It is almost a sad irony of fate that the República del Ecuador, which extends in the northwest of the South American continent between Peru, Colombia and the Pacific Ocean, is on the one hand one of the second poorest countries in South America, but on the other the countries with the greatest biodiversity on earth. Not only that the country has incredible natural beauties such as the road of the volcanoes or the tropical mountain forest on the slopes of the Andes.
The colonial center of the high-altitude capital, San Francisco de Quito, was the first place ever to be placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978. In addition, UNESCO has declared three regions of Ecuador to be biosphere reserves. These include the Yasuní National Park, Sumaco and above all the famous Islas Galápagos (Galápagos Islands), 1000 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador, which are home to an incredible fauna.
Of course, all of this also explains why tourism has developed into one of the most important economic sectors in the country in recent years. To adequately enumerate all the unimaginable beauty the country has to offer would go beyond the scope of an introduction.
We can therefore only briefly refer to the 12 national parks, to the “Ruta de sol” along the Ecuadorian coast, to Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador and another UNESCO World Heritage Site, or to Baños, the city that is forgotten below the active volcano Tungurahua. Also important is the coastal town of Puerto López, from which trips to Isla de la Plata can be made and where the whales swim, or the Shangrila Lodge, which sits enthroned on a steep slope above the Anzu River and which almost brings tears to your eyes in view of the decadently beautiful View over the rainforest.
Ecuador, located on the equator – hence the name – is not only one of the most diverse countries in the world geographically, but also linguistically and ethnically. Aside from the official language of Spanish, many Ecuadorians speak Quichua, a dialect of Quechua introduced by the Incas at the time of their great conquests. Local indigenous languages and dialects are also spoken, of which Shuar is the most widely used.
The indígenas (= indigenous parts of the population) form a very large proportion in the country, which makes up about half of the country’s residents. About 45% of all Ecuadorians have settled in the two largest cities in the country. In addition to Quito, Santiago de Guayaquil should be mentioned in this regard, which has the most important port in the republic and attracts visitors from all over the world with its restored colonial buildings, modern buildings and the historic Barrio Las Peñas.
|Name of the country
|República del Ecuador
|Form of government
|On the northwest coast of South America
|Volley, Oh Patria
|approx. 17.3 million (Credit: Countryaah: Ecuador Population)
|Official: 35% mestizo, 25% European, 15% mulatto and 5% African
|93% Roman Catholic. Protestants and Jews form small minorities
|Spanish is the official language, Quchua and Chibcha are also spoken locally
|San Francisco de Quito with 1.4 million residents
|The Chimborazo volcano with a height of 6,310 m
|San Pablo in Imbabura Province
|International license plate
|until 2000 the “sucre” now it is the US dollar (USD)
|Time difference to CET
|– 6 h (Galapagos: – 7 h)
|International phone code
|Mains voltage, frequency
|120-130 volts, 60 Hertz (US plug adapter and transformer required)
|Internet TDL (Top Level Domain)
10,000 BC Until about the year 1498
The first settlements probably emerged around ten thousand BC. The oldest ceramic culture in America, the Valvdiva culture, originated here in the fourth millennium before the era. The coastal people of the Cara conquered the highlands from the 11th century AD and subjugated the Quito who lived there. So they founded the Shyri dynasty.
The Spanish colonial era
According to Abbreviationfinder website, in the fifteenth century the Caras had to submit to the Incas, who invaded the country from Peru. After that, the area was the scene of the bloody civil war between the two sons of the Inca ruler Huania Cápac (reigned 1493-1527). The first-born Huáscar (around 1500 – 1532) received the heartland of the Inca Empire, his brother Atahualpa (around 1500 – 1533) the northern part, with the capital Quito. Atahualpa asserted himself as sole ruler in 1532.
In May 1531 the troops of the Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro were already there(1475 – 1541) landed in Peru. Within a few years they subjugated the powerful Inca Empire, whose last ruler Atahualpa was strangled by Pizarro himself in August 1533.
Quito was conquered in 1534 and Ecuador was incorporated into the Viceroyalty of Peru, founded in 1543. In 1563 Quito was appointed Real Audiencia de Quito. The area was still under the viceroy of Peru, but had limited self-government.
In 1729 Ecuador became part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada along with the later states of Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and Peru.
On the way to independence
When Napoleon waged war against Spain in Europe, the residents of Ecuador began to revolt against the colonial rulers. Spanish troops first defeated the rebels in Quito in 1809. It was only through the intervention of the Venezuelan Simón de Bolívar (1783 – 1830) that the rebels of Ecuador achieved victory over the Spaniards in 1822. One of Bolívar’s most important comrades-in-arms was José Antonio de Sucre. As ruler, he led the troops at Pichincha to a decisive victory.
In the same year Ecuador founded the Republic of Greater Colombia together with Venezuela, Colombia and Panama. Bolívar was elected President. In 1830, after Bolívar’s death, this federation disintegrated. Ecuador and Venezuela declared themselves independent. In the same year the country receives its first own independent writing. not all benefited from it. The oppression of the native Indian population continued, as citizenship rights depended on property and property.
Riots and coups between 1830 and 1945
After independence, the country was initially confronted with massive domestic and foreign policy problems. On the one hand, border conflicts strained the relationship with neighboring Colombia. On the other hand, the country was politically divided. The large landowners in the highlands feared for their economic and political supremacy, while the richer traders and plantation owners on the coast urgently demanded trade liberalization. This contrast brought every new government of the young republic into distress. Between 1845 and 1860 there were eleven changes of government.
In 1860 Gabriel García Moreno launched a coup to power. He established a conservative clerical dictatorship in which only Catholics were granted civil rights. Until his assassination in 1875, however, he managed to stabilize the country by expanding the infrastructure.
The following, liberal President Eloy Alfaro (1895-1901, 1906-1911) nationalized church property, abolished the church tax and carried out the separation of church and state. The railway network was expanded under his government.
He set up universities and promoted the development of a professional army. His policies, like those of his successors, were financed by profits from cocoa cultivation and trading. In Ecuador, cocoa production tripled between 1880 and 1915. In 1920 cocoa accounted for almost three quarters of all goods exported. Alfaro was the founder of the liberal revolution in Ecuador. In 1911 he was overthrown and murdered in a coup.
The democratic structure was not consolidated in the period that followed. Due to the permanently unstable political situation in the country, the country gained the dubious reputation of being a banana republic.
In 1934 Velasco became Ibarra elected president of the country by an overwhelming majority. He became of particular importance to the political history of Ecuador as he was president of the country five times.
In 1941 Peru annexed two provinces of Ecuador and large parts of the Amazon. There was never an exact demarcation between the two countries. So the Peruvian government tried to create facts. In the “Rio de Janeiro Protocol” a year later, Ecuador had to accept a loss of 40% of its previous national territory to Peru.
After 1945 until today
After World War II until the beginning of the 1950s, there was an economic boom, mainly due to the banana cultivation. The American United Fruit Company developed Ecuador into their largest supplier country. However, when sales problems arose, strikes broke out in the country and were bloodily suppressed.
After various presidencies and military governments had failed, Velasco Ibarra was re-elected president of the country in 1968. In 1972, shortly before the end of his term in office, the military overthrew Velasco, which had been given dicatatorial powers since 1970. The putsch also excluded the parties from political life.
Under the leadership of General Guillermo Rodríguez Lara, the military announced far-reaching structural reforms in the areas of agriculture, taxes, income, etc. The sale of domestic oil, which at that time was increasingly being promoted by foreign companies, should also be prevented. Oil has been the largest position in Ecuador’s foreign trade since 1973. The reforms were to be financed with this income. However, the reforms got stuck in their beginnings.
In 1979 a new constitution was passed, which is still in force today.
Under pressure from the International Monetary Fund, Ecuador had to implement radical reforms in the 1990s.
State-owned companies were privatized, tariff restrictions were eliminated and government spending was cut. Almost a third of Ecuadorians live below the poverty line. The national currency Sucre was abolished in favor of the US dollar.
On April 26, 2009, Rafael Correa (born 1963) – a former economist – who has been President of the country since January 15, 2007, was re-elected for another four years.
Lenin Moreno has been the country’s president since May 24, 2017.