Ecuador: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Ecuador, the native Indians economy, Quite the capital, the Galapagos Islands and tortoises there.

NOTES

The vast majority of the Indians live in the Sierra highlands and work the plantations, legally free but virtually in peonage to the hacienda owners due to debt. They are not paid cash but are permitted to use the master's land, and subsist outside the economy on less than 1,000 calories daily. Many speak Quechua, not Spanish, and most are denied the right to vote because they are illiterate. Even more primitive and isolated groups of Indians inhabit the Amazon jungle areas to the east of the Andes.

Quito, the capital city, with its red tile roofs, winding streets, and whitewashed buildings, is a perfect example of Spanish colonial architecture. It is the "City of Eternal Spring," almost on the equator but 9,000' above sea level.

The giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands (galapagos is the Spanish word for the turtles) are the world's oldest living animals. They weigh 400 lbs., are 4' long, and may be 300-400 years old. Many other unique species are also found on these islands, described by Herman Melville as "5-and-20 heaps of cinders...magnified into mountains."

Ecuador's fishing grounds are guarded against U.S. poaching by American-made equipment which has been loaned or leased to the Ecuadorean navy.

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