Ecuador

Ecuador

Once part of the Inca heartland, Ecuador lies on the western coast of South America. Its territory includes the fascinating Galápagos Islands, 610 miles (970 km) to the west.

Geography: Broad coastal plain, inter-Andean central highlands, dense jungle in upper Amazon basin.

 Climate: The climate is hot and moist on the coast, cool in the Andes, and hot equatorial in the Amazon basin.

 People and Society: Most people are of Amerindian–Spanish extraction (mestizo). Black communities exist on the coast. The strong and largely unified Amerindian movement leads the pressure for social reform; one in eight people live in extreme poverty. Recent left-wing policies have given greater rights to women, the poor, and Amerindians.

 The Economy: Oil provides half of export earnings. World’s biggest banana exporter. US dollar offers stability, but less control. Defaulted on debt in 2008, prioritizing social spending.

 Insight: Darwin’s study on the Galápagos Islands in 1856 played a major part in his theory of evolution

 Fact-File:

 Official Name: Republic of Ecuador

 Date of Formation: 1830

 Capital: Quito

 Population: 13.6 million

 Total Area: 109,483 sq. miles (283,560 sq. km)

 Density: 127 people per sq. mile

 Languages: Spanish*, Quechua, other Amerindian languages

 Religions: Roman Catholic 93%; Protestant, Jewish, and other 7%

 Ethnic Mix: Mestizo 55%, Amerindian 25%, White 10%, Black 10%

 Government: Presidential system

 Currency: US dollar = 100 cents

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