The Republic of Ecuador is located on the northwestern coast of South America. Its capital is Quito. The country is bordered by Colombia to the north and Peru to the south and east. Ecuador has a varied climate. Most of the coastal regions have a wet, tropical climate, while the northern regions are very humid.
Ecuador’s official language is Spanish, which is spoken by more than 90 percent of the population. Some people also speak Quechua, the language of the Incan Empire. Catholicism is the predominant religion. The Catholic church is considered to be one of the three pillars of Ecuador’s society, the other two being the military and the government.
Archeological discoveries show that the coastal regions of Ecuador were populated as far back as 4500 BC, at which time the population was comprised of small tribes. These became a part of the Inca empire in the late 15th century. The Spanish conquest reached Ecuador in 1531 and the in 1534, Sebastian de Belacázar, a Pizarro lieutenant founded the city of San Francisco de Quito, which would later become the nation’s capital city.
Around the beginning of the 19th century, the Ecuadorian middle class began to make a push for independence. After beating the Spaniards at the battle of Pichincha, Ecuador became a part of independent Gran Colombia. The nation gained complete independence in 1830.
During the 1950s and ‘60s, Ecuador began to see economic prosperity thanks to the growth in banana trade. However, the next few decades were ones of political unrest, interim governments, and violent demonstrations. In 1972, oil production began, and seven years later, democracy returned to the nation under a new constitution.
In 1982, the economy took a downturn due to falling oil prices and this led to demonstrations and strikes. 2000 saw a new president – Gustavo Noboa – and Ecuador adopted the U.S. dollar as its national currency in an attempt to gain control of inflation and to stabilize the nation’s economy.
Today, Ecuador has five branches of government: the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch, the Judicial Branch, the Electoral Branch, and Transparency and Social Control. The nation is currently governed by President Lenin Moreno.
Industry in Ecuador
Ecuador’s main industries are textiles, food processing, manufacturing of chemicals, and petroleum. Ecuador also has a thriving agricultural industry which produces cocoa, potatoes, rice, tapioca, plantains, bananas, sugarcane, pigs, cattle, sheep, shrimp, and fish.
Oil is Ecuador’s number one export and makes up 10 percent of its gross domestic product (GPD). Ecuador has been a member of OPEC (Oil and Petroleum Exporting Countries) for over 40 years. Most of Ecuador’s oil is extracted from the Amazon basin. The nation exports 60 percent of the oil it produces.
Ecuador is home to a diverse range of cultures blended together. The local people have a very distinct dress code. Both the men and women from each region of the country can be recognized by their dress.
When it comes to cuisine, Ecuador has many tasty traditional dishes. Some mouthwatering favorites include toasted corn on the cob, shrimp marinated in lemon, chorizo, llapingachos (cheese and potato patties), and tripe with rice.
Music has always been an important part of Ecuador’s culture. Archaeologists have found numerous musical instruments in ancient Incan tombs including, drums, flutes, and trumpets. Today, the indigenous communities enjoy pasillo which is often called “the rhythm of Ecuador.”
Fun Facts About Ecuador
Ecuador takes its name from the equator, which runs straight through the country. It’s the only country in the world which is named after a geographical feature.
The country’s national tree is the cinchona. The tree produces quinine, which was the first ever medicine used to treat malaria.
In 2008, Ecuador became the first country to recognize officially that nature has constitutional rights. So, instead of treating nature as property, Ecuadorians agree that all nature has the right to exist, maintain, and persist.
Ecuador has more biodiversity per square mile than any other country in the world; this makes it one of the world’s seventeen megadiverse nations.
Expats in Ecuador
Ecuador is a popular country for expats, largely because the cost of living is so low. New residents enjoy all the Western conveniences in major cities like Cuenca, Guayaquil, and Quito. Internet and cell phone services are good and widely accessible. Whether you are visiting or planning to make Ecuador your home, you are sure to enjoy its welcoming atmosphere.
For those who prefer a slower pace of life, Baños is a popular choice because of its hot springs, and many expats choose Cotacachi for its craft village feel. Ecuador also offers excellent and very affordable health care.
Ecuador is a hive of tradition and culture. From the Incan Empire to the modern-day inhabitants, many influences have molded the nation into what it is today.