for a four-year term. Fifteen national constituency elected assembly,
two Assembly members elected from each province and one for every
100,000 inhabitants or fraction exceeding 150,000, according to the
latest national population census. In addition, statute determines the
election of assembly of regions, and metropolitan districts.
Ecuador's judiciary has as its main body the Judicial Council, and
also includes the National Court of Justice, provincial courts, and
lower courts. Legal representation is made by the Judicial Council.
The National Court of Justice is composed of 21 judges elected for a
term of nine years. Judges are renewed by thirds every three years
pursuant to the Judicial Code. These are elected by the Judicial
Council on the basis of opposition proceedings and merits. The justice
system is buttressed by the independent offices of public prosecutor
and the public defender. Auxiliary organs are as follows: notaries,
court auctioneers, and court receivers. Also there is a special legal
regime for Amerindians.
The electoral system functions by authorities which enter only every
four years or when elections or referendums occur. Its main functions
are to organize, control elections, and punish the infringement of
electoral rules. Its main body is the National Electoral Council,
which is based in the city of Quito, and consists of seven members of
the political parties most voted, enjoying complete financial and
administrative autonomy. This body, along with the electoral court,
forms the Electoral Branch which is one of Ecuador's five branches of
Transparency and social control branch
The Transparency and Social Control consists of the Council of Citizen
Participation and Social Control, an ombudsman, the Comptroller
General of the State, and the superintendents. Branch members hold
office for five years. This branch is responsible for promoting
transparency and control plans publicly, as well as plans to design
mechanisms to combat corruption, as also designate certain
authorities, and be the regulatory mechanism of accountability in the
UN's Human Rights Council's (HRC) Universal Periodic Review (UPR) has
treated the restrictions on freedom of expression and efforts to
control NGOs and recommended that
Ecuador should stop the criminal
sanctions for the expression of opinions, and delay in implementing
Ecuador rejected the recommendation on
decriminalization of libel.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch (HRW) President Correa has intimidated
journalists and subjected them to "public denunciation and retaliatory
litigation". The sentences to journalists have been years of
imprisonment and millions of dollars of compensation, even though
defendants have been pardoned. Correa has stated he was only
seeking a retraction for slanderous statements.
According to HRW, Correa's government has weakened the freedom of
press and independence of the judicial system. In Ecuador's current
judicial system, judges are selected in a contest of merits, rather
than government appointments. However, the process of selection has
been criticized as biased and subjective. In particular, the final
interview is said to be given "excessive weighing." Judges and
prosecutors that have made decisions in favor of Correa in his
lawsuits have received permanent posts, while others with better
assessment grades have been rejected.
Galápagos sea lion resting on a park bench in Puerto Baquerizo
The laws also forbid articles and media messages that could favor or
disfavor some political message or candidate. In the first half of
2012, twenty private TV or radio stations were closed down.
In July 2012 the officials warned the judges that they would be
sanctioned and possibly dismissed if they allowed the citizens to
appeal to the protection of their constitutional rights against the
People engaging in public protests against environmental and other
issues are prosecuted for "terrorism and sabotage", which may lead to
an eight-year prison sentence.
Main article: Foreign relations of Ecuador
Ecuador's principal foreign policy objectives have traditionally
included defense of its territory from external aggression and support
for the objectives of the
United Nations and the OAS. Ecuador's
membership in the
OPEC in the 1970s and 1980s allowed Ecuadorian
leaders to exercise somewhat greater foreign policy autonomy. In
Ecuador has maintained a peaceful research station for
scientific study as a member nation of the Antarctica Treaty. Ecuador
has often placed great emphasis on multilateral approaches to
Ecuador is a member of the
United Nations (and
most of its specialized agencies) and a member of many regional
groups, including the Rio Group, the Latin American Economic System,
the Latin American Energy Organization, the Latin American Integration
Association, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America,
the Andean Community of Nations, the Union of South American Nations
(UNASUR), and The
Bank of the South
Bank of the South (Spanish: Banco del Sur or
Provinces of Ecuador
Provinces of Ecuador and Cantons of Ecuador
Ecuador is divided into 24 provinces (Spanish: provincias), each with
its own administrative capital:
Map of Ecuador
Extent of Ecuador's western
EEZ in the Pacific
Administrative divisions of Ecuador
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
Puerto Francisco de Orellana
Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas
The provinces are divided into cantons and further subdivided into
Regions and planning areas
Regionalization, or zoning, is the union of two or more adjoining
provinces in order to decentralize the administrative functions of the
capital Quito. In
Ecuador there are seven regions or zones, each
shaped by the following provinces:
Region 1 (42,126 km², or 16,265 mi2): Esmeraldas, Carchi,
Imbabura, and Sucumbios. Administrative city: Ibarra
Region 2 (43,498 km², or 16,795 mi2): Pichincha, Napo, and
Orellana. Administrative city: Tena
Region 3 (44,710 km², or 17,263 mi2): Chimborazo,
Tungurahua, Pastaza, and Cotopaxi. Administrative city: Riobamba
Region 4 (22,257 km², or 8,594 mi2): Manabí and Santo
Domingo de los Tsachilas. Administrative city: Ciudad Alfaro
Region 5 (38,420 km², or 14,834 mi2): Santa Elena, Guayas,
Los Ríos, Galápagos, and Bolívar. Administrative city: Milagro
Region 6 (38,237 km², or 14,763 mi2): Cañar, Azuay, and
Morona Santiago. Administrative city: Cuenca
Region 7 (27,571 km², or 10,645 mi2): El Oro, Loja, and
Zamora Chinchipe. Administrative city: Loja
Guayaquil are Metropolitan Districts. Galápagos, despite
being included within Region 5, is also under a special unit.
Main article: Military of Ecuador
Puma helicopter from the Army's Aviation Branch
Ecuadorian Air Force
Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE)
BAE Shyri (SS-101) (es) from the Ecuadorian Navy.
The Ecuadorian Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas del Ecuador), consists of
the Army, Air Force, and Navy and have the stated responsibility for
the preservation of the integrity and national sovereignty of the
The military tradition starts in Gran Colombia, where a sizable army
was stationed in
Ecuador due to border disputes with Peru, which
claimed territories under its political control when it was a Spanish
Gran Colombia was dissolved after the death of
Simón Bolívar in 1830,
Ecuador inherited the same border disputes
and had the need of creating its own professional military force. So
influential was the military in
Ecuador in the early republican period
that its first decade was under the control of General Juan Jose
Flores, first president of
Ecuador of Venezuelan origin. General Jose
Ma. Urbina and General Robles are examples of military figures who
became presidents of the country in the early republican period.
Due to the continuous border disputes with Peru, finally settled in
the early 2000s, and due to the ongoing problem with the Colombian
guerrilla insurgency infiltrating Amazonian provinces, the Ecuadorian
Armed Forces has gone through a series of changes. In 2009, the new
administration at the Defense Ministry launched a deep restructuring
within the forces, increasing spending budget to $1,691,776,803, an
increase of 25%.
The icons of the Ecuadorian military forces are the Marshall Antonio
José de Sucre and General Eloy Alfaro. The Military Academy General
Eloy Alfaro (c. 1838) graduates the army officers and is located in
Ecuadorian Navy Academy (c. 1837), located in Salinas
graduates the navy officers, and the Air Academy "Cosme Rennella
(c. 1920), also located in Salinas, graduates the air force
officers. Other training academies for different military
specialties are found across the country.
Main article: Geography of Ecuador
A view of the
Cotopaxi volcano, in
birds in the Yasuni National Park
Ecuador has a total area of 283,561 km2
(109,484 sq mi), including the
Galápagos Islands. Of this,
276,841 km2 (106,889 sq mi) is land and 6,720 km2
(2,595 sq mi) water.
Ecuador is bigger than Uruguay,
Guyana and French
Guyana in South America.
Ecuador lies between latitudes 2°N and 5°S, bounded on the west by
the Pacific Ocean, and has 2,337 km (1,452 mi) of coastline.
It has 2,010 km (1,250 mi) of land boundaries, with Colombia
in the north 590 km (367 mi) border and
Peru in the east and
south 1,420 km (882 mi) border. It is the westernmost
country that lies on the equator.
The country has four main geographic regions:
La Costa, or "the coast": The coastal region consists of the provinces
to the West of the Andean range – Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los
Ríos, Manabí, El Oro, Santa Elena. It is the country's most fertile
and productive land, and is the seat of the large banana exportation
plantations of the companies Dole and Chiquita. This region is also
where most of Ecuador's rice crop is grown. The truly coastal
provinces have active fisheries. The largest coastal city is
La Sierra, or "the highlands": The sierra consists of the Andean and
Interandean highland provinces – Azuay, Cañar, Carchi,
Chimborazo, Imbabura, Loja, Pichincha, and Tungurahua. This land
contains most of Ecuador's volcanoes and all of its snow-capped peaks.
Agriculture is focused on the traditional crops of potato, maize, and
quinua and the population is predominantly
Amerindian Kichua. The
largest Sierran city is Quito.
La Amazonía, also known as El Oriente, or "the east": The oriente
consists of the Amazon jungle provinces – Morona Santiago,
Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbíos, and Zamora-Chinchipe. This region
is primarily made up of the huge Amazon national parks and Amerindian
untouchable zones, which are vast stretches of land set aside for the
Amerindian tribes to continue living traditionally. It is also
the area with the largest reserves of petroleum in Ecuador, and parts
of the upper Amazon here have been extensively exploited by petroleum
companies. The population is primarily mixed
Huaorani and Kichua, although there are numerous tribes in the deep
jungle which are little-contacted. The largest city in the Oriente is
probably Lago Agrio in Sucumbíos, although Macas in Morona Santiago
runs a close second.
La Región Insular is the region comprising the
some 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland in the
Ecuador's capital is Quito, which is in the province of Pichincha in
the Sierra region. Its largest city is Guayaquil, in the Guayas
Province. Cotopaxi, just south of Quito, is one of the world's highest
active volcanoes. The top of Mount
Chimborazo (6,268 m, or
20,560 ft, above sea level), Ecuador's tallest mountain, is the
most distant point from the center of the Earth on the Earth's surface
because of the ellipsoid shape of the planet.
Main article: Climate of Ecuador
Ecuador map of Köppen climate classification.
There is great variety in the climate, largely determined by altitude.
It is mild year-round in the mountain valleys, with a humid
subtropical climate in coastal areas and rainforest in lowlands. The
Pacific coastal area has a tropical climate with a severe rainy
season. The climate in the Andean highlands is temperate and
relatively dry, and the
Amazon basin on the eastern side of the
mountains shares the climate of other rainforest zones.
Because of its location at the equator,
Ecuador experiences little
variation in daylight hours during the course of a year. Both sunrise
and sunset occur each day at the two six o'clock hours.
Main article: Rivers of Ecuador
Baños de Agua Santa
Baños de Agua Santa is an important tourist site
Andes is the watershed divisor between the Amazon watershed, which
runs to the east, and the Pacific, including the north–south rivers
Mataje, Santiago, Esmeraldas, Chone, Guayas, Jubones, and
Almost all of the rivers in
Ecuador form in the La Sierra region and
flow east toward the
Amazon River or west toward the Pacific Ocean.
The rivers rise from snowmelt at the edges of the snowcapped peaks or
from the abundant precipitation that falls at higher elevations. In
the La Sierra region, the streams and rivers are narrow and flow
rapidly over precipitous slopes. Rivers may slow and widen as they
cross the hoyas yet become rapid again as they flow from the heights
Andes to the lower elevations of the other regions. The
highland rivers broaden as they enter the more level areas of the
Costa and the Oriente.
A beach of Salinas, Santa Elena Province
In the Costa, the external coast has mostly intermittent rivers that
are fed by constant rains from December through May and become empty
riverbeds during the dry season. The few exceptions are the longer,
perennial rivers that flow throughout the external coast from the
internal coast and La Sierra on their way to the Pacific Ocean. The
internal coast, by contrast, is crossed by perennial rivers that may
flood during the rainy season, sometimes forming swamps.
Major rivers in the Oriente include the Pastaza, Napo, and Putumayo.
The Pastaza is formed by the confluence of the Chambo and the Patate
rivers, both of which rise in the Sierra. The Pastaza includes the
Agoyan waterfall, which at sixty-one meters (200 feet) is the highest
waterfall in Ecuador. The Napo rises near Mount
Cotopaxi and is the
major river used for transport in the eastern lowlands. The Napo
ranges in width from 500 to 1,800 m (1,600 to 5,900 ft). In
its upper reaches, the Napo flows rapidly until the confluence with
one of its major tributaries, the Coca River, where it slows and
levels off. The Putumayo forms part of the border with Colombia. All
of these rivers flow into the Amazon River. The
have no significant rivers. Several of the larger islands, however,
have freshwater springs although they are surrounded by the Pacific
Ecuador is one of the most megadiverse countries in the world, it also
has the most biodiversity per square kilometer of any nation, and is
one of the highest endemism worldwide. In the image the Spectacled
bear of the Andes.
Ecuador is one of seventeen megadiverse countries in the world
according to Conservation International, and it has the most
biodiversity per square kilometer of any nation.
Ecuador has 1,600 bird species (15% of the world's known bird species)
in the continental area and 38 more endemic in the Galápagos. In
addition to over 16,000 species of plants, the country has 106 endemic
reptiles, 138 endemic amphibians, and 6,000 species of butterfly. The
Galápagos Islands are well known as a region of distinct fauna,
famous as the place of birth of Darwin's
Theory of Evolution
Theory of Evolution and a
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ecuador has the first constitution to recognize the rights of
nature. The protection of the nation's biodiversity is an explicit
national priority as stated in the National Plan of "Buen Vivir", or
good living, Objective 4, "Guarantee the rights of nature", Policy 1:
"Sustainably conserve and manage the natural heritage, including its
land and marine biodiversity, which is considered a strategic
sector". As of the writing of the Plan in 2008, 19% of Ecuador's
land area was in a protected area; however, the Plan also states that
32% of the land must be protected in order to truly preserve the
nation's biodiversity. Current protected areas include 11 national
parks, 10 wildlife refuges, 9 ecological reserves, and other
areas. A program begun in 2008, Sociobosque, is preserving another
2.3% of total land area (6,295 km², or 629,500 ha) by paying
private landowners or community landowners (such as
incentives to maintain their land as native ecosystems such as native
forests or grasslands. Eligibility and subsidy rates for this program
are determined based on the poverty in the region, the number of
hectares that will be protected, and the type of ecosystem of the land
to be protected, among other factors.
Despite being on the
UNESCO list, the
Galápagos are endangered by a
range of negative environmental effects, threatening the existence of
this exotic ecosystem. Additionally, oil exploitation of the
Amazon rainforest has led to the release of billions of gallons of
untreated wastes, gas, and crude oil into the environment,
contaminating ecosystems and causing detrimental health effects to
Main article: Economy of Ecuador
Tree map of products exported by
Ecuador in the HS4 product
Ecuador has a developing economy that is highly dependent on
commodities, namely petroleum and agricultural products. The country
is classified as a medium-income country. Ecuador's economy is the
eighth largest in Latin America and experienced an average growth of
4.6% between 2000 and 2006. From 2007 to 2012 Ecuador's GDP grew
at an annual average of 4.3 percent, above the average for Latin
America and the Caribbean, which was 3.5%, according to the United
Nations' Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean
Ecuador was able to maintain relatively superior growth
during the crisis. In January 2009 the
Central Bank of Ecuador (BCE)
put the 2010 growth forecast at 6.88%. In 2011 its GDP grew at 8%
and ranked 3rd highest in Latin America, behind
Argentina (2nd) and
Panama (1st). Between 1999 and 2007, GDP doubled, reaching $65,490
million according to BCE. Inflation rate up to January 2008 was
located about 1.14%, the highest recorded in the last year, according
to the government. The monthly unemployment rate remained at
about 6 and 8 percent from December 2007 until September 2008;
however, it went up to about 9 percent in October and dropped again in
November 2008 to 8 percent. Unemployment mean annual rate for 2009
Ecuador was 8.5% because the global economic crisis continued to
affect the Latin American economies. From this point unemployment
rates started a downward trend: 7.6% in 2010, 6.0% in 2011, and 4.8%
The extreme poverty rate has declined significantly between 1999 and
2010. In 2001 it was estimated at 40% of the population, while by
2011 the figure dropped to 17.4% of the total population. This is
explained to an extent by emigration and the economic stability
achieved after adopting the U.S. dollar as official means of
transaction. However, starting in 2008 with the bad economic
performance of the nations where most Ecuadorian emigrants work, the
reduction of poverty has been realized through social spending mainly
in education and health.
United States dollar
United States dollar is the common currency circulation in
Oil accounts for 40% of exports and contributes to maintaining a
positive trade balance. Since the late 1960s, the exploitation of
oil increased production, and proven reserves are estimated at 6.51
billion barrels as of 2011[update].
The overall trade balance for August 2012 was a surplus of almost $390
million for the first six months of 2012, a huge figure compared with
that of 2007, which reached only $5.7 million; the surplus had risen
by about $425 million compared to 2006. The oil trade balance
positive had revenues of $3.295 million in 2008, while non-oil was
negative, amounting to $2.842 million. The trade balance with the
United States, Chile, the European Union, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, and
Mexico is positive. The trade balance with Argentina, Colombia, and
Asia is negative.
In the agricultural sector,
Ecuador is a major exporter of bananas
(first place worldwide in production and export), flowers, and the
seventh largest producer of cocoa.
Ecuador also produces coffee,
rice, potatoes, cassava (manioc, tapioca), plantains and sugarcane;
cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork and dairy products; fish, and shrimp;
and balsa wood. The country's vast resources include large amounts
of timber across the country, like eucalyptus and mangroves. Pines
and cedars are planted in the region of La Sierra and walnuts,
rosemary, and balsa wood in the
Guayas River Basin. The industry
is concentrated mainly in Guayaquil, the largest industrial center,
and in Quito, where in recent years the industry has grown
considerably. This city is also the largest business center of the
country. Industrial production is directed primarily to the
domestic market. Despite this, there is limited
export of products produced or processed industrially.[citation
needed] These include canned foods, liquor, jewelry, furniture, and
more. A minor industrial activity is also
concentrated in Cuenca. The incomes due to the tourism have been
increasing during the last years because of the efforts of the
Government of showing the variety of climates and the biodiversity in
World Trade Center headquarters in Guayaquil
Ecuador has negotiated bilateral treaties with other countries,
besides belonging to the Andean Community of Nations, and an
associate member of Mercosur. It also serves on the World Trade
Organization (WTO), in addition to the Inter-American Development Bank
(IDB), World Bank,
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund (IMF), Corporación
Andina de Fomento (CAF) and other multilateral agencies.
In April 2007,
Ecuador paid off its debt to the IMF, thus ending an
era of interventionism of the Agency in the country.
The public finance of
Ecuador consists of the Central Bank of Ecuador
(BCE), the National Development Bank (BNF), the State Bank.
Main article: Tourism in Ecuador
The historic center of
Quito has one of the largest and best-preserved
historic centers in the Americas. The city also houses a large
number of museums.
The Ministry of Information and Tourism was created on August 10,
1992, at the beginning of the government of Sixto Durán Ballén, who
viewed tourism as a fundamental activity for the economic and social
development of the peoples. Faced with the growth of the tourism
sector, in June 1994, the decision was taken to separate tourism from
information, so that it is exclusively dedicated to promoting and
strengthening this activity.
Ecuador is a country with vast natural wealth. The diversity of its
four regions has given rise to thousands of species of flora and
fauna. It has around 1640 kinds of birds. The species of butterflies
border the 4,500, the reptiles 345, the amphibians 358 and the mammals
258, among others. Not in vain,
Ecuador is considered one of the 17
countries where the planet's highest biodiversity is concentrated,
being also the largest country with diversity per km2 in the world.
Most of its fauna and flora lives in 26 protected areas by the State.
Also, it has a huge culture spectrum. Since 2007, with the government
of Rafael Correa, the tourism brand "
Ecuador Ama la Vida" has been
transformed, with which the nation's tourism promotion would be sold.
Focused on considering it as a country friendly and respectful of the
nature, natural biodiversity and cultural diversity of the peoples.
And for this, means of exploiting them are developed along with the
The country has two cities
UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
Cuenca, as well as two natural
UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the
Galapagos Islands and
Sangay National Park
Sangay National Park in addition to one World
Biosphere Reserve, such as the Cajas massif. Culturally, the Toquilla
straw hat and the culture of the Zapara indigenous people are
recognized. The most popular sites for national and foreign tourists
have different nuances due to the various tourist activities offered
by the country.
Among the main tourist destinations are:
Nature attractions: Galapagos Islands, Yasuni National Park, El Cajas
National Park, Sangay National Park, Podocarpus National Park,
Vilcabamba, Baños de Agua Santa.
Cultural attractions: Historic center of Quito, Ciudad Mitad del
Mundo, Ingapirca, Historic center of Cuenca,
Latacunga and its Mama
Antisana volcano, Cayambe volcano, Chimborazo
Cotopaxi volcano, Illinizas volcanoes.
Beaches: Crucita, Atacames, Bahía de Caráquez, Esmeraldas, Manta,
The Trolebús bus rapid transit system that runs through Quito. It is
the principal BRT in Ecuador.
Ecuador (interactive map)
Main article: Transport in Ecuador
The rehabilitation and reopening of the Ecuadorian railroad and use of
it as a tourist attraction is one of the recent developments in
The roads of
Ecuador in recent years have undergone important
improvement. The major routes are Pan American (under enhancement from
four to six lanes from Rumichaca to Ambato, the conclusion of 4 lanes
on the entire stretch of Ambato and
Riobamba and running via Riobamba
to Loja). In the absence of the section between Loja and the border
with Peru, there are the Route Espondilus and/or Ruta del Sol
(oriented to travel along the Ecuadorian coastline) and the Amazon
backbone (which crosses from north to south along the Ecuadorian
Amazon, linking most and more major cities of it).
Another major project is developing the road Manta – Tena, the
Guayaquil – Salinas Highway Aloag Santo Domingo, Riobamba
– Macas (which crosses Sangay National Park). Other new developments
include the National Unity bridge complex in Guayaquil, the bridge
over the Napo river in Francisco de Orellana, the Esmeraldas River
Bridge in the city of the same name, and, perhaps the most remarkable
of all, the Bahia – San Vincente Bridge, being the largest on the
Latin American Pacific coast.
Mariscal Sucre International Airport
Mariscal Sucre International Airport in
Quito and the José
Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in
Guayaquil have experienced
a high increase in demand and have required modernization. In the case
Guayaquil it involved a new air terminal, once considered the best
South America and the best in Latin America and in
an entire new airport has been built in Tababela and was inaugurated
in February 2013, with Canadian assistance. However, the main road
Quito city centre to the new airport will only be
finished in late 2014, making current travelling from the airport to
Quito as long as two hours during rush hour. Quito's old
city-centre airport is being turned into parkland, with some light
Electrical power outlets
Electrical power outlets in
Ecuador are the same as in the US (110v).
Mobile (cellular) phone frequencies
Mobile (cellular) phone frequencies in
Ecuador are 850 MHz,
1900 MHz, and 1700/2100 MHz (LTE).
Main article: Ecuadorian people
Three mulattomen from Esmeraldas by Andrés Sánchez Galque. Paiting
Quito Painting Colonial School.
Portrait of a noble lady with her black slave by Vicente Albán.
Paiting of 1783.
Quito Painting Colonial School.
Ecuador's population is ethnically diverse and the 2016 estimates put
Ecuador's population at 16,385,068. The largest ethnic group (as of
2010[update]) is the Mestizos, who are the descendants of Spanish
colonists that interbred with
Amerindian peoples, and constitute about
71% of the population. The White
Ecuadorians (White Latin American)
account for 6.1% of the population of
Ecuador and can be found
throughout all of
Ecuador primarily around the urban areas. Even
though Ecuador's white population during its colonial era were mainly
descendants from Spain, today Ecuador's white population is a result
of a mixture of European immigrants, predominantly from
people from Italy, France, Germany, and Switzerland who have settled
in the early 20th century.
Ecuador also has people of middle eastern
extraction that have also joined the ranks of the white minority.
These include economically well off immigrants of Lebanese and
Palestinian descent, who are either Christian or Muslim (Islam in
Ecuador). In addition, there is a small European Jewish (Ecuadorian
Jews) population, which is based mainly in
Quito and to a lesser
extent in Guayaquil. Amerindians account for 7% of the current
population. The mostly rural
Montubio population of the coastal
provinces of Ecuador, who might be classified as
Pardo account for
7.4% of the population. The Afro-
Ecuadorians is a minority population
(7%) in Ecuador, that includes the Mulattos and zambos, and are
largely based in the Esmeraldas province and to a lesser degree in the
Mestizo provinces of Coastal
Ecuador - Guayas and
Manabi. In the Highland
Andes where a predominantly Mestizo, white and
Amerindian population exist, the African presence is almost
non-existent except for a small community in the province of Imbabura
called Chota Valley.
Main article: Religion in Ecuador
Iglesia de San Sebastián church in Cuenca
Religion in Ecuador
According to the Ecuadorian National Institute of Statistics and
Census, 91.95% of the country's population have a religion, 7.94% are
atheists and 0.11% are agnostics. Among the people that have a
religion, 80.44% are
Latin Rite (see List of Roman
Catholic dioceses in Ecuador), 11.30% are
Jehovah's Witnesses and 6.97% other (mainly Jewish,
Buddhists and Latter-day Saints).
Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco in Quito
In the rural parts of Ecuador,
Amerindian beliefs and Catholicism are
sometimes syncretized. Most festivals and annual parades are based on
religious celebrations, many incorporating a mixture of rites and
There is a small number of Eastern Orthodox Christians, Amerindian
religions, Muslims (see Islam in Ecuador), Buddhists and Bahá'í.
According to their own estimates, The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints accounts for about 1.4% of the population, or
211,165 members at the end of 2012. According to their own
sources, in 2012 there were 77,323
Jehovah's Witnesses in the
The first Jews arrived in
Ecuador in the 16th and 17th centuries. Most
of them are
Anusim (Crypto-Jews) and many still speak
Judaeo-Spanish (Ladino) language. Today the
Jewish Community of
Ecuador (Comunidad Judía del Ecuador) has its
Quito and has approximately 200 members. Nevertheless, this
number is declining because young people leave the country for the
United States or Israel. The Community has a Jewish Center with a
synagogue, a country club, and a cemetery. It supports the "Albert
Einstein School", where Jewish history, religion, and
are offered. There are very small communities in Cuenca. The
"Comunidad de Culto Israelita" reunites the Jews of Guayaquil. This
community works independently from the "Jewish Community of Ecuador"
and is composed of only 30 people.
Main article: Indigenous peoples in Ecuador
Ethnic groups in Ecuador
Amerindian and White)
The Ecuadorian constitution recognizes the "pluri-nationality" of
those who want to exercise their affiliation with their native ethnic
groups. Thus, in addition to criollos, mestizos, and Afro-Ecuadorians,
some people belong to the
Amerindian nations scattered in a few places
in the coast, Quechua Andean villages, and the Amazonian jungle.
According to a 2015 genealogical DNA testing, the average Ecuadorian
is estimated to be 52.96% Native American, 41.77% European, and 5.26%
Sub-Saharan African overall.
The majority of
Ecuadorians live in the central provinces, the Andes
mountains, or along the Pacific coast. The tropical forest region to
the east of the mountains (El Oriente) remains sparsely populated and
contains only about 3% of the population. Birth rate is 2-1 for each
death. Marriages are usually from 14 and above using parental consent.
About 12.4% of the population is married in the ages 15–19. Divorce
rates are moderate.
Population cities (2010)
Largest cities of Ecuador
2 710 915
2 342 191
Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas
Status According to the 2010 Census
Immigration and emigration
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August
See also: Emigration from Ecuador
A small east
Asian Latino community, estimated at 2,500, mainly
consists of those of Japanese and Chinese descent, whose ancestors
arrived as miners, farmhands and fishermen in the late 19th
In the early years of World War II,
Ecuador still admitted a certain
number of immigrants, and in 1939, when several South American
countries refused to accept 165 Jewish refugees from Germany aboard
the ship Koenigstein,
Ecuador granted them entry permits.
In recent years,
Ecuador has grown in popularity among North American
expatriates. They're drawn there by the authentic cultural
experience and beautiful natural surroundings. Also, Ecuador's
favorable residency options make for an easy transition for those who
decide to settle there indefinitely.
Another perk that draws many expats to
Ecuador is its low cost of
living. Since everything from gas to groceries costs far less than in
North America, it's a popular choice for those who are looking to make
the most of their retirement budget.
Even real estate in
Ecuador is much less than its tropical
counterparts. However, as more and more North Americans are
discovering Ecuador's potential, property prices are beginning to rise
from where they were a decade ago, particularly in the areas that are
popular among expats and tourists.
Main article: Culture of Ecuador
Cañari children with the typical Andean indigenous clothes
Ecuador's mainstream culture is defined by its Hispanic mestizo
majority, and, like their ancestry, it is traditionally of Spanish
heritage, influenced in different degrees by
Amerindian traditions and
in some cases by African elements. The first and most substantial wave
of modern immigration to
Ecuador consisted of Spanish colonists,
following the arrival of Europeans in 1499. A lower number of other
Europeans and North Americans migrated to the country in the late 19th
and early twentieth centuries and, in smaller numbers, Poles,
Lithuanians, English, Irish, and Croats during and after the Second
Huaorani man with the typical Amazonian indigenous clothes
Since African slavery was not the workforce of the Spanish colonies in
Andes Mountains, given the subjugation of the
through proselytization and encomiendas, the minority population of
African descent is mostly found in the coastal northern province of
Esmeraldas. This is largely owing to the 17th-century shipwreck of a
slave-trading galleon off the northern coast of Ecuador. The few black
African survivors swam to the shore and penetrated the then-thick
jungle under the leadership of Anton, the chief of the group, where
they remained as free men maintaining their original culture, not
influenced by the typical elements found in other provinces of the
coast or in the Andean region. A little later, freed slaves from
Colombia known as cimarrones joined them. In the small Chota Valley of
the province of Imbabura exists a small community of Africans among
the province's predominantly mestizo population. These blacks are
descendants of Africans, who were brought over from
Jesuits to work their colonial sugar plantations as slaves. As a
general rule, small elements of zambos and mulattoes coexisted among
the overwhelming mestizo population of coastal
Ecuador throughout its
history as gold miners in Loja, Zaruma, and Zamora and as shipbuilders
and plantation workers around the city of Guayaquil. Today you can
find a small community of Africans in the Catamayo valley of the
predominantly mestizo population of Loja.
Amerindian communities are integrated into the mainstream
culture to varying degrees, but some may also practice their own
native cultures, particularly the more remote
of the Amazon basin. Spanish is spoken as the first language by more
than 90% of the population and as a first or second language by more
than 98%. Part of Ecuador's population can speak
in some cases as a second language. Two percent of the population
Main article: Languages of Ecuador
Languages in Ecuador
Ecuadorians speak Spanish, though many speak
Kichwa (also spelt Quichua), which is one of the Quechuan
languages and is spoken by approximately 2.5 million people in
Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. Other
Ecuador include Awapit (spoken by the Awá), A'ingae (spoken
by the Cofan),
Shuar Chicham (spoken by the Shuar), Achuar-Shiwiar
(spoken by the Achuar and the Shiwiar), Cha'palaachi (spoken by the
Chachi), Tsa'fiki (spoken by the Tsáchila), Paicoca (spoken by the
Siona and Secoya), and Wao Tededeo (spoken by the Waorani). Though
most features of Ecuadorian Spanish are those universal to the
Spanish-speaking world, there are several idiosyncrasies.
Main article: Music of Ecuador
Julio Jaramillo is an icon of the old
Bolero music genre.
The music of
Ecuador has a long history.
Pasillo is a genre of
indigenous Latin music. In
Ecuador it is the "national genre of
music". Through the years, many cultures have brought their influences
together to create new types of music. There are also different kinds
of traditional music like albazo, pasacalle, fox incaico, tonada,
capishca, Bomba (highly established in
Afro-Ecuadorian societies), and
Tecnocumbia and Rockola are clear examples of the influence of
foreign cultures. One of the most traditional forms of dancing in
Ecuador is Sanjuanito. It's originally from northern Ecuador
(Otavalo-Imbabura). Sanjuanito is a type of dance music played during
festivities by the mestizo and
Amerindian communities. According to
the Ecuadorian musicologist Segundo Luis Moreno, Sanjuanito was danced
Amerindian people during San Juan Bautista's birthday. This
important date was established by the Spaniards on June 24,
coincidentally the same date when
Amerindian people celebrated their
rituals of Inti Raymi.
See also: List of Ecuadorian dishes and foods
Ceviche ecuatoriano (Ecuadorian-style ceviche) and Cuy asado (grilled
guinea pig) are some of the typical dishes.
Ecuadorian cuisine is diverse, varying with the altitude and
associated agricultural conditions. Most regions in
Ecuador follow the
traditional three course meal of soup, a course that includes rice and
a protein, and then dessert and coffee to finish. Supper is usually
lighter and sometimes consists only of coffee or herbal tea with
In the highland region, pork, chicken, beef, and cuy (guinea pig) are
popular and are served with a variety of grains (especially rice and
corn) or potatoes.
In the coastal region, seafood is very popular, with fish, shrimp, and
ceviche being key parts of the diet. Generally, ceviches are served
with fried plantain (chifles y patacones), popcorn, or tostado.
Plantain- and peanut-based dishes are the basis of most coastal meals.
Encocados (dishes that contain a coconut sauce) are also very popular.
Churrasco is a staple food of the coastal region, especially
Guayaquil. Arroz con menestra y carne asada (rice with beans and
grilled beef) is one of the traditional dishes of Guayaquil, as is
fried plantain, which is often served with it. This region is a
leading producer of bananas, Cocoa beans (to make chocolate), shrimp,
tilapia, mango, and passion fruit, among other products.[citation
In the Amazon region, a dietary staple is the yuca, elsewhere called
cassava. Many fruits are available in this region, including bananas,
tree grapes, and peach palms.
Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Quito
Centro Cultural Metropolitano in the historic center of Quito
Early literature in colonial Ecuador, as in the rest of Spanish
America, was influenced by the Spanish Golden Age. One of the earliest
examples is Jacinto Collahuazo, an
Amerindian chief of a northern
village in today's Ibarra, born in the late 1600s. Despite the early
repression and discrimination of the native people by the Spanish,
Collahuazo learned to read and write in Castilian, but his work was
written in Quechua. The use of
Quipu was banned by the Spanish,
and in order to preserve their work, many Inca poets had to resort to
the use of the Latin alphabet to write in their native Quechua
language. The history behind the Inca drama "Ollantay", the oldest
literary piece in existence for any
Amerindian language in
America, shares some similarities with the work of Collahuazo.
Collahuazo was imprisoned and all of his work burned. The existence of
his literary work came to light many centuries later, when a crew of
masons was restoring the walls of a colonial church in
Quito and found
a hidden manuscript. The salvaged fragment is a Spanish translation
from Quechua of the "Elegy to the Dead of Atahualpa", a poem
written by Collahuazo, which describes the sadness and impotence of
the Inca people of having lost their king Atahualpa.
Other early Ecuadorian writers include the Jesuits Juan Bautista
Aguirre, born in Daule in 1725, and Father Juan de Velasco, born in
Riobamba in 1727. De Velasco wrote about the nations and chiefdoms
that had existed in the Kingdom of
Quito (today Ecuador) before the
arrival of the Spanish. His historical accounts are nationalistic,
featuring a romantic perspective of precolonial history.
Famous authors from the late colonial and early republic period
include Eugenio Espejo, a printer and main author of the first
newspaper in Ecuadorian colonial times;
Jose Joaquin de Olmedo
Jose Joaquin de Olmedo (born
in Guayaquil), famous for his ode to
Simón Bolívar titled Victoria
de Junin; Juan Montalvo, a prominent essayist and novelist; Juan Leon
Mera, famous for his work "Cumanda" or "Tragedy among Savages" and the
Ecuadorian National Anthem; Juan A. Martinez with A la Costa';,
Dolores Veintimilla; and others.
Contemporary Ecuadorian writers include the novelist Jorge Enrique
Adoum; the poet Jorge Carrera Andrade; the essayist Benjamín
Carrión; the poets Medardo Angel Silva, Jorge Carrera Andrade, and
Luis Alberto Costales; the novelist Enrique Gil Gilbert; the novelist
Jorge Icaza (author of the novel Huasipungo, translated to many
languages); the short story author Pablo Palacio; and the novelist
Alicia Yanez Cossio.
In spite of Ecuador's considerable mystique, it is rarely featured as
a setting in contemporary western literature. One exception is "The
Ecuadorian Deception," a murder mystery/thriller authored by American
Bear Mills. In it, George d'Hout, a website designer from the United
States is lured under false pretenses to Guayaquil. A corrupt American
archaeologist is behind the plot, believing d'Hout holds the keys to
locating a treasure hidden by a buccaneer ancestor. The story is based
on a real pirate by the name of George d'Hout who terrorized Guayaquil
in the 16th Century.
The best known art styles from
Ecuador belonged to the Escuela
Quito School), which developed from the 16th to 18th
centuries, examples of which are on display in various old churches in
Ecuadorian painters include Eduardo Kingman, Oswaldo
Camilo Egas from the Indiginist Movement; Manuel
Rendon, Jaime Zapata, Enrique Tábara, Aníbal Villacís, Theo
Constanté, Luis Molinari, Araceli Gilbert, Judith Gutierrez, Felix
Estuardo Maldonado from the Informalist Movement; Teddy
Cobeña from expressionism and figurative style and Luis
Burgos Flor with his abstract, futuristic style. The
of Tigua, Ecuador, are also world-renowned for their
Main article: Sport in Ecuador
Jefferson Pérez, Olympic gold medalist
Estadio Monumental Isidro Romero Carbo
Estadio Monumental Isidro Romero Carbo of Guayaquil.
The most popular sport in Ecuador, as in most South American
countries, is football. Its best known professional teams include Liga
Quito from Quito; Emelec from Guayaquil; Deportivo Quito, and El
Nacional from Quito; Olmedo from Riobamba; and Deportivo Cuenca from
Cuenca. Currently the most successful football team in
Ecuador is LDU
Quito, and it is the only Ecuadorian team that has won the Copa
Libertadores, the Copa Sudamericana, and the Recopa Sudamericana; they
were also runners-up in the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup. The matches of
the Ecuadorian national team are the most-watched sporting events in
the country.
Ecuador has qualified for the final
rounds of the 2002, the 2006, & the 2014 FIFA World Cups. The 2002
FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign was considered a huge success for
the country and its inhabitants. The unusually high
elevation of the home stadium in
Quito often affects the performance
of visiting teams.
Ecuador finished in 2nd place in the CONMEBOL
Argentina and above the team that would become World
Champions, Brazil. In the 2006 FIFA World Cup,
Ecuador finished ahead
of Poland and
Costa Rica finishing second behind Germany in Group A in
the 2006 World Cup. They were defeated by England in the second round.
Ecuador has won only two medals in the Olympic Games, both gained by
20-km (12 mi) racewalker Jefferson Pérez, who took gold in the
1996 games and silver 12 years later. Pérez also set a world best in
the 2003 World Championships of 1:17:21 for the 20-km (12 mi)
Main article: Health in Ecuador
IESS Hospital in Latacunga
The current structure of the Ecuadorian public health care system
dates back to 1967. The Ministry of the Public Health
(Ministerio de Salud Pública del Ecuador) is the responsible entity
of the regulation and creation of the public health policies and
health care plans. The Minister of Public Health is appointed directly
by the President of the Republic. The current minister, or Ecuadorian
general surgeon, is Margarita Guevara.
The philosophy of the Ministry of Public Health is the social support
and service to the most vulnerable population, and its main plan
of action lies around communitarian health and preventive
The public healthcare system allows patients to be treated without an
appointment in public general hospitals by general practitioners and
specialists in the outpatient clinic (Consulta Externa) at no cost.
This is done in the four basic specialties of pediatric, gynecology,
clinic medicine, and surgery. There are also public hospitals
specialized to treat chronic diseases, target a particular group of
the population, or provide better treatment in some medical
specialties. Some examples in this group are the Gynecologic
Hospitals, or Maternities, Children Hospitals, Geriatric Hospitals,
and Oncology Institutes.
Although well-equipped general hospitals are found in the major cities
or capitals of provinces, there are basic hospitals in the smaller
towns and canton cities for family care consultation and treatments in
pediatrics, gynecology, clinical medicine, and surgery.
Community health care centers (Centros de Salud) are found inside
metropolitan areas of cities and in rural areas. These are day
hospitals that provide treatment to patients whose hospitalization is
under 24 hours. The doctors assigned to rural communities, where
Amerindian population can be substantial, have small clinics under
their responsibility for the treatment of patients in the same fashion
as the day hospitals in the major cities. The treatment in this case
respects the culture of the community.
The public healthcare system should not be confused with the
Ecuadorian Social Security healthcare service, which is dedicated to
individuals with formal employment and who are affiliated obligatorily
through their employers. Citizens with no formal employment may still
contribute to the social security system voluntarily and have access
to the medical services rendered by the social security system. The
Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS) has several major
hospitals and medical sub-centers under its administration across the
Ecuador currently ranks 20, in most efficient health care countries,
compared to 111 back in the year 2000.
Ecuadorians have a life
expectancy of 75.6 years. The infant mortality rate is 13 per
1,000 live births, a major improvement from approximately 76 in
the early 1980s and 140 in 1950. 23% of children under five are
chronically malnourished. Population in some rural areas have no
access to potable water, and its supply is provided by mean of water
tankers. There are 686 malaria cases per 100,000 people. Basic
health care, including doctor's visits, basic surgeries, and basic
medications, has been provided free since 2008. However, some
public hospitals are in poor condition and often lack necessary
supplies to attend the high demand of patients. Private hospitals and
clinics are well equipped but still expensive for the majority of the
Rectorate building of the Higher Polytechnic School of the Litoral of
Main article: Education in Ecuador
The Oldest Observatory in
South America is the
Observatory, founded in 1873 and located in Quito, Ecuador. The Quito
Astronomical Observatory is managed by National Polytechnic
The Ecuadorian Constitution requires that all children attend school
until they achieve a "basic level of education", which is estimated at
nine school years. In 1996, the net primary enrollment rate was
96.9%, and 71.8% of children stayed in school until the fifth
grade. The cost of primary and secondary education is borne by
the government, but families often face significant additional
expenses such as fees and transportation costs.
Provision of public schools falls far below the levels needed, and
class sizes are often very large, and families of limited means often
find it necessary to pay for education. In rural
areas, only 10% of the children go on to high school.
The Ministry of Education states that the mean number of years
completed is 6.7.
Maldonado High School of Riobamba
Ecuador has 61 universities, many of which still confer terminal
degrees according to the traditional Spanish education system,
honoring a long tradition of having some of the oldest universities in
the Americas: University of San Fulgencio, founded in 1586 by the
Augustines; San Gregorio Magno University, founded in 1651 by the
Jesuits; and University of Santo Tomás of Aquino, founded in 1681 by
the Dominican order.
Among the traditional conferred terminal degrees can be noted the
doctorate for medicine and law schools or engineering, physics,
chemistry, or mathematics for polytechnic or technology institutes.
These terminal degrees, as in the case of the PhD in other countries,
were the main requirement for an individual to be accepted in academia
as a professor or researcher. In the professional realm, a terminal
degree granted by an accredited institution automatically provides a
professional license to the individual.
However, in 2004, the National Council of Higher Education (CONESUP),
started the reorganization of all the degree-granting schemes of the
accredited universities in order to pair them with foreign
counterparts. The new structure of some careers caused the dropping of
subjects, credits, or even the name of the previously conferred
diplomas. The terminal degree in law, previously known as JD Juris
Doctor (Doctor en Jurisprudencia) was replaced by the one of abogado
(attorney) with the exception of the modification of the number of
credits to equate it to an undergraduate degree. In the same fashion
for medical school, the required time of education was considerably
reduced from nine years (the minimum needed to obtain the title of MD
in Medicine and Surgery) to almost five, with the provision that the
diploma is not terminal anymore, and it is given with the title of
médico (medic). Therefore, an MD or PhD in medicine is only to be
obtained overseas until the universities adjust themselves to granting
schemes and curriculum as in foreign counterparts. Nonetheless, a
"médico" can start a career as family practitioner or general
Municipal Library of Guayaquil
This new reorganization, although very ambitious, lacked the proper
path to the homologation of diplomas for highly educated professionals
graduated in the country or even for the ones graduated in foreign
institutions. One of the points of conflict was the imposition of
obtaining foreign degrees to current academicians. As today, a
master's degree is a requirement to keep an academic position and at
least a foreign PhD to attain or retain the status of rector
(president of a university) or décano (dean). For Ecuadorian
researchers and many academicians trained in the country, these
regulations sounded illogical, disappointing, and unlawful since it
appeared a question of a title name conflict rather than
specialization or science advancement.
A debate to modify this and other reforms, especially the one which
granted control of the Higher Education System by the government, was
practically passed with consensus by the multi-partisan National
Assembly on August 4, 2010, but vetoed by President Rafael Correa, who
wanted to keep the law strictly as it was originally redacted by his
political party and SENPLADES (National Secretary of Planning and
Development). Due to this change, there are many highly educated
professionals and academicians under the old structure but estimated
that only 87% of the faculty in public universities have already
obtained a master's degree, and fewer than 5% have a PhD (although
many of them already have Ecuadorian-granted doctorate degrees).
About 300 institutes of higher education offer two to three years of
post-secondary vocational or technical training.
Sciences and research
EXA's first satellite, NEE-01 Pegasus
Ecuador is currently placed in 96th position of innovation in
technology. The most notable icons in Ecuadorian sciences are the
mathematician and cartographer Pedro Vicente Maldonado, born in
Riobamba in 1707, and the printer, independence precursor, and medical
pioneer Eugenio Espejo, born in 1747 in Quito. Among other notable
Ecuadorian scientists and engineers are Lieutenant Jose Rodriguez
Lavandera, a pioneer who built the first submarine in Latin
America in 1837; Reinaldo Espinosa Aguilar (1898–1950), a botanist
and biologist of Andean flora; and José Aurelio Dueñas
(1880–1961), a chemist and inventor of a method of textile
The major areas of scientific research in
Ecuador have been in the
medical fields, tropical and infectious diseases treatments,
agricultural engineering, pharmaceutical research, and bioengineering.
Being a small country and a consumer of foreign technology, Ecuador
has favored research supported by entrepreneurship in information
technology. The antivirus program Checkprogram, banking protection
system MdLock, and Core Banking Software Cobis are products of
The scientific production in hard sciences has been limited due to
lack of funding but focused around physics, statistics, and partial
differential equations in mathematics. In the case of
engineering fields, the majority of scientific production comes from
the top three polytechnic institutions: Escuela Superior Politécnica
del Litoral - ESPOL, Universidad de Las Fuerzas Armadas - ESPE, and
Escuela Politécnica Nacional EPN. The Center for Research and
Technology Development in
Ecuador is an autonomous center for research
and technology development funded by Senecyt.
EPN is known for research and education in the applied science,
astronomy, atmospheric physics, engineering and physical sciences. The
Geophysics Institute  monitors over the country's volcanoes in
Andes Mountains of
Ecuador and in the
Galápagos Islands, all of
which is part of the Ring of Fire. EPN adopted the polytechnic
university model that stresses laboratory instruction in applied
science and engineering.
The oldest observatory in
South America is the
Observatory and is located in Quito, Ecuador. The
Observatory, which gives the global community of a Virtual Telescope
System that is connected via the Internet and allows the world to
watch by streaming, is managed by EPN.
Contemporary Ecuadorian scientists who have been recognized by
international institutions are Eugenia del Pino (born 1945), the first
Ecuadorian to be elected to the
United States National Academy of
Science, and Arturo Villavicencio, who was part of the working group
of the IPCC, which shared the
2007 Nobel Peace Prize
2007 Nobel Peace Prize with
Al Gore for
their dissemination of the effects of climate change.
Currently, the politics of research and investigation are managed by
the National Secretary of Higher Education, Science, and Technology
Latin America portal
Index of Ecuador-related articles
French Geodesic Mission
International rankings of Ecuador
List of Ecuadorians
List of mountains in Ecuador
List of national parks in Ecuador
Lost Pyramid of Puñay
National symbols of Ecuador
Outline of Ecuador
Energy policy of Ecuador
Tourism in Ecuador
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Modern Indigenous Movements, Duke University Press Books
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Modern Ecuador, University of Pittsburgh Press
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University of Texas Press
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Ecuador and the
Galápagos Islands, Avalon Travel Publishing
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and Etiquette, Marshall Cavendish Corporation
Gerlach, A. (2003) Indians, Oil, and Politics: A Recent History of
Ecuador, SR Books
Handelsman, M. H. (2008) Culture and Customs of Ecuador, Greenwood
Hurtado, O. (2010) Portrait of a Nation: Culture and Progress in
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Making Ecuador, 1830–1925, University of Arizona Press
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Ecuador and the United States: Useful Strangers,
University of Georgia Press
Roos, W. and Van Renterghem, O. (2000)
Ecuador in Focus: A Guide to
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Fruit Company, Popular Struggle, and Agrarian Restructuring in Ecuador
– 1900–1995, Duke University Press Books
Torre, C. de la and Striffler, S. (2008) The
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Ecuador, University of Illinois Press
Whitten, N. E. (2003) Millennial Ecuador: Critical Essays on Cultural
Transformations and Social Dynamics, University Of Iowa Press
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