Ecuador



Official Country Name
Ecuador

Ecuador Overview
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 by 1819 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.

Ecuador Economy
Ecuador has substantial petroleum resources, which have accounted for 40% of the country's export earnings and one-third of central government budget revenues in recent years. Consequently, fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact. In the late 1990s, Ecuador suffered its worst economic crisis, with natural disasters and sharp declines in world petroleum prices driving Ecuador's economy into free fall in 1999. Real GDP contracted by more than 6%, with poverty worsening significantly. The banking system also collapsed, and Ecuador defaulted on its external debt later that year. The currency depreciated by some 70% in 1999, and, on the brink of hyperinflation, the MAHAUD government announced it would dollarize the economy. A coup, however, ousted MAHAUD from office in January 2000, and after a short-lived junta failed to garner military support, Vice President Gustavo NOBOA took over the presidency. In March 2000, Congress approved a series of structural reforms that also provided the framework for the adoption of the US dollar as legal tender. Dollarization stabilized the economy, and growth returned to its pre-crisis levels in the years that followed. Under the administration of Lucio GUTIERREZ - January 2003 to April 2005 - Ecuador benefited from higher world petroleum prices. However, the government under Alfredo PALACIO has reversed economic reforms that reduced Ecuador's vulnerability to petroleum price swings and financial crises, allowing the central government greater access to oil windfalls and disbursing surplus retirement funds.

Ecuador Location
Ecuador is located in Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru

Region
Ecuador is located in South America

Ecuador Population
Ecuador has population of 13,547,510 (July 2006 est.)

Ecuador Climate
Ecuador has tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands

Ecuador Terrain
coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)

Ecuador Natural Resources
petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower

Ethnic Groups in Ecuador
Ecuador has the following ethnic groups - mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%

Ecuador Religions
Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%

Ecuador Languages
Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)

Ecuador Capital
Ecuador capital is Quito

Ecuador Currency
Ecuador currency is US dollar

Map of Ecuador