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Ecuador Index

The struggle for independence in the Quito Audiencia was part of a movement throughout Spanish America led by criollos (persons of pure Spanish descent born in the New World). The criollos resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the peninsulares was the fuel of revolution against colonial rule. The spark was Napoleon's invasion of Spain, after which he deposed King Ferdinand VII and, in July 1808, placed his brother Joseph Bonaparte on the Spanish throne.

Shortly afterward, Spanish citizens, unhappy at the usurpation of the throne by the French, began organizing local juntas loyal to Ferdinand. A group of Quito's leading citizens followed suit, and on August 10, 1809, they seized power from the local representatives of Joseph Bonaparte in the name of Ferdinand. Thus, this early revolt against colonial rule (one of the first in Spanish America) was, paradoxically, an expression of loyalty to the Spanish king.

It quickly became apparent that Quito's criollo rebels lacked the anticipated popular support for their cause. As loyalist troops approached Quito, therefore, they peacefully turned power back to the crown authorities. Despite assurances against reprisals, the returning Spanish authorities (Bonaparte's men) proved to be merciless with the rebels and, in the process of ferreting out participants in the Quito revolt, jailed and abused many innocent citizens. They actions, in turn, bred popular resentment among Quiteños, who, after several days of street fighting in August 1810, won an agreement to be governed by a junta to be dominated by criollos, although with the president of the Audiencia of Quito acting as its figurehead leader.

In spite of widespread opposition within the rest of the Quito Audiencia, the junta called for a congress in December 1811 in which it declared the entire area of the audiencia to be independent. Two months later, the junta approved a constitution for the state of Quito that provided for democratic governing institutions but also granted recognition to the authority of Ferdinand should he return to the Spanish throne. Shortly thereafter, the junta elected to launch a military offensive against the Spanish, but the poorly trained and badly equipped troops were no match for those of the viceroy of Peru, which finally crushed the Quiteño rebellion in December 1812.

The second chapter in Ecuador's struggle for emancipation from Spanish colonial rule began in Guayaquil, where independence was proclaimed in October 1820 by a local patriotic junta under the leadership of the poet José Joaquín Olmedo. By this time, the forces of independence had grown continental in scope and were organized into two principal armies, one under the Venezuelan Simón Bolívar Palacios in the north and the other under the Argentine José de San Martín in the south. Unlike the hapless Quito junta, the Guayaquil patriots were able to appeal to foreign allies, Argentina and Venezuela, each of whom soon responded by sending sizable contingents to Ecuador. Antonio José de Sucre Alcalá, the brilliant young lieutenant of Bolívar who arrived in Guayaquil in May 1821, was to become the key figure in the ensuing military struggle against the royalist forces.

After a number of initial successes, Sucre's army was defeated at Ambato in the central Sierra and he appealed for assistance from San Martín, whose army was by now in Peru. With the arrival from the south of 1,400 fresh soldiers under the command of Andrés de Santa Cruz Calahumana, the fortunes of the patriotic army were again reversed. A string of victories culminated in the decisive Battle of Pichincha, on the slopes of the volcano of that name on the western outskirts of Quito, on May 24, 1822. A few hours after the victory by the patriots, the last president of the Audiencia of Quito signed a formal capitulation of his forces before Marshal Sucre. Ecuador was at last free of Spanish rule.

Two months later Bolívar, the liberator of northern South America, entered Quito to a hero's welcome. Later that July, he met San Martín in Guayaquil and convinced the Argentine general, who wanted the port to return to Peruvian jurisdiction, and the local criollo elite in both major cities of the advantage of having the former Quito Audiencia join with the liberated lands to the north. As a result, Ecuador became the District of the South within the Confederation of Gran Colombia, which also included present-day Venezuela and Colombia and had Bogotá as its capital. This status was maintained for eight tumultuous years.

They were years in which warfare dominated the affairs of Ecuador. First, the country found itself on the front lines of Bolívar's war to liberate Peru from Spanish rule between 1822 and 1825; afterward, in 1828 and 1829, Ecuador was in the middle of an armed struggle between Peru and Gran Colombia over the location of their common border. After a campaign that included the near destruction of Guayaquil, the forces of Gran Colombia, under the leadership of Sucre and Venezuelan General Juan José Flores, proved victorious. The Treaty of 1829 fixed the border on the line that had divided the Quito audiencia and the Viceroyalty of Peru before independence.

The population of Ecuador was divided during these years among three segments: those favoring the status quo, those supporting union with Peru, and those advocating autonomous independence for the former audiencia. The latter group was to prevail following Venezuela's withdrawal from the confederation during an 1830 constitutional congress that had been called in Bogotá in a futile effort to combat growing separatist tendencies throughout Gran Colombia. In May of that year, a group of Quito notables met to dissolve the union with Gran Colombia, and in August, a constituent assembly drew up a constitution for the State of Ecuador, so named for its geographic proximity to the equator, and placed General Flores in charge of political and military affairs. He remained the dominant political figure during Ecuador's first fifteen years of independence.

Data as of 1989

BackgroundWhat is now Ecuador formed part of the northern Inca Empire until the Spanish conquest in 1533. Quito became a seat of Spanish colonial government in 1563 and part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. The territories of the Viceroyalty - New Granada (Colombia), Venezuela, and Quito - gained their independence between 1819 and 1822 and formed a federation known as Gran Colombia. When Quito withdrew in 1830, the traditional name was changed in favor of the "Republic of the Equator." Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999. Although Ecuador marked 25 years of civilian governance in 2004, the period has been marred by political instability. Protests in Quito have contributed to the mid-term ouster of Ecuador's last three democratically elected Presidents. In September 2008, voters approved a new constitution; Ecuador's twentieth since gaining independence. General elections, under the new constitutional framework, were held in April 2009.
LocationWestern South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru
Area(sq km)total: 283,561 sq km
land: 276,841 sq km
water: 6,720 sq km
note: includes Galapagos Islands
Geographic coordinates2 00 S, 77 30 W
Land boundaries(km)total: 2,010 km
border countries: Colombia 590 km, Peru 1,420 km

Coastline(km)2,237 km

Climatetropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Chimborazo 6,267 m
note: due to the fact that the earth is not a perfect sphere and has an equatorial bulge, the highest point on the planet furthest from its center is Mount Chimborazo not Mount Everest, which is merely the highest point above sea-level
Natural resourcespetroleum, fish, timber, hydropower
Land use(%)arable land: 5.71%
permanent crops: 4.81%
other: 89.48% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)8,650 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)432 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 16.98 cu km/yr (12%/5%/82%)
per capita: 1,283 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardsfrequent earthquakes; landslides; volcanic activity; floods; periodic droughts
Environment - current issuesdeforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Amazon Basin and Galapagos Islands
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - noteCotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in world
Population14,573,101 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 31.1% (male 2,312,610/female 2,220,378)
15-64 years: 62.7% (male 4,506,908/female 4,636,703)
65 years and over: 6.2% (male 432,144/female 464,358) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 25 years
male: 24.4 years
female: 25.6 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.497% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)20.77 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)4.99 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-0.81 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 66% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 20.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 24.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.24 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 75.3 years
male: 72.37 years
female: 78.37 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)2.51 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Ecuadorian(s)
adjective: Ecuadorian
Ethnic groups(%)mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%

Religions(%)Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%
Languages(%)Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Ecuador
conventional short form: Ecuador
local long form: Republica del Ecuador
local short form: Ecuador
Government typerepublic
Capitalname: Quito
geographic coordinates: 0 13 S, 78 30 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions24 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Galapagos, Guayas, Imbabura, Loja, Los Rios, Manabi, Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Pichincha, Santa Elena, Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Sucumbios, Tungurahua, Zamora-Chinchipe

Legal systembased on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage18 years of age; universal, compulsory for literate persons ages 18-65, optional for other eligible voters
Executive branchchief of state: President Rafael CORREA Delgado (since 15 January 2007); Vice President Lenin MORENO Garces (since 15 January 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Rafael CORREA Delgado (since 15 January 2007); Vice President Lenin MORENO Garces (since 15 January 2007)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: the president and vice president are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a four-year term and can be re-elected for another consecutive term; election last held 26 April 2009 (next to be held 2013)
election results: President Rafael CORREA Delgado reelected president; percent of vote - Rafael CORREA Delgado 52%; Lucio GUTIERREZ 28.2%; Alvaro NOBOA 11.4%; other 8.4%

Legislative branchunicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (124 seats; members are elected through a party-list proportional representation system to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 26 April 2009 (next to be held 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PAIS 59, PSP 19, PSC 11, PRIAN 7, MPD-5, PRE 3, other 20; note - defections by members of National Congress are commonplace, resulting in frequent changes in the numbers of seats held by the various parties

Judicial branchSupreme Court or Corte Suprema (according to the Constitution, new justices are elected by the full Supreme Court; in December 2004, however, Congress successfully replaced the entire court by a simple majority resolution)

Political pressure groups and leadersConfederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador or CONAIE [Marlon SANTI, president]; Coordinator of Social Movements or CMS [F. Napoleon SANTOS]; Federation of Indigenous Evangelists of Ecuador or FEINE [Marco MURILLO, president]; National Federation of Indigenous Afro-Ecuatorianos and Peasants or FENOCIN [Pedro DE LA CRUZ, president]
Flag descriptionthree horizontal bands of yellow (top, double width), blue, and red with the coat of arms superimposed at the center of the flag; similar to the flag of Colombia, which is shorter and does not bear a coat of arms

Economy - overviewEcuador is substantially dependent on its petroleum resources, which have accounted for more than half of the country's export earnings and one-fourth of public sector revenues in recent years. In 1999/2000, Ecuador suffered a severe economic crisis, with GDP contracting by more than 6%. Poverty increased significantly, the banking system collapsed, and Ecuador defaulted on its external debt later that year. In March 2000, Congress approved a series of structural reforms that also provided for the adoption of the US dollar as legal tender. Dollarization stabilized the economy, and positive growth returned in the years that followed, helped by high oil prices, remittances, and increased non-traditional exports. From 2002-06 the economy grew 5.5%, the highest five-year average in 25 years. The poverty rate declined but remained high at 38% in 2006. In 2006 the government imposed a windfall revenue tax on foreign oil companies, leading to the suspension of free trade negotiations with the US. These measures led to a drop in petroleum production in 2007. President Rafael CORREA raised the specter of debt default and followed through on those threats in December 2008 by defaulting on some commercial bond obligations. He also decreed a higher windfall revenue tax on private oil companies, then renegotiated their contracts to overcome the debilitating effect of the tax. This generated economic uncertainty; private investment has dropped and economic growth has slowed.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$108 billion (2008 est.)
$101.4 billion (2007 est.)
$98.93 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$54.69 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)6.5% (2008 est.)
2.5% (2007 est.)
3.9% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$7,500 (2008 est.)
$7,200 (2007 est.)
$7,100 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 34.3%
services: 59% (2008 est.)
Labor force4.64 million (urban) (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 8.3%
industry: 21.2%
services: 70.4% (2005)
Unemployment rate(%)7.3% (2008 est.)
8.8% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)38.3% (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 1.2%
highest 10%: 43.3%
note: data for urban households only (2007)
Distribution of family income - Gini index46 (2006)
43.7 (1995)
note: data are for urban households
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)22.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $21.09 billion
expenditures: planned $21.35 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)8.3% (2008 est.)
2.3% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$5.907 billion (31 December 2008)
$4.395 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$9.383 billion (31 December 2008)
$7.974 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$10.13 billion (31 December 2008)
$8.926 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$4.562 billion (31 December 2008)
$4.266 billion (31 December 2007)
$4.04 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$209.5 million (2005)

Public debt(% of GDP)25.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Agriculture - productsbananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, manioc (tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products; balsa wood; fish, shrimp
Industriespetroleum, food processing, textiles, wood products, chemicals

Industrial production growth rate(%)5.5% (2008 est.)

Current account balance$1.194 billion (2008 est.)
$1.65 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$19.15 billion (2008 est.)
$14.87 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp, cacao, coffee, hemp, wood, fish
Exports - partners(%)US 45.3%, Peru 9.2%, Chile 8.1%, Panama 4.8%, Colombia 4.2% (2008)
Imports$17.79 billion (2008 est.)
$13.05 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)industrial materials, fuels and lubricants, nondurable consumer goods
Imports - partners(%)US 19.1%, Venezuela 13.8%, Colombia 9.9%, China 8.4%, Brazil 4.8%, Japan 4.1% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$4.473 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$3.521 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$18.11 billion (31 December 2008)
$NA (31 December 2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$16.99 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$16.31 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$8.487 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$10.77 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange ratesthe US dollar is used; the sucre was eliminated in 2000

Currency (code)US dollar (USD)

Telephones - main lines in use1.91 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular11.595 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: generally elementary but being expanded
domestic: fixed-line services provided by three state-owned enterprises; plans to transfer the state-owned operators to private ownership have repeatedly failed; fixed-line density stands at about 14 per 100 persons; mobile cellular use has surged and has a subscribership of nearly 85 per 100 persons
international: country code - 593; landing point for the PAN-AM submarine telecommunications cable that provides links to the west coast of South America, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and extending onward to Aruba and the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
Internet country code.ec
Internet users1.31 million (2008)
Airports420 (2009)
Pipelines(km)extra heavy crude 435 km; gas 5 km; oil 1,374 km; refined products 1,301 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 43,670 km
paved: 6,472 km
unpaved: 37,198 km (2006)

Ports and terminalsEsmeraldas, Guayaquil, Manta, Puerto Bolivar
Military branchesArmy, Navy (includes Naval Infantry, Naval Aviation, Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana, FAE) (2007)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)20 years of age for selective conscript military service; 12-month service obligation (2008)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 3,536,602
females age 16-49: 3,559,188 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,708,470
females age 16-49: 3,165,489 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 148,010
female: 143,291 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)2.8% of GDP (2006)
Disputes - internationalorganized illegal narcotics operations in Colombia penetrate across Ecuador's shared border, which thousands of Colombians also cross to escape the violence in their home country

Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 11,526 (Colombia); note - UNHCR estimates as many as 250,000 Columbians are seeking asylum in Ecuador, many of whom do not register as refugees for fear of deportation (2007)
Electricity - production(kWh)16.75 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 81%
hydro: 19%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)9.888 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)38.53 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)861 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)505,100 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)178,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)417,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)54,190 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)4.66 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)260 million cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)260 million cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)8.919 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.3% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS26,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,400 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 92.3%
female: 89.7% (2001 census)

Education expenditures(% of GDP)1% of GDP (2001)

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