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Brief History of Ecuador:
Ecuador was long inhabited by local tribes for thousands of years when the Inca Empire arrived. They fought off the Incas for some years, but eventually the Inca Empire took control of the area in the 1400s. A century later in 1534, Spanish conquistadors arrived. They defeated the Inca and took control of the land. For many years the area was part of the Spanish Empire. The natives suffered greatly from disease brought by the Europeans and were often forced to work for the Spanish colonists. The city of Quito was a major city of the time and is today identified as a World Cultural Heritage Site.
In 1822, the area gained independence from Spain when Simon Bolivar and his armies defeated the Spanish. At first the land was part of the larger group of countries called Gran Columbia, but in 1830 Ecuador became a separate independent country.
Ecuador and Peru have long had battles and disputes over their borders. This lasted until 1999, when some agreement was come to on the current borders. Ecuador went through a period of internal unrest during the 1970s when the country was under direct military rule.
The Geography of Ecuador
Total Size: 283,560 square km
Size Comparison: slightly smaller than Nevada
Geographical Coordinates: 2 00 S, 77 30 W
World Region or Continent: South America
General Terrain: coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)
Geographical Low Point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Geographical High Point: Chimborazo 6,267 m
Climate: tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
Major cities: Guayaquil 2.634 million; QUITO (capital) 1.801 million (2009), Cuenca
The People of Ecuador
Type of Government: republic
Languages Spoken: Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
Independence: 24 May 1822 (from Spain)
National Holiday: Independence Day (independence of Quito), 10 August (1809)
Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%
National Symbol: Andean condor
National Anthem or Song: Salve, Oh Patria! (We Salute You Our Homeland)
Economy of Ecuador
Major Industries: petroleum, food processing, textiles, wood products, chemicals
Agricultural Products: bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, manioc (tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products; balsa wood; fish, shrimp
Natural Resources: petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower
Major Exports: petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp
Major Imports: vehicles, medicinal products, telecommunications equipment, electricity
Currency: US dollar (USD)
National GDP: $127,400,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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