Ecuador Country Facts

Capital city Quito
Surface 283,561 km²
Population 15,224,000
Road network length 43,197 km
Length of highway network 170 km
First highway ?
Motorway name autopista
Traffic drives Right
License plate code EC

Ecuador (Spanish: República del Ecuador) is a country in South America. The country is, as the name implies, on the equator and has 15 million inhabitants. The country is roughly 7 times the size of the Netherlands. The capital is Quito, the largest city is Guayaquil.


Ecuador is located on the west coast of South America and borders Colombia to the north and Peru to the east and south. Together with Uruguay, Ecuador is the only country in South America that borders only two other countries. Ecuador measures a maximum of 700 kilometers from north to south and 580 kilometers from west to east, making it one of the smaller countries in South America. 1,000 kilometers west of Ecuador are the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean, which also belong to Ecuador. This is the only large archipelago west of South America.

The country is divided into three zones. To the west is the coastal region, which runs 20 to 180 kilometers inland and is relatively sparsely populated and undeveloped outside a few larger cities. Ecuador’s largest city, Guayuquil is located here, but there are relatively few other places elsewhere. This area varies from lowland to hill country. East of this lies the high mountains, the Andes, in which most of Ecuador’s larger cities are located. The high mountains extend north-south through the country, but are usually only 100 to 150 kilometers wide. This mountain area consists of plateaus, deep canyons and steep mountain peaks, several of which are more than 4,500 meters high. The 6,267 meter high Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador. Since Ecuador is on the equator, the snow line is high, ranging from 4,500 to 5. 500 meters above sea level. As a result, only some very high mountains are permanently covered with snow and glaciers. Much larger places in the Andes are around 3,000 meters in this area. The southern part of the high mountains has fewer high peaks. The east of Ecuador is formed by the Amazon jungle, this area is sparsely populated and hardly cultivated, most places are located at the foot of the Andes. Major rivers flow eastward across the continent as tributaries of the Amazon. most places are at the foot of the Andes. Major rivers flow eastward across the continent as tributaries of the Amazon. most places are at the foot of the Andes. Major rivers flow eastward across the continent as tributaries of the Amazon.

Because of the large differences in altitude, Ecuador has a varied climate. The lower parts in the west and east of the country have a tropical climate with high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. Most cities in the Andes have a more moderate climate because of the high altitude, in cities like Quito and Cuenca it is around 21°C almost all year round. In the seaside Guayaquil it is 30-32°C almost all year round. The Galápagos have very variable precipitation according to altitude.


Ecuador has a diverse demographic. About three quarters of the inhabitants are Mestizos, a mixture of European and Indo-American ancestors. About 6% of Ecuadorians are of European descent only, living mainly in the larger cities. Black Ecuadorians are classified into several groups and make up the remaining 20% ​​of the population. Afro-Ecuadorians make up about 5% of the population, they are descendants of African slaves. They mainly live in the extreme northwest of Ecuador.

The population of Ecuador grew from 3.2 million in 1950 to 12 million in 2000. Since the 1980s, the population growth has slowed down. The two largest cities in Ecuador are the port city of Guayaquil (2,711,000 inhabitants) and the capital Quito (2,342,000 inhabitants). These are by far the largest cities in Ecuador, the other cities in the top 10 have between 180,000 and 330,000 inhabitants. Of the 10 largest cities, most are in western Ecuador, but this coastal region has an otherwise sparsely populated countryside. This is different in the highlands, where the countryside is more densely populated. Eastern Ecuador is almost uniformly sparsely populated, with only a few small towns, mostly at the foot of the Andes. There are only two small towns with about 50,000 inhabitants in the lowlands east of the Andes.

Spanish is by far the most spoken language in Ecuador. Minor Indo-American languages ​​are also spoken, sometimes as a first language but often as a second language. Of these, Quechua is the most widely spoken Indo-American language.


Ecuador’s economy is based on oil, bananas and shrimp exports, as well as the extraction of minerals such as gold. Oil accounts for 40% of exports. Ecuador is the largest exporter of bananas in the world. In addition, tourism is important, especially on the Galápagos Islands. Ecuador has had above-average economic growth in South America since 2000. GDP doubled between 1999 and 2007 and extreme poverty has fallen sharply since 2000 from 40% of the population to approximately 17% of the population. A sizeable middle class has emerged in the larger cities. However, Ecuador is only industrialized to a limited extent, more than a quarter of the inhabitants still work in the agricultural sector.


From the 15th century, Ecuador began to be under the control of the Incas, who built extensive infrastructure, including roads and cities. In the 16th century the area was conquered by the Spanish Conquistadors, in 1563 Quito became a regional capital. However, it remained a relatively small town. In 1809, residents of Quito declared independence from Spain, the first in Latin America. However, independence was contested by Spain, it was not until 1820 that parts of Ecuador became truly independent, starting with the port city of Guayaquil. Ecuador then belonged to the independent republic of Gran Colombia for some time but separated from it in 1830 and became an independent republic. The 19th century was characterized by instability and rapid succession of regimes.

Ecuador had a long-standing border dispute with Peru, claiming and controlling for some time a large area north of the río Marañón, up to and including the city of Iquitos. The border conflict culminated in a brief war between the two countries in 1941. In the 1980s and 1990s, there were still several small-scale conflicts between the two countries. It was not until 1998 that the two countries signed a peace agreement in which the border dispute was settled.

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