|Republic of Ecuador|
|Motto: "Dios, patria y libertad"()
"Pro Deo, Patria et Libertate"()
"God, homeland and liberty"
|Anthem: Salve, Oh Patria()
Hail, Oh Fatherland
|Ethnic groups||65% Mestizo,
|Government||Unitary presidential republic|
|-||Vice President||Lenín Moreno|
|-||declared||August 10, 1809|
|-||from Spain||May 24, 1822|
|-||from Gran Colombia||May 13, 1830|
|-||Recognized by Spain||February 16, 1840|
|-||Total||283,561 (with Galapagos) km2 (66th)
109,415 sq mi
|-||2010 estimate||14,790,608 (65th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2010 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2010 estimate|
|HDI (2010)||0.695 (high) (77th)|
|Currency||U.S. dollar2 (
|Time zone||ECT, GALT (UTC-5, -6)|
|Drives on the||right|
|1||Quechua and other Amerindian languages spoken by indigenous communities.|
|2||Sucre until 2000, followed by the U.S. dollar and Ecuadorian centavo coins|
Ecuador (), officially the Republic of Ecuador (Spanish: República del Ecuador; , which literally translates to the Republic of the Equator) is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border with Brazil. The country also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about west of the mainland.
Ecuador straddles the equator, from which it takes its name, and has an area of 283,561 km2, 109,415 sq ml. Its capital city is Quito, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the 1970s for having the best preserved and least altered historic center in Latin America. The country's largest city is Guayaquil. The historic center of Cuenca, the third largest city in the country, was also declared a World Heritage Site in 1999, for being an outstanding example of a planned inland Spanish style colonial city in the Americas. Ecuador is also home—despite its size—to a great variety of species, many of them endemic, like those of the Galápagos islands. This species diversity makes Ecuador one of the seventeen megadiverse countries in the world. The new constitution of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights.
Ecuador is a presidential republic and became independent in 1830, after having been part of the Spanish colonial empire and the republic of Gran Colombia. It is a medium-income country with an HDI score of 0.695 (2010), and about 35.1% of the people living below the poverty line.
Evidence of human cultures in Ecuador exists from c. 3500 B.C. Many civilizations rose throughout Ecuador, such as the Valdivia Culture and Machalilla Culture on the coast, the Quitus (near present day Quito) and the Cañari (near present day Cuenca). Each civilization developed its own distinctive architecture, pottery, and religious interests, although consolidated under a confederation called the Shyris which exercised organized trading and bartering between the different regions and whose political and military power was under the rule of the Duchicela blood line before the Inca invasion. After years of fiery resistance by the Cañaris and other tribes, as demonstrated by the battle of Yahuarcocha (Blood Lake) where thousands of resistance fighters were killed and thrown in the lake, the region fell to the Incan expansion and was assimilated loosely into the Incan empire.
Through a succession of wars and marriages among the nations that inhabited the valley, the region became part of the Inca Empire in 1463. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived from the north, the Inca Empire was ruled by Huayna Capac, who had two sons: Atahualpa, being in charge of the northern parts of the empire, and Huascar, seated in the Incan capital Cusco. Upon Huayna Capac's death in 1525, the empire was divided in two: Atahualpa received the north, with his capital in Quito; Huascar received the south, with its capital in Cusco. In 1530, Atahualpa defeated Huascar and conquered the entire empire.
Disease decimated the indigenous population during the first decades of Spanish rule — a time when the natives also were forced into the encomienda labor system for Spanish landlords. In 1563, Quito became the seat of a real audiencia (administrative district) of Spain and part of the Vice-Royalty of Lima, and later the Vice-Royalty of Nueva Granada.
After nearly 300 years of Spanish colonization, Quito was still a small city of only 10,000 inhabitants. It was there, on August 10, 1809 (the national holiday), that the first call for independence from Spain was made in Latin America ("Primer Grito de la Independencia"), under the leadership of the city's criollos like Juan Pío Montúfar, Quiroga, Salinas, and Bishop Cuero y Caicedo. Quito's nickname, "Luz de América" ("Light of America"), comes from the fact that it was the first successful attempt to produce an independent and local government, although for no more than two months, that had an important repercussion and inspiration for the emancipation of the rest of Spanish America. Quito is also known as "La Cara de Dios" ("The Face of God") for the beauty of its religious colonial art and architecture cloistered in the amazing equatorial Andes landscape.