Ecuador: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government in the country of Ecuador.



Location--Ecuador lies on the equator (from which it derives its name) on the Pacific coast of South America. Its neighbors are Colombia to the north and Peru to the south and east. The Galapagos Islands, 600 mi. out in the Pacific Ocean, also belong to Ecuador.

How Created--Originally the northern part of the Incan Empire which extended south from Ecuador into Chile, the country was briefly part of the federation of Gran Colombia, whose freedom was achieved by Simon Bolivar in the early 19th century. Ecuador withdrew from the federation in 1830, and, through a series of border disputes with Peru, has lost nearly half of the original territory claimed by it.

Size--109,483 sq. mi. (283,561 sq. km.), about the size of Colorado.

Population--6.8 million: Indian, 40%; mestizo, 40%; black, 10%; European, 10% (mostly of Spanish descent). 44% Roman Catholic.

Who Rules--In form a classical republic, Ecuador has had a 150-year history of dictators, coups, countercoups, assassinations, and military rulers. Between 1931 and 1940 there were 12 different Presidents. The Government is currently headed by Gen. Guillermo Rodriguez Lara, who in 1972 ousted the elected President Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra, and canceled the upcoming elections.

Who REALLY Rules--Ecuador is in the hands of the country's very small Liberal/Conservative oligarchy, who control the land and the commerce in conjunction with U.S. business interests such as Texaco and Gulf. The military has long been a major political force: At present they control the Government, and have earmarked much of Ecuador's oil revenue for defense spending.

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