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Ecuador ( ), officially the Republic of Ecuador ( , ), literally, "Republic of the equator") is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombiamarker on the north, Perumarker on the east and south, and by the Pacific Oceanmarker to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chilemarker, that do not have a border with Brazilmarker. The country also includes the Galápagos Islandsmarker in the Pacific, about west of the mainland.

Ecuador straddles the equator, from which it takes its name, and has an area of . Its capital city is Quitomarker, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the 1970s for having the best preserved and least altered historic centre in Latin America. The country's largest city is Guayaquilmarker. The historic centre of Cuenca, the third largest city of this 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 islandsmarker. 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 0.807 (2007), and about 38.3% of the people living below the poverty line.

History

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 Cuencamarker). Each civilization developed its own distinctive architecture, pottery, and religious interests. After years of fiery resistance by the Cayambes 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.

Inca 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 Cuscomarker. 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 for its own.

In 1531, the Spanish conquistadors, under Francisco Pizarro, arrived to find an Inca empire torn by civil war. Atahualpa wanted to reestablish a unified Incan empire; the Spanish, however, had conquest intentions and established themselves in a fort in Cajamarcamarker, captured Atahualpa during the Battle of Cajamarcamarker (1532), and held him for ransom. The Incas filled one room with gold and two with silver to secure his release. Despite being surrounded and vastly outnumbered, the Spanish executed Atahualpa. To escape the confines of the fort, the Spaniards fired all their cannon and broke through the lines of the bewildered Incas. In subsequent years, the Spanish colonists became the new elite, centering their power in the vice-royalties of Nueva Granada and Limamarker.

Colonization

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, Quitomarker became the seat of a royal audienciamarker (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 Carlos Montúfar, Eugenio Espejo and Bishop Cuero y Caicedo. Quito's nickname, "Luz de América" ("Light of America"), comes from the idea that this first attempt produced the inspiration for the rest of Spanish America. Quito is also known as "La Cara de Dios" ("The Face of God") for its beauty.

Independence

On October 9, 1820, Guayaquilmarker became the first city in Ecuador to gain its independence from Spain. On May 24, 1822, the rest of Ecuador gained its independence after Antonio José de Sucre defeated the Spanish Royalist forces at the Battle of Pichincha, near Quitomarker. Following the battle, Ecuador joined Simón Bolívar's Republic of Gran Colombia - joining with modern day Colombia and Venezuela – only to become a republic in 1830.

The 19th century for Ecuador was marked by instability, with a rapid succession of rulers. The first president of Ecuador was the Venezuelan-born Juan José Flores, who was ultimately deposed, followed by many authoritarian leaders such as Vicente Rocafuerte; José Joaquín de Olmedo; José María Urbina; Diego Noboa; Pedro José de Arteta; Manuel de Ascásubi; and Flores's own son, Antonio Flores Jijón, among others. The conservative Gabriel Garcia Moreno unified the country in the 1860s with the support of the Roman Catholic Church. In the late 19th century, world demand for cocoa tied the economy to commodity exports and led to migrations from the highlands to the agricultural frontier on the coast.

Liberal Revolution

The coast-based Liberal Revolution of 1895 under Eloy Alfaro reduced the power of the clergy and the conservative land owners of the highlands, and this liberal wing retained power until the military "Julian Revolution" of 1925. The 1930s and 1940s were marked by instability and emergence of populist politicians such as five-time President José María Velasco Ibarra.

War with Peru

Colonial city gates of Loja


Control over territory in the Amazon basin led to a long-lasting dispute between Ecuador and Perumarker. In 1941, amid fast-growing tensions between the two countries, war broke out. Peru claimed that Ecuador's military presence in Peruvian-claimed territory was an invasion; Ecuador, for its part, claimed that Peru had invaded Ecuador. In July 1941, troops were mobilized in both countries. Peru had an army of 11,681 troops who faced a poorly supplied and inadequately armed Ecuadorian force of 2,300, of which only 1,300 were deployed in the southern provinces. Hostilities erupted on July 5, 1941, when Peruvian forces crossed the Zarumilla river at several locations, testing the strength and resolve of the Ecuadorian border troops. Finally, on July 23, 1941, the Peruvians launched a major invasion, crossing the Zarumilla river in force and advancing into the Ecuadorian province of El Oro.

During the course of the war, Peru gained control over part of the disputed territory and some parts of the province of El Oro, and some parts of the province of Loja, demanding that the Ecuadorian government give up its territorial claims. The Peruvian Navy blocked the port of Guayaquilmarker, almost cutting all supplies to the Ecuadorian troops. After a few weeks of war and under pressure by the United States and several Latin American nations, all fighting came to a stop. Ecuador and Peru came to an accord formalized in the Rio Protocol, signed on January 29, 1942, in favor of hemispheric unity against the Axis Powers in World War II. As a result of its victory, Peru was awarded the disputed territory.

Recession and popular unrest led to a return to populist politics and domestic military interventions in the 1960s, while foreign companies developed oil resources in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In 1972, construction of the Andean pipeline was completed. The pipeline brought oil from the east side of the Andes to the coast, making Ecuador South America's second largest oil exporter. The pipeline in southern Ecuador did nothing, however, to resolve tensions between Ecuador and Peru.

The Rio Protocol failed to precisely resolve the border along a small river in the remote Cordillera del Cóndor region in southern Ecuador. This caused a long-simmering dispute between Ecuador and Peru, which ultimately led to fighting between the two countries; first a border skirmish in January-February 1981 known as the Paquisha Incident, and ultimately full-scale warfare in January 1995 where the Ecuadorian military shot down Peruvian aircraft and helicopters and Peruvian infantry marched into southern Ecuador. Each country blamed the other for the onset of hostilities, known as the Cenepa War. Sixto Durán Ballén, the Ecuadorian president, famously declared that he would not give up a single centimeter of Ecuador. Popular sentiment in Ecuador became strongly nationalistic against Peru: graffiti could be seen on the walls of Quito referring to Peru as the "Cain de Latinoamérica," a reference to the murder of Abel by his brother Cain in the Book of Genesis. Ecuador and Peru reached a tentative peace agreement in October 1998, which ended hostilities, and the Guarantors of the Rio Protocol ruled that the border of the undelimited zone was indeed the line of the Cordillera del Cóndor, as Peru had been claiming since the 1940s. While Ecuador had to give up its decades-old territorial claims to the eastern slopes of the Cordillera, as well as to the entire western area of Cenepa headwaters, Peru was compelled to give to Ecuador, in perpetual lease but without sovereignty, one square kilometer of its territory, in the area where the Ecuadorian base of Tiwinza — focal point of the war — had been located within Peruvian soil. The final border demarcation came into effect on May 13, 1999.

Military governments (1972–1979)

In 1972 a "revolutionary and nationalist" military junta overthrew the government of Velasco Ibarra. The coup d'état was led by General Guillermo Rodríguez and executed by navy commander Jorge Queirolo G. The new president exiled José María Velasco to Argentinamarker, remaining in power until 1976 when he was removed by another military government. It was a military junta led by Admiral Alfredo Poveda, who was declared chairman of the Supreme Council. The Supreme Council had two other members as well, General Guillermo Durán Arcentales and General Luis Leoro Franco. After the country stabilized, socially and economically, this Supreme Council proceeded to hold democratic elections and stepped down to hand presidential duties over to the new democratically elected president.

Return to democracy

Elections were held on April 29, 1979, under a new constitution. Jaime Roldós Aguilera was elected president, garnering over one million votes, the most in Ecuadorian history. He took office on August 10 as the first constitutionally elected president after nearly a decade of civilian and military dictatorships. In 1980 he founded the Partido Pueblo, Cambio y Democracia (People, Change and Democracy Party) after withdrawing from the Concentracion de Fuerzas Populares (Popular Forces Concentration) and governed until May 24, 1981, when he died along with his wife and the minister of defense, Marco Subia Martinez, when his Air Force plane crashed in heavy rain near the Peruvian border. Many Ecuadorians believe that he was assassinated, given the multiple death threats levelled against him because of his reformist agenda and the sometimes contradictory accounts of the incident.

Roldos was immediately succeeded by Vice President Osvaldo Hurtado who was followed in 1984 by León Febres Cordero from the Social Christian Party. Rodrigo Borja Cevallos of the Democratic Left (Izquierda Democrática or ID) party won the presidency in 1988, running in the runoff election against Abdalá Bucaram (brother in law of Jaime Roldos and founder of the Ecuadorian Roldosist Party). His government was committed to improving human rights protection and carried out some reforms, notably an opening of Ecuador to foreign trade. The Borja government concluded an accord leading to the disbanding of the small terrorist group, "¡Alfaro Vive, Carajo!" ("Alfaro Lives, Dammit!") named after Eloy Alfaro. However, continuing economic problems undermined the popularity of the ID, and opposition parties gained control of Congress in 1990.

The emergence of the indigenous population (approximately 25%) as an active constituency has added to the democratic volatility of the country in recent years. The population has been motivated by government failures to deliver on promises of land reform, lower unemployment and provision of social services, and historical exploitation by the land-holding elite.Their movement, along with the continuing destabilizing efforts by both the elite and leftist movements, has led to a deterioration of the executive office. The populace and the other branches of government give the president very little political capital, as illustrated by the most recent removal of President Lucio Gutiérrez from office by Congress in April 2005.Vice President Alfredo Palacio took his place and remained in office until the presidential election of 2006, in which Rafael Correa defeated Alvaro Noboa in a runoff election.

Politics

Ecuador's current elected president, Rafael Correa


Ecuador is governed by a democratically elected President, for a four year term. Its current president, Rafael Correa, exercises his power from the presidential Palacio de Carondeletmarker in Quito.

The executive branch includes 25 ministries. Provincial governors and councilors (mayors, aldermen, and parish boards) are directly elected. The National Congress of Ecuador meets throughout the year except for recesses in July and December. There are 69 seven-member congressional committees. Justices of the Supreme Court are appointed by the Congress for indefinite terms.

Ecuador has often placed great emphasis on multilateral approaches to international issues. Ecuador is a member of the United Nations (and most of its specialized agencies) and a member of many regional groups, including the Rio Group, the Latin American Economic System, the Latin American Energy Organization, the Latin American Integration Association, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America and the Andean Community of Nations.

Administrative divisions

Ecuador is divided into 24 provinces (provincias), each with its own administrative capital:

Map Key Province Capital 1 Azuay Cuencamarker 2 Bolívar Guarandamarker 3 Cañar Azoguesmarker 4 Carchi Tulcánmarker 5 Chimborazo Riobambamarker 6 Cotopaxi Latacungamarker 7 El Oro Machalamarker 8 Esmeraldas Esmeraldasmarker 9 Galápagosmarker Puerto Baquerizo Morenomarker 10 Guayas Guayaquilmarker 11 Imbabura Ibarramarker 12 Loja Lojamarker


Map Key Province Capital 13 Los Ríos Babahoyomarker 14 Manabí Portoviejomarker 15 Morona-Santiago Macasmarker 16 Napo Tenamarker 17 Orellana Puerto Francisco de Orellanamarker 18 Pastaza Puyomarker 19 Pichincha Quitomarker 20 Santa Elena Santa Elenamarker 21 Santo Domingomarker Santo Domingo de Los Coloradosmarker 22 Sucumbíos Nueva Lojamarker 23 Tungurahua Ambatomarker 24 Zamora-Chinchipe Zamora




The provinces are divided into cantons, and further subdivided into parishes (parroquias).

Geography

Ecuador has three main geographic regions, plus an insular region in the Pacific Ocean:
  • La Costa, or the coast, comprises the low-lying land in the western part of the country, including the Pacific coastline.
  • La Sierra ("the highlands") is the high-altitude belt running north-south along the center of the country, its mountainous terrain dominated by the Andes mountain range.
  • La Amazonía, also known as El Oriente ("the east"), comprises the Amazon rainforest areas in the eastern part of the country, accounting for just under half of the country's total surface area, though populated by less than 5% of the population.
  • The Región Insular is the region comprising the Galápagos Islandsmarker, some 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) west of the mainland in the Pacific Ocean.


Ecuador's capital is Quito, which is in the province of Pichincha in the Sierra region. Its largest city is Guayaquil, in the Guayas Province. Cotopaximarker, which is just south of Quito, features one of the world's highest active volcanoes. The top of Mount Chimborazomarker (6,310-m above sea level) is considered to be the most distant point from the center of the earth, given the ovoidal shape of the planet (wider at the equator).

Climate

Although the country is not particularly large, there is great variety in the climate, largely determined by altitude. The Pacific coastal area has a tropical climate, with a severe rainy season. The climate in the Andean highlands is temperate and relatively dry; and the Amazon basin on the eastern side of the mountains shares the climate of other rain forest zones.

Because of its location at the equator, Ecuador experiences little variation in daylight hours during the course of a year.



Biodiversity

Ecuador is one of seventeen megadiverse countries in the world according to Conservation International. With 1,600 bird species (15% of the world's known bird species) in the continental area, and 38 more endemic in the Galápagos. In addition to 25,000 species of plants, the country has 106 endemic reptiles, 138 endemic amphibians, and 6,000 species of butterfly. The Galápagos Islands are well known as a region of distinct fauna, famous as the place of birth of Darwin's Theory of Evolution, and a UNESCOmarker World Heritage Site. Despite being on the UNESCO list, the Galapagos are endangered by a range of negative environmental effects, threatening the existence of this exotic ecosystem. Additionally, oil exploitation of the Amazon rain forest has led to the release of billions of gallons of untreated wastes, gas, and crude oil into the environment, contaminating ecosystems and causing detrimental health effects to indigenous peoples.

Economy



Ecuador's natural resources include petroleum, fish, shrimp, timber and gold. In addition, it has rich agriculture: bananas, flowers, coffee, cacao, sugar, tropical fruits, palm oil, palm hearts, rice, roses, and corn. The country´s greatest national export is crude oil. Fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact. Industry is largely oriented to servicing the domestic market, with some exports to the Andean Common market. Deteriorating economic performance in 1997-98 culminated in a severe economic and financial crisis in 1999. The crisis was precipitated by a number of external shocks, including the El Niño weather phenomenon in 1997, a sharp drop in global oil prices in 1997-98, and international emerging market instability in 1997-98. These factors highlighted the Government of Ecuador's unsustainable economic policy mix of large fiscal deficits and expansionary money policy and resulted in a 7.3% contraction of GDP, annual year-on-year inflation of 52.2%, and a 65% devaluation of the national currency, the sucre, in 1999, which helped precipitate a default on external loans later that year.

On January 9, 2000, the administration of President Jamil Mahuad announced its intention to adopt the U.S. dollar as the official currency of Ecuador to address the ongoing economic crisis. The formal adoption of the dollar, as opposed to merely pegging the sucre to the dollar as Argentinamarker had done, theoretically meant that the return from seigniorage would accrue to the U.S. government. Subsequent protests related to the economic and financial crises led to the removal of Mahuad from office and the elevation of Vice President Gustavo Noboa to the presidency.However, the Noboa government confirmed its commitment to dollarize as the centerpiece of its economic recovery strategy. The government also entered into negotiations with the International Monetary Fundmarker (IMF), culminating in the negotiation of a 12-month standby arrangement with the IMF. Additional policy initiatives include efforts to reduce the government's fiscal deficit and to implement structural reforms to strengthen the banking system and regain access to private capital markets. Higher oil prices at the beginning of the 21st century allowed the Ecuadorian economy to recover, which has reduced poverty substantially since then.

On December 12, 2008, President Correa announced that his government would not make an interest payment due on the country's 2012 and 2030 global bonds, triggering a default on the country's outstanding $3.2 billion of global bonds. Correa, who holds a graduate degree in economics, argued against complying with the debt payment, calling it "illegitimate."

On April 16, 2009, Finance Minister Maria Elsa Viteri, traveled to Europe with Ecuador's proposal to buy back global bonds 2012 and 2030 at 30% of their value. The goal is to retire most or all of the bonds, cutting the foreign debt by one third.

On June 11, 2009, Ecuador announced that it had successfully bought 91% of the bonds at a cost of 30-35 cents to the dollar. The Finance Minister said that the remaining bond holders will have another opportunity to sell their bonds at the same price of 35%. This successful move will reduce the total foreign debt by $2 billion dollars, plus $7 billion on saved interest until 2030.

Demographics



Ecuador's population is ethnically diverse. The largest ethnic group (as of 2007) is the Mestizos, who are the mixed descendants of Spanish colonists and indigenous Indians. They constitute 65% of the population. Amerindians account for 25% of the current population. The small minority of whites, mainly criollos, the unmixed descendants of early Spanish colonists, as well as immigrants from other European countries, account for about 7% of the population. Afro-Ecuadorians, including Mulattos and zambos, are also a minority, are largely based in Esmeraldas and Imbabura provinces, and make up 3% of the population.

Health

Life expectancy is at about 70. A significant part of the population has no access to clean water.There are 686 malaria cases per 100,000 people.

Religion



Approximately 95% of Ecuadorians are Roman Catholic (see List of Roman Catholic dioceses in Ecuador), and 4% are Protestants. In the rural parts of Ecuador, indigenous beliefs and Catholicism are sometimes syncretized. Most festivals and annual parades are based on religious celebrations, many incorporating a mixture of rites and icons.

The Jewish community of Ecuador, with domicile in Quito, has about 500 members. However, this number is decreasing because young people are emigrating to study in Israelmarker or elsewhere abroad and not returning. There are some small percentages of Eastern Orthodox Christians, indigenous religions, Muslims (see Islam in Ecuador), Buddhists and Bahá'í. Ecuador also has a rapidly growing number of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Population density

The majority of Ecuadorians live in the central provinces inland in the Andes mountains, or along the Pacific coast. The tropical forest region to the east of the mountains (El Oriente) remains sparsely populated and contains only about three percent of the population.

City Populations 2003

Nations

Ecuador is a plurinational state. In addition to whites, blacks, and mestizos, many Ecuadorians belong to indigenous nations, principally:





Immigration and emigration

A small east Asian Latino community estimated at 2,500 mainly consists of those of Japanese and Chinese descent, whose ancestors arrived as miners, farm hands and fishermen in the late 19th century.

Culture

Ecuador's mainstream culture is defined by its mestizo majority and, like their ancestry, is a mixture of European and Amerindian influences infused with African elements inherited from enslaved ancestors. Ecuador's indigenous communities are integrated into the mainstream culture to varying degrees, but some may also practice their own autochthonous cultures, particularly the more remote indigenous communities of the Amazon basin. Spanish is spoken as the first language by more than 90% of the population and as first and second language by more than 98%. One part of Ecuador's population can speak Amerindian languages, but just as a second language. Two percent of the population speaks only Amerindian languages because they have never attended school.
Panama hats sold on a street market in Ecuador
The Panama hat is of Ecuadorian origin, and is known there as "Sombrero de paja toquilla", or a Jipijapa. It is made principally in Montecristimarker in the Province of Manabi. Its manufacture (particularly that of the Montecristi superfino) is considered a great craft.

Notable people born in Ecuador include painters Tábara, Guayasamín, Kingman, Rendón, Arauz, Constanté, Viteri, Molinari, Maldonado, Gutierrez, Endara Crow, Villacís, Egas, Villafuerte and Faini; Enrique Espín Yépez composer, violinist and conductor; animator Mike Judge; poet and statesman José Joaquín de Olmedo y Maruri, scholar Benjamín Urrutia, world traveler Claudia Velasco, and tennis player Pancho Segura.

Food



The food in Ecuador is diverse, varying with altitude and associated agricultural conditions. Pork, chicken, beef, and cuy (guinea pig) are popular in the mountain regions and are served with a variety of grains (especially rice and corn or potatoes). A popular street food in mountain regions is hornado, consisting of potatoes served with roasted pig. Fanesca, a fish soup including several types of bean, is often eaten during Lent and Easter. During the week before the commemoration of the deceased or "día de los muertos", the fruit beverage "Colada Morada" is typical, accompanied by "Guaguas de Pan", which is stuffed bread shaped like children.

The food is somewhat different in the southern mountain area, featuring typical Loja food such as "repe", a soup prepared with green bananas; "cecina", roasted pork; and "miel con quesillo" or "cuajada" as dessert.

A wide variety of fresh fruit is available, particularly at lower altitudes, including granadilla, passionfruit, naranjilla, several types of bananas, uvilla, taxo, and tree tomato.

Seafood is very popular at the coast, where prawns, shrimp and lobster are key parts of the diet. Plantain- and peanut-based dishes are the basis of most coastal meals, which are usually served in two courses. The first course is caldo soup, which may be aguado (a thin soup, usually with meat) or caldo de leche, a cream vegetable soup. The second course might include rice, a little meat or fish with a menestra (lentil stew), and salad or vegetables. Patacones (fried green plantains with cheese) are popular side dishes with coastal meals.

Most regions in Ecuador follow the traditional 3 course meal of sopa/soup and segundo/second dish which includes rice and a protein such as meat, poultry, pig or fish. Then desert and a coffee are customary. Dinner is usually lighter and sometimes just coffee or agua de remedio/herbal tea with bread.

Some of the typical dishes in the coastal region are: ceviche, pan de almidón, corviche, guatita, papas con quero, encebollado and empanadas; in the mountain region: hornado, fritada, humitas, tamales, llapingachos, lomo saltado, and churrasco.

In the rainforest, a dietary staple is the yuca, elsewhere called cassava. The starchy root is peeled and boiled, fried, or used in a variety of other dishes. Many fruits are available in this region, including bananas, tree grapes, and peach palms. It's also used as a bread and has spread throughout the nation, most notably, to Quito where a company sells the native pan de yuca in a new sense; different types sold with frozen youghurt.

Aguardiente, a sugar cane-based spirit, is probably the most popular national alcohol. Drinkable yogurt, available in many fruit flavors, is popular and is often consumed with pan de yuca, a light bread filled with cheese and eaten warm.

Literature

There are many contemporary Ecuadorian writers, including the novelist Jorge Enrique Adoum; the poet Jorge Carrera Andrade; the essayist Benjamín Carrión; the poet Fanny Carrión de Fierro; the novelist Enrique Gil Gilbert; the novelist Jorge Icaza (author of the novel Huasipungo, translated to many languages); the short story author Pablo Palacio; the novelist Alicia Yanez Cossio; the prominent author and essayist, Juan Montalvo, and U.S.-based, half Ecuadorian poet Emanuel Xavier.

Art



The best known art tendencies from Ecuador belonged to the Escuela Quiteña, which developed from the 16th to 18th centuries, examples of which are on display in various old churches in Quito.

Ecuadorian painters include: Oswaldo Guayasamín, Camilo Egas and Eduardo Kingman from the Indiginist Movement; and Manuel Rendon, Enrique Tábara, Aníbal Villacís, Theo Constanté and Estuardo Maldonado from the Informalist Movement.

The indigenous people of Tigua, Ecuador are also world renowned for their tradicional paintings.

Film



The Ecuador Film Company was founded in Guayaquil, in 1924. During the early twenties to early thirties, Ecuador enjoyed its Cinema Golden Age Era. However, the production of motion pictures declined with the coming of sound.

Beyond the Gates of Splendor (2002), directed by Jim Hanon, is a documentary about five missionaries killed by the Huaorani Indians in the 1950s. He recycles the story in the 2006 Hollywood production End of the Spear. Most of this film was shot in Panama.

Entre Marx y una Mujer Desnuda (Between Marx and a Nude Woman, 1995), by Ecuadorian Camilo Luzuriaga, provides a window into the life of young Ecuadorian leftists living in a country plagued by the remnants of feudal systems and coup d'etats. It is based on a novel by Jorge Enrique Adoum

In addition to film, there are numerous books and novels based on Ecuador, including the science fiction novel by Rod Glenn, The King of America, and the science fiction novel Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut.

Sports

Ecuador's Olympic related administrative building.
The most popular sport in Ecuador, as in most South American countries, is football (soccer). Its best known professional teams include Barcelona and Emelec from Guayaquilmarker, LDU Quito, Deportivo Quito, and El Nacional from Quito, Olmedo from Riobambamarker, and Deportivo Cuenca from Cuenca.

The matches of the Ecuadorian national team are the most watched sporting events in the country. In June 2007, FIFAmarker adopted a resolution prohibiting international football games at or higher than 2,500 meters above sea level. Rafael Correa, and his presidential counterparts in Perumarker, Boliviamarker and Colombiamarker, issued a joint letter of protest against this ruling.Ecuador qualified for the final rounds of both the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. Ecuador finished ahead of and to come in second to in Group A in the 2006 World Cup. Futsal, often referred to as índor, is particularly popular for mass participation.

There is considerable interest in tennis in the middle and upper classes in Ecuadorian society, and several Ecuadorian professional players have attained international fame, including Nicolas Lapentti, Francisco Segura and Andrés Gómez. Basketball has a high profile, while Ecuador's specialties include Ecuavolley, a three-person variation of volleyball. Bullfighting is practiced at a professional level in Quito, during the annual festivities that commemorate the Spanish founding of the city, and also features in festivals in many smaller towns. Rugby union is found to some extent in Ecuador, with teams in Guayaquil, Quito, and Cuenca.

Ecuador obtained its only Olympic medals through Jefferson Pérez, who won in Atlanta's 1996 Olympic Games and took the silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, both in the 20 km walk. Since 2005, Ecuador has held the Guayaquil Marathon, which is an international foot race.

There is flourishing activity in non-traditional sports such as inline hockey, Capoeira, mountain biking, motorbiking, whitewater kayaking, surfing, and paintball. Martin Davalos, from Pichincha, Quito, is a well-known accomplished AMA motocross and supercross dirtbike rider and racer. Some coastal resorts, particularly Montañita and Ayampe, have been developed as surfing centres. The 2005 World Rafting Championships were held on the Quijos River in Napo Province. Ecuador also hosted the 2007 Youth World Championship for rock climbing, held in Ibarra, becoming the first country outside Europe or Asia to host the event.

Education

The public education system is free at the point of delivery, and attendance is mandatory from ages five to 14. Provision of public schools falls far below the levels needed, and class sizes are often very large, and families of limited means often find it necessary to pay for education. In rural areas, only 10% of the children go on to high school. The Ministry of Education states that the mean number of years completed is 6.7.

Ecuador has 61 universities, many of which offer graduate degrees, although only 87% of the faculty in public universities have Master's degrees, and less than 1% have doctorates (PhD). About 300 higher institutes offer two to three years of post-secondary vocational or technical training.

Science and technology

The public policies on science and technology in Ecuador are regulated by Senacyt (Secretaria Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia)[1049]. Senacyt works alongside universities and private sector to promote applied research.The major focus of research has been in agriculture and environmental impact on raw material extraction.

Tourism

Ecuador has a diverse attractions for the traveler, including Amazon jungles, diverse flora and fauna, the Amazon Basin, Andean Volcanoes, tropical forests, and beaches. The Galápagos Islandsmarker are a common tourist destination.

Transportation

Road

Ecuador has a network of national highways maintained by the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Comunicaciones (Ministry of Public Works and Communication). The Pan-American Highway connects the northern and southern portions of the country as well as connecting Ecuador with Colombia to the north and Peru to the south. The quality of roads, even on truck routes, is highly variable. There is an extensive network of intercity buses that use these mountain roads and highways. The most modern Ecuadorian Highway connects Guayaquil with Salinas.

Rail

The Interandean Railroad connects Quito with Cotopaxi and Ambato with Alausí. (The portion of the line between Cotopaxi and Ambato is no longer operational).

Military

A Puma helicopter from the Army's Aviation Branch
Ecuadorian Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas del Ecuador), consisting of the Army, Air Force and Navy, have responsibility for the preservation of the integrity and national sovereignty of the national territory. Frequent border conflicts with its neighbours, guerilla insurgency from Colombia as well as internal problems involving crime, makes the Ecuadorian Armed Forces an essential part of the country's existence. In 2009 the new administration at the Defence Ministry launched a deep restructuring within the forces, increasing spending budget to $1,691,776,803 USD, an increase of 25%.(FY08) List of countries by military expenditures ranked 54th.

References

External links




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