The equator has named Ecuador, which extends
from the Amazon basin across the Andes and down to the
Pacific coast of South America. A hundred miles out into
the sea lies the archipelago of Galápagos, which is
known for its unique wildlife. Oil dominates the economy
but the country is also the world's largest exporter of
bananas. Poverty is widespread, not least among the
indigenous peoples and descendants of African slaves.
Brief profiles of Ecuador, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Ecuador is located in western South America
on both sides of the equator, which has given the
country its name. On the surface it is slightly larger
than Norrland. The climate is mainly tropical but varies
with the height above the sea.
Although Ecuador is one of the smaller countries in
South America, it is one of the largest biodiversity.
The mainland is usually divided into three main regions:
the Pacific coastline, a rainforest-rich lowland in the
east, and in between the highlands which are part of the
Andes mountain range. About 100 miles out into the
Pacific Ocean are the Galápagos Islands.
The coastal country (La Costa) is a 10-15 km
wide hilly area that extends just under 70 km from north
to south. Here, at the mouth of the river Guaya, lies
the country's largest city of Guayaquil. Most of the
coastal land is characterized by tropical forest and
plantations. At the far south, nature transitions into
The lowland (El Oriente) is a sparsely
populated jungle area with dense tropical vegetation
that covers about one third of the country and forms the
westernmost part of the Amazon basin.
The highlands (La Sierra) cut through the
country from north to south with two parallel ridges and
between them a highland at an altitude of 2,000-3,000
meters. There are about 20 volcanic peaks of about 5,000
meters. Cotopaxi (nearly 6,000 meters above sea level)
is the world's highest active volcano. The capital city
of Quito is located in the highlands, at an altitude of
2 800 meters.
About 100 miles out in the Pacific lies the Galápagos
Islands (Archipiélago de Colón), which consists
of about ten larger and a large number of smaller lava
islands. Only a few of the islands are populated. Their
peculiar nature and wildlife with, among other things,
elephant turtles gave Charles Darwin important insights
into his epoch-forming work About the Origin of
Species, published in the United Kingdom in 1859.
Ecuador is located in a seismically active region.
Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occasionally cause
In the east, the climate is tropical with high heat
and heavy rain. Even in the northern highlands in the
west, it can rain a lot, especially from December to
April. Further south, the coastal land is drier, and
farther south, the climate is desert. In the highlands,
the rainfall is moderate with most rainfall in autumn
Ecuador is sometimes affected by El Niño, a
phenomenon that occurs every three to ten years and
causes major weather disruptions, including flooding as
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
257,762 km2 (2018)
Swedish –6 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Capital with number of inhabitants
Quito 1.9 million (estimate 2019)
Other major cities
Guayaquil 2.3 million, Cuenca 330,000, Santo Domingo
306,000, Machala 242,000 (Census 2010)
Chimborazo (6,267 m asl)
Napo, Bobonazo, Guayas
Lago San Pablo
Average Precipitation / month
Quito 175 mm (April), 20 mm (July)
Average / day
Quito 16 °C
Unasur's headquarters are inaugurated
The headquarters of the South American cooperative organization Unasur will
be inaugurated in Mitad del Mundo just outside Quito (see May 2008).
New Secretary-General Ernesto Samper (President of Colombia 1994-1998) says he
will work for rapid integration with other regional bodies, such as Mercosur and
the Andean Community.
Resistance to any constitutional change
An opposition group called Compromiso Ecuador (roughly Commitment Ecuador) is
formed in protest of the government's plans to change the constitution so that
there is no barrier to re-election of president (see Political system).
According to the group, a referendum is required for such a decision.
Correa flags for possible re-election
The president says in several interviews that he would prefer to resign after
the 2017 election, but that it may be necessary for him to stand. Correa has
already made it clear in the past that he has changed his mind and has come to
the conclusion that the statute's restriction on re-election should be
abolished, concerning all elected items. Many people now assume that Correa
intends to re-set himself; with its dominance in the National Assembly, the
ruling party can rightly change the constitution.
Officers convicted of attempted murder on Correa
Six policemen are sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted murder of the
president in connection with the 2010 unrest (see Modern History).
Interpol issues a call for President Jamil Mahuad, who fled to the United
States since he was ousted from power in 2000 (see Modern History). Mahuad is
suspected embezzlement. Interpol has previously rejected Ecuador's request that
he be called for on the grounds that it is a "political goal". Shortly after the
warrant was issued, Mahuad was sentenced to twelve years in prison by a court in
No to the referendum on oil recovery
The electoral authority rejects the demand for a referendum on the Yasuní
National Park, erected by environmental activists and indigenous peoples (see
also August 2010 and August 2013). Opponents
have collected 850,000 votes demanding a referendum, but only 360,000 of them
are approved - far from the just over 580,000 that were required. The activist
group Yasunidos is accusing the authority of cheating and plans to appeal to the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Critics fear that drilling in Yasuní will
cause damage in what is described as one of the world's richest areas.
Renovation in the government
Correa replaces ten ministers.
Setback for the government in local elections
The opposition gains control of Quito and the industrial city of Cuenca, and
retains power in Guayaquil. Correa says it will be impossible to rule the
country without control over the capital and accuses the winner Mauricio Rodas
of conspiring with the "fascist right" in Venezuela. The Correas País Alliance
wins in 10 provinces.
Ex-police chief arrested in US
Ecuador's former chief of police, the former General Edgar Vaca, is arrested
in the United States where he fled from charges of human rights violations
committed in his home country in 1985. Vaca is suspected of having kidnapped and
tortured three people with ties to one underground left group during the reign
of President León Febre from 1984 to 1988. The legal process surrounding the
events in 1985 has been started a few months earlier and is the first in Ecuador
to deal with crimes against humanity.