Facts about Ecuador
|Population||13,927,650 (July 2008 est|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)|
Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru
General info about Ecuador
What is now Ecuador formed part of the northern Inca Empire until the Spanish conquest in 1533. Quito became a seat of Spanish colonial government in 1563 and part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. The territories of the Viceroyalty - New Granada (Colombia), Venezuela, and Quito - gained their independence between 1819 and 1822 and formed a federation known as Gran Colombia. When Quito withdrew in 1830, the traditional name was changed in favor of the "Republic of the Equator." Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999. Although Ecuador marked 25 years of civilian governance in 2004, the period has been marred by political instability. Protests in Quito have contributed to the mid-term ouster of Ecuador's last three democratically elected Presidents. In 2007, a Constituent Assembly was elected to draft a new constitution; Ecuador's twentieth since gaining independence.
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid
Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
What about drugs?
significant transit country for cocaine originating in Colombia and Peru, with over half of the US-bound cocaine passing through Ecuadorian Pacific waters; importer of precursor chemicals used in production of illicit narcotics; attractive location for cash-placement by drug traffickers laundering money because of dollarization and weak anti-money-laundering regime; increased activity on the northern frontier by trafficking groups and Colombian insurgents
mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
0.3% (2003 est.)
tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower
Ecuador is substantially dependent on its petroleum resources, which have accounted for more than half of the country's export earnings and one-fourth of public sector revenues in recent years. In 1999/2000, Ecuador suffered a severe economic crisis, with GDP contracted by more than 6%, with a significant increase in poverty. The banking system also collapsed, and Ecuador defaulted on its external debt later that year. In March 2000, Congress approved a series of structural reforms that also provided for the adoption of the US dollar as legal tender. Dollarization stabilized the economy, and positive growth returned in the years that followed, helped by high oil prices, remittances, and increased non-traditional exports. From 2002-06 the economy grew 5.5%, the highest five-year average in 25 years. The poverty rate declined but remained high at 38% in 2006. In 2006 the government imposed a windfall revenue tax on foreign oil companies, leading to the suspension of free trade negotiations with the US. These measures led to a drop in petroleum production in 2007. President Rafael CORREA raised the specter of debt default and followed through on those threats in December 2008. He also decreed a higher windfall revenue tax on private oil companies, then renegotiated their contracts to overcome the debilitating effect of the tax. This generated economic uncertainty; private investment has dropped and economic growth has slowed significantly.
deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Amazon Basin and Galapagos Islands
Cities in Ecuadoralamor alausi alfredo baquerizo moreno ambato archidona arenillas atuntaqui azogues babahoyo bahia de caraquez balao banos calceta canar cariamanga catacocha catamayo catarama cayambe celica chone colimes coronel mariduena cotacachi cuenca daule el angel el carmen el triunfo esmeraldas gualaceo gualaquiza guano guaranda guayaquil huaquillas ibarra jipijapa junin la libertad la mana la troncal latacunga loja lomas de sargentillo macara macas machachi machala manta milagro montalvo montecristi muisne naranjal naranjito nueva loja otavalo pajan palenque palestina palora pasaje pedernales pedro carbo pelileo pillaro pimampiro pinas playas portovelo portoviejo puebloviejo puerto ayora puerto baquerizo moreno pujili puyo quevedo quito riobamba rocafuerte rosa zarate salinas samborondon san cristobal san gabriel san lorenzo san miguel sangolqui santa ana santa elena santa lucia santa rosa santo domingo saquisili sucre sucua tena tosagua valdez velasco ibarra ventanas vinces yaguachi yantzaza zamora zaruma