|Rep¨˛blica del Ecuador
|Form of government
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Ecuador (Spanish: Rep¨˛blica del
Ecuador) is located in the northwest of South America
directly on the equator. The country is enclosed in the
north of Colombia and in the east and south of Peru. The
western part of the country has a 2,237 km coastline to
the Pacific Ocean.
Three large landscapes can be distinguished on an
area of 272,045 km². A quarter of the total area is
taken up by a 160 km wide lowland (Costa) on the
Pacific, which is crossed by the coastal cordillera (up
to 600 m high). Another quarter occupies the Andean
highlands (Sierra). It consists of the western and
eastern Cordilleras and several basins that lie as sinks
between the mountain ranges. In the western part of the
mountain ranges, the Chimborazo rises with 6,272 m as
the highest mountain in the country. The highest active
volcano on earth, the 5 897 m high Cotopaxi, is located
in the eastern Cordilleras. The third large landscape in
Ecuador is the lowlands in the east (Oriente), which
occupies about half of the national territory. It
belongs to the catchment area of the Amazon. The
Galapagos Islands also belong to the national territory,
which are about 1,000 km off the coast of the country in
the Pacific Ocean. The volcanic archipelago consists of
13 larger and 17 smaller islands and has a total area of
7,812 km². More than half of it, 4 275 km², occupies
the largest island Isabela.
Numerous rivers arise from the Andean highlands of
the Sierra. Depending on their origin, they either flow
to the nearby Pacific or via the rivers of the Amazon
region into the Atlantic. The most important river
system in the Pacific lowlands is the R¨Şo Guayas, whose
tributaries originate on the western edge of the Andes.
The river flows into a fertile river delta in the
Pacific. However, the majority of the Ecuadorian rivers
flow through the eastern lowlands to the Amazon region.
Among them is the economically important R¨Şo Napo River,
which rises in the eastern part of the Andes.
Ecuador is located in the inner tropics, the equator
line runs straight through the country. The temperatures
therefore show hardly any seasonal fluctuations. The
respective altitude of a landscape is the decisive
factor for the temperatures, which are up to 27 ˇăC in
the Oriente (Guayaquil January 24 ˇă C, July 27 ˇăC), but
14 ˇăC in the highland basin (Quito January 14 ˇăC, July
14.5 ˇăC). At altitudes of up to 4,000 m, the average
temperatures drop to values of up to 6 ˇăC.
The comparatively cool Humboldt Current also has an
impact, particularly in the coastal area. It is also
called the Perustrom and leads cold Antarctic waters,
supported by parallel winds, to the west coast of South
America. In addition, it takes nutrient-rich water up
from the depths of the sea, thereby promoting fish
The average annual rainfall in the Costa is 2,000 to
4,000 mm. The values fall to 250 to 1,500 mm in the
highland basins, which are closed off by high mountains,
and can be up to 5,000 mm high on the eastern slopes of
the Andes. The average values in the Oriente are 2,200
mm. The main period of precipitation in the Oriente is
April to June, in this region the rainfall also reaches
higher values in October. In the rest of the country,
the main rains fall from January to May.
Flora and fauna
Ecuador's soils are among the most diverse on earth.
Soil types include volcanic soils in the Andes, alluvial
soils in the river marshes of the R¨Şo Guayas and the
soils of the Amazon lowlands in the east, which have not
yet been fully explored. The flora of the country is
just as diverse as the soils. In addition to these, the
altitude and the amount of precipitation are influencing
factors. In the southern section of the coast there are
semi-deserts, which first pass to the north and east in
savannas, then into semi-and evergreen rainforests in
the northern lowlands and eastern oriente. In the
Cordilleras there is mountain and cloud forest, which is
replaced by P¨˘ramo vegetation from 3 500 m (a vegetation
form that occurs in moist tropical mountains and has
rosette and cushion plants as well as tufted grasses).
The flora in the tropical rainforest in particular is
very diverse. In the areas of maximum rainfall at an
altitude of 1,500 m above sea level, the forest is most
densely concentrated. While the rainforests of the
coastal region have already been greatly reduced by
deforestation, the inaccessibility of the Oriente has so
far prevented a similar development in the eastern part
The wildlife in the rainforest is as diverse as the
flora. Various monkeys live here, including woolly
monkey and howler monkey. Carnivorous mammals also
inhabit the primeval forests of Ecuador. These include
u. a. Jaguar, fox, weasel, ocelot and raccoon. Hoofed
animals in the rainforest include tapir, deer and
umbilical pig. In addition, numerous rodents and bats
live between and in the trees.
About 1,500 bird species can be found in Ecuador,
including numerous migratory birds that migrate from
North America in winter and leave the country in summer.
Condors live in the Andes. There is also a small deer
deer, the so-called pudu.
The Galapagos Islands have a unique wildlife. In
addition to marine iguanas, giant turtles and
cormorants, the finches of the island (Galapagos
finches), which differ only in details, have become
world famous due to Charles Darwin's research.
Around 13.35 million people live in Ecuador, about
60% of the population in the numerous cities. The
country has two major cities: the capital Quito and
Guayaquil. Quito (officially: Villa de San Francisco de
Quito) is located near the Pichincha volcano at an
altitude of 2,850 m. It is the oldest South American
capital and its foundation goes back to the Kingdom of
the Quitu, an Indian tribal federation. The city has
about 1.5 million residents (agglomeration). Guayaquil
(officially: Santiago de Guayaquil) is the largest city
with approximately 2.7 million residents (agglomeration)
and at the same time the main port of Ecuador on the
west bank of the Guaya River.
The population of the country is very heterogeneous
with 65% mestizos, 7% whites, 25% indios and 3% blacks.
Religious affiliation, on the other hand, shows a much
more uniform picture: 95% of the population belong to
the Roman Catholic faith, about 5% are followers of
The official language is Spanish, which is spoken in
administration and trade. Most of Ecuador's Indians are
bilingual, meaning that they speak Spanish, which is
partly influenced by Quechua, as well as their native
language. The Quechua, who live in the Sierra, form an
ethnic group of several hundred thousand people, which
in recent years has increasingly developed a feeling of
togetherness that extends beyond the village level.
Quechua was once the administrative language of the Inca
Empire. According to COUNTRYAAH, 8.5 million Indians of this tribe live
across the countries of the Central Andes of South
Life expectancy in Ecuador, like in most other South
American countries, is around 76 years, and population
growth is 1.1%. 92.5% of adult Ecuadorians can read and
According to the 2008 constitution, the Republic of
Ecuador is a secular presidential republic. The
president, who is also head of government (Rafael Correa
since 2007), is elected directly by the people for four
years. A one-time re-election is possible. The president
is also commander in chief of the army.
Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies (C¨˘mara de
representantes) with 124 members, is also elected every
four years. Voting rights exist from the age of 16,
compulsory voting from the age of 18.
The country is divided into 24 provinces.
At the turn of the millennium, the economy of Ecuador
was in a crisis, the causes of which were to be found in
the lack of reforms in the outdated structures. However,
there is now positive economic and social development.
The country is still geared towards the export of raw
materials (especially crude oil and bananas) and is
therefore heavily dependent on the world market
(fluctuating prices). In 2012 the growth was 5.0%. This
also improved poverty in the state; the proportion of
the population with an income below the poverty line
fell to a (still high) third. External debt also fell,
but is still over a fifth of gross domestic product
55% of GDP is generated by services, 38% by industry
and 7% in agriculture.
Agriculture employs 29% of the workforce. In addition
to bananas, cocoa, coffee and sugar cane are primarily
grown for export. In the highlands, cereals, potatoes
and vegetables are cultivated for domestic needs. The
fishery finds good fishing grounds in the Gal¨˘pagos
Islands and in the fish-rich area of the Humboldt
Current, and there are also important crab farms on the
In the industrial sector, the plants of the chemical
industry and metal production are of particular
importance. After extensive oil discoveries in 1967,
this raw material replaced bananas as the most important
export product. Due to the slow depletion of the
deposits, the share of crude oil in the export volume is
declining. Import goods are raw materials, capital and
consumer goods as well as machines. The main trading
partners are the USA, China and Colombia.
By far the largest seaport is Guayaquil, Puerto
Bol¨Şvar is particularly important for banana exports.
International airports are located in the largest cities
in the country, Guayaquil and Quito.
The US dollar has been the official currency in the
country since January 1, 2000.