Ecuador
Ecuadoran, Ecuadorean, Ecuadorian, adj., n.
/ek"weuh dawr'/, n.
a republic in NW South America. 11,690,535; 109,483 sq. mi. (283,561 sq. km). Cap.: Quito.

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Ecuador

Introduction Ecuador
Background: The "Republic of the Equator" was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Colombia and Venezuela). Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999. Geography Ecuador -
Location: Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru
Geographic coordinates: 2 00 S, 77 30 W
Map references: South America
Area: total: 283,560 sq km note: includes Galapagos Islands water: 6,720 sq km land: 276,840 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Nevada
Land boundaries: total: 2,010 km border countries: Colombia 590 km, Peru 1,420 km
Coastline: 2,237 km
Maritime claims: continental shelf: claims continental shelf between mainland and Galapagos Islands territorial sea: 200 NM
Climate: tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
Terrain: coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Chimborazo 6,267 m
Natural resources: petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 5.69% permanent crops: 5.15% other: 89.16% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 8,650 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; floods; periodic droughts Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Galapagos Islands Environment - international party to: Antarctic-Environmental
agreements: Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: Cotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in world People Ecuador
Population: 13,447,494 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.4% (male 2,415,764; female 2,337,095) 15-64 years: 60.2% (male 4,007,495; female 4,090,957) 65 years and over: 4.4% (male 276,482; female 319,701) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.96% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 25.47 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 5.36 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.53 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/ female total population: 0.99 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 33.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 71.61 years female: 74.57 years (2002 est.) male: 68.79 years
Total fertility rate: 3.05 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.3% (2001) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 20,000 (2001 est.)
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 232 (2001)
Nationality: noun: Ecuadorian(s) adjective: Ecuadorian
Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%
Religions: Roman Catholic 95%
Languages: Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 90.1% male: 92% female: 88.2% (1995 est.) Government Ecuador
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Ecuador conventional short form: Ecuador local long form: Republica del Ecuador local short form: Ecuador
Government type: republic
Capital: Quito Administrative divisions: 22 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Azuay, Bolivar, Canar, Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Galapagos, Guayas, Imbabura, Loja, Los Rios, Manabi, Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Pichincha, Sucumbios, Tungurahua, Zamora-Chinchipe
Independence: 24 May 1822 (from Spain)
National holiday: Independence Day (independence of Quito), 10 August (1809)
Constitution: 10 August 1998
Legal system: based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal, compulsory for literate persons ages 18-65, optional for other eligible voters
Executive branch: chief of state: President Gustavo NOBOA Bejarano (since 22 January 2000) selected president following coup that deposed President Jamil MAHUAD; Vice President Pedro PINTO Rubianes (since 28 January 2000) elected by National Congress from a slate of candidates submitted by President NOBOA; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government elections: formerly, the president and vice president were elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year term (no reelection); election last held 31 May 1998; runoff election held 12 July 1998 (next to be held 20 October 2002) head of government: President Gustavo NOBOA Bejarano (since 22 January 2000) selected president following coup that deposed President Jamil MAHUAD; Vice President Pedro PINTO Rubianes (since 28 January 2000) elected by National Congress from a slate of candidates submitted by President NOBOA; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president election results: results of the last election prior to the coup were: Jamil MAHUAD elected president; percent of vote - 51% note: a military-indigenous coup toppled democratically-elected President Jamil MAHAUD on 21 January 2000; the military quickly handed power over to Vice President Gustavo NOBOA on 22 January 2000; National Congress then elected a new vice president from a slate of candidates submitted by NOBOA; the new administration is scheduled to complete the remainder of MAHAUD's term, due to expire in January 2003
Legislative branch: unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (123 seats; 20 members are popularly elected at- large nationally to serve four-year terms; 103 members are popularly elected by province to serve four- year terms) elections: last held 31 May 1998 (next to be held 20 October 2002) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - DP 32, PSC 27, PRE 24, ID 18, P-NP 9, FRA 5, PCE 3, MPD 2, CFP 1; note - defections by members of National Congress are commonplace, resulting in frequent changes in the numbers of seats held by the various parties
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (new justices are elected by the full Supreme Court) Political parties and leaders: Concentration of Popular Forces or CFP [Averroes BUCARAM]; Democratic Left or ID [Rodrigo BORJA Cevallos]; Ecuadorian Conservative Party or PCE [Jacinto JIJON Y CAMANO]; Independent National Movement or MIN [Eliseo AZUERO]; Pachakutik-New Country or P-NP [Miguel LLUCO]; Popular Democracy or DP [Dr. Juan Manuel FUERTES]; Popular Democratic Movement or MPD [Gustavo TERAN Acosta]; Radical Alfarista Front or FRA [Fabian ALARCON, director]; Roldosist Party or PRE [Abdala BUCARAM Ortiz, director]; Social Christian Party or PSC [Pascual DEL CIOPPO] Political pressure groups and Confederation of Indigenous
leaders: Nationalities of Ecuador or CONAIE [Leonidas IZA, president]; Coordinator of Social Movements or CMS [F. Napoleon SANTOS]; Federation of Indigenous Evangelists of Ecuador or FEINE [Marco MURILLO, president]; National Federation of Indigenous Afro-Ecuatorianos and Peasants or FENOCIN [Pedro DE LA CRUZ, president]; Popular Front or FP [Luis VILLACIS] International organization CAN, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB,
participation: IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Ivonne A-BAKI consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, and San Francisco FAX: [1] (202) 667-3482 telephone: [1] (202) 234-7200 chancery: 2535 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador
US: (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Larry L. PALMER embassy: Avenida 12 de Octubre y Avenida Patria, Quito mailing address: APO AA 34039 telephone: [593] (2) 256-2890 FAX: [593] (2) 502-052 consulate(s) general: Guayaquil
Flag description: three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double width), blue, and red with the coat of arms superimposed at the center of the flag; similar to the flag of Colombia which is shorter and does not bear a coat of arms Economy Ecuador -
Economy - overview: Ecuador has substantial oil resources and rich agricultural areas. Because the country exports primary products such as oil, bananas, and shrimp, fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact. Ecuador joined the World Trade Organization in 1996, but has failed to comply with many of its accession commitments. The aftermath of El Nino and depressed oil market of 1997-98 drove Ecuador's economy into a free-fall in 1999. The beginning of 1999 saw the banking sector collapse, which helped precipitate an unprecedented default on external loans later that year. Continued economic instability drove a 70% depreciation of the currency throughout 1999, which forced a desperate government to "dollarize" the currency regime in 2000. The move stabilized the currency, but did not stave off the ouster of the government. Gustavo NOBOA, who assumed the presidency in January 2000, has managed to pass substantial economic reforms and mend relations with international financial institutions. Ecuador completed its first standby agreement since 1986 when the IMF Board approved a 10 December 2001 disbursement of $96 million, the final installment of a $300 million standby credit agreement.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $39.6 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $3,000 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 11% industry: 25% services: 64% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: 70% (2001 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 2.2%
percentage share: highest 10%: 33.8% (1995) Distribution of family income - Gini 43.7 (1995)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 22% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 3.7 million (urban) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 30%, industry 25%, services 45% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate: 14%; note - widespread underemployment (2001 est.)
Budget: revenues: $5.6 billion expenditures: planned $5.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
Industries: petroleum, food processing, textiles, metal work, paper products, wood products, chemicals, plastics, fishing, lumber Industrial production growth rate: 5.1% (2001 est.) Electricity - production: 10.395 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 25.01% hydro: 74.99% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 9.667 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, manioc (tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products; balsa wood; fish, shrimp
Exports: $4.8 billion (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: petroleum, bananas, shrimp, coffee, cocoa, cut flowers, fish
Exports - partners: US 38%, Peru 6%, Chile 5%, Colombia 5%, Italy 3% (2000)
Imports: $4.8 billion (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, raw materials, fuels; consumer goods
Imports - partners: US 25%, Colombia 13%, Japan 8%, Venezuela 8%, Brazil 4% (2000)
Debt - external: $14 billion (2001) Economic aid - recipient: $120 million (2001)
Currency: US dollar (USD)
Currency code: USD
Exchange rates: sucres per US dollar - 25,000.0 (January 2002), 25,000.0 (2001), 24,988.4 (2000), 11,786.8 (1999), 5,446.6 (1998), 3,988.3 (1997) note: on 13 March 2000, the National Congress approved a new exchange system whereby the US dollar was adopted as the main legal tender in Ecuador for all purposes; on 20 March 2000, the Central Bank of Ecuador started to exchange sucres for US dollars at a fixed rate of 25,000 sucres per US dollar; since 30 April 2000, all transactions are denominated in US dollars
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Ecuador Telephones - main lines in use: 1,115,272 (1999) Telephones - mobile cellular: 384,000 (1999)
Telephone system: general assessment: generally elementary but being expanded domestic: facilities generally inadequate and unreliable international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) Radio broadcast stations: AM 392, FM 35, shortwave 29 (2001)
Radios: 5 million (2001) Television broadcast stations: 7 (plus 14 repeaters) (2001)
Televisions: 2.5 million (2001)
Internet country code: .ec Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 31 (2001)
Internet users: 180,000 (2001) Transportation Ecuador
Railways: total: 965 km narrow gauge: 965 km 1.067-m gauge (2000 est.)
Highways: total: 43,197 km paved: 8,165 km unpaved: 35,032 km (2001)
Waterways: 1,500 km
Pipelines: crude oil 800 km; petroleum products 1,358 km
Ports and harbors: Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, La Libertad, Manta, Puerto Bolivar, San Lorenzo
Merchant marine: total: 33 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 239,876 GRT/393,680 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Chile 1, Greece 1 (2002 est.) ships by type: cargo 2, chemical tanker 3, liquefied gas 1, passenger 3, petroleum tanker 23, specialized tanker 1
Airports: 205 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 61 over 3,047 m: 2 2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 914 to 1,523 m: 17 under 914 m: 19 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 18 Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 144 914 to 1,523 m: 31 under 914 m: 113 (2001)
Heliports: 1 (2001) Military Ecuador
Military branches: Army, Navy (including Marines), Air Force, National Police Military manpower - military age: 20 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 3,468,678 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 2,337,944 (2002
service: est.) Military manpower - reaching military males: 132,978 (2002 est.)
age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $720 million (FY98)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 3.4% (FY98)
GDP: Transnational Issues Ecuador Disputes - international: none
Illicit drugs: significant transit country for cocaine originating in Colombia and Peru; importer of precursor chemicals used in production of illicit narcotics; important money- laundering hub; increased activity on the northern frontier by trafficking groups and Colombian insurgents

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officially Republic of Ecuador

Country, northwestern South America.

Area: 105,037 sq mi (272,045 sq km), including the Galápagos Islands. Population (2002 est.): 13,095,000. Capital: Quito. About two-fifths of the population are Indian (mostly Quechua), and two-fifths are mestizo (mixed European and Indian); most of the rest are of Spanish ancestry. Language: Spanish (official). Religion: predominantly Roman Catholicism. Currency: U.S. dollar. Pacific coastal lowlands rise to the peaks and highlands of the Andes Mountains, which give way to the Ecuadoran portion of the tropical Amazon River basin in the east. The Andes rise dramatically in two chains that run north to south and are separated by high valleys. The highest peak is Chimborazo, which rises to an elevation of 20,561 ft (6,267 m); nearby Cotopaxi, 19,347 ft (5,897 m) high, is the world's highest active volcano. The country lies in an active earthquake zone and is prone to violent seismic activity. Almost half the land is forested, with tropical rainforests in the east. Ecuador straddles the Equator. Its climate varies from tropical in the lowlands to temperate in the highlands. It has a developing economy based primarily on services, followed by manufacturing and agriculture. Principal exports include crude petroleum, bananas, and shellfish. It is a republic with one legislative house; its head of state and government is the president. What is now Ecuador was conquered by the Incas in 1450 and came under Spanish control in 1534. Under the Spaniards it was a part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until 1740, when it became a part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada. It gained its independence from Spain in 1822 as part of the republic of Gran Colombia and in 1830 became a sovereign state. A succession of authoritarian governments ruled into the mid-20th century, and the military played a prominent role in politics. Border disputes led to war with Peru in 1941; conflicts with that country continued periodically until a final demarcation of the border in 1998. The economy thrived during the 1970s due to large profits from petroleum exports but was depressed in the 1980s because of lower oil prices. In the 1990s social unrest caused political instability and several changes in the presidency. In a controversial move to help stabilize the economy, the U.S. dollar replaced the sucre as the national currency in 2000.

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▪ 2009

Area:
272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq-km (3,093-sq-mi) Galapagos Islands
Population
(2008 est.): 13,481,000 (Galapagos Islands, about 22,000)
Capital:
Quito
Chief of state and head of government:
President Rafael Correa Delgado

      Riding twin waves of high oil prices and strong personal popularity, Ecuadoran Pres. Rafael Correa (Correa, Rafael ) secured popular support for sweeping political change in a referendum held in September 2008. More than 60% of those who voted approved a new constitution that entrenched programs, such as social security benefits for mothers and the self-employed, and increased presidential powers over economic and monetary policy. Under the new charter, Correa was bound to hold elections early in 2009; if reelected he could seek another four-year presidential term in 2013. The constitution also broke new ground by conferring legal rights on ecosystems and “natural communities,” allowing lawsuits to be filed on their behalf. Correa's political opponents and business executives cautioned that the measures were economically unsound and politically dangerous. Correa, however, said that the vote was part of a “citizens' revolution” that would give him the power to redistribute wealth and clean up a corrupt and unstable political system.

      Strong world prices for oil, Ecuador's principal export, enabled Correa to stimulate the economy with social-spending programs that would provide seeds to farmers and building materials to would-be homeowners. Ecuador's government was more disposed to negotiate with foreign oil firms than to nationalize them, as its counterparts in Venezuela and Bolivia had done. Several agreements were renegotiated as service contracts, and talks were held with the Canadian firm Ivanhoe Energy Inc. on development of the Pungarayacu oil field. Minister of Politics Ricardo Patiño said that foreign firms were welcome but added, “Let's make sure their profits are normal, not a stick-up of the Ecuadoran state as in the past.”

      Correa's personal standing in Ecuador was enhanced by a confrontation in March with Colombian Pres. Álvaro Uribe. Colombian troops battling the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia ( FARC) launched a raid in Ecuadoran territory, killing a top FARC commander and 20 others. Correa ordered Ecuadoran troops to the border and cut diplomatic ties with Colombia. Uribe later apologized for the incident, but Ecuador continued to demand concessions as the price of restoring relations. Correa replaced his defense minister and several senior military commanders after press reports suggested that intelligence supplied by the Ecuadoran military to the United States may have helped the Colombian forces locate the FARC unit. Meanwhile, Correa said that the lease (scheduled to expire in 2009) allowing the U.S. to conduct anti- drug-trafficking surveillance flights from the Manta air base on the Pacific coast would not be renewed.

Paul Knox

▪ 2008

Area:
272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq-km (3,093-sq-mi) Galapagos Islands
Population
(2007 est.): 13,341,000 (Galapagos Islands, about 20,000)
Capital:
Quito
Chief of state and head of government:
Presidents Alfredo Palacio González and, from January 15, Rafael Correa Delgado

 The inauguration of Pres. Rafael Correa in January 2007 added Ecuador to the list of South American countries in which elected leftist leaders sought to implement major political, economic, and social change. Correa moved swiftly to overhaul the constitution and Ecuador's discredited political institutions. In an April referendum, voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of a constituent assembly with the power to dissolve the National Congress and draft a new charter. Fifty-seven legislators who had sought to block the vote were stripped of their posts by the electoral court. A constitutional court ordered them reinstated, but Correa's alliance won a majority of seats in September elections for the assembly. On November 29 the constituent assembly began working and immediately dissolved the Congress.

      Correa's opponents accused him of an unconstitutional power grab. He was denounced as a tyrant by wealthy banana grower Álvaro Noboa, his opponent in the 2006 elections. The president's personal popularity remained high among Ecuadorans weary of corruption and mismanagement, and he appeared to favour political reform as a priority over economic nationalism. He said that he would disavow debts contracted corruptly or illegally, but fears that Ecuador would default on foreign debt payments due in February proved unfounded. The government said that it would renegotiate agreements with private oil companies to increase its share of revenues but at the same time signaled its desire to keep Ecuador attractive to investment. Nevertheless, protests by Indians and settlers in the Amazon region continued to disrupt oil production. Ecuador declined to participate in a U.S.-led inter-American naval exercise. Correa stated that he favoured U.S. legislation to extend the existing Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (which gave trade preferences to Ecuador in exchange for antinarcotic aid) but opposed its replacement, a bilateral free-trade agreement between Ecuador and the U.S.

      The economic impact of remittances was highlighted when a Spanish firm unveiled an automated system that allowed the estimated 400,000 Ecuadorans living in Spain to select and pay for goods that their relatives could collect in Ecuador. The country's groups who produce the high-quality straw headwear known as Panama hats for a living said that their industry faced extinction, in part because of competition from cheap paper imitations produced in China. The UN declared the fauna-rich Galapagos Islands an endangered World Heritage site, and strict curbs on tourism were proposed. Newly installed Defense Minister Guadalupe Larriva, her daughter, and five army officers were killed in January in a helicopter collision near the Manta air force base.

Paul Knox

▪ 2007

Area:
272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq-km (3,093-sq-mi) Galápagos Islands
Population
(2006 est.): 13,419,000 (Galápagos Islands, about 20,000)
Capital:
Quito
Chief of state and head of government:
President Alfredo Palacio González

       Rafael Correa Delgado prepared to take over Ecuador's unsteady helm after winning the nation's runoff presidential election in November 2006. Correa defeated wealthy banana plantation owner Álvaro Noboa Pontón by a vote margin of 57% to 43%. Oil policy, poverty, debt, and relations with the U.S. were the main campaign issues. Correa, an economist and self-described admirer of populist Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez, floated the possibility of a moratorium on “illegitimate” foreign-debt payments. He had gathered support with promises to strengthen state control over the country's extensive oil resources. Correa indicated that foreign petroleum firms would have to turn over more of their crude-oil production to the Ecuadoran government. He also advocated development of a trade corridor over land and water through Ecuador and Brazil that would link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and bypass the Panama Canal. Correa was set to take office in January 2007.

      The campaign took place amid tension between Ecuadorans and foreign oil companies. Violent protests in February and March forced repeated pipeline shutdowns and a brief suspension of exports. The protesters were poverty-stricken Indians and other residents of the oil-producing Amazon Basin, angry because they derived little or no benefit from crude-oil revenues. They demanded the expulsion of American multinational Occidental Petroleum, which pumped nearly one-fifth of Ecuador's crude, and the cancellation of free-trade talks with the U.S. In May the government canceled its operating contract with Occidental, seized its assets, and turned them over to state-owned Petroecuador. Authorities said that Occidental had violated its contract by agreeing to transfer part of its oil concession to the Canadian firm EnCana in 2000 without permission. The U.S. retaliated by breaking off the free-trade talks.

      Strong world oil prices cushioned the effect of political turmoil on the economy, but poverty continued to drive Ecuadorans to seek their fortunes abroad. With tightened visa restrictions in the United States and Europe, there was said to be a thriving trade in counterfeit documents. An estimated three million Ecuadorans were living outside the country, and the money they sent home to relatives constituted the second largest source of foreign exchange.

      The Tungurahua volcano erupted on August 16, leaving five people dead. U.S. officials reported a sharp increase in the amount of Colombian cocaine being shipped through Ecuador, and press reports said that police had dismantled an extensive trafficking network that included shipyards where boats for transporting illegal drugs were built. Members of the national association football (soccer) team returned from the World Cup finals as heroes in late June after they had reached the second round of play and ranked 12th overall.

Paul Knox

▪ 2006

Area:
272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq-km (3,093-sq-mi) Galápagos Islands
Population
(2005 est.): 13,003,000 (Galápagos Islands, about 20,000)
Capital:
Quito
Chief of state and head of government:
Presidents Lucio Gutiérrez Borbúa and, from April 20, Alfredo Palacio González

 The removal of Pres. Lucio Gutiérrez from office in April 2005 sparked growing uncertainty about Ecuador's economic and political future. Gutiérrez, who won the 2002 presidential election with the support of Indian and social-reform movements, had become estranged from his political base after adopting the austerity policies favoured by the International Monetary Fund. He engineered the removal of most Supreme Court judges and eventually dissolved the court, apparently to forestall legal action against former president Abdalá Bucaram, his political ally. Bucaram's return to Ecuador from Panama in early April angered the well-to-do, who joined calls for the president's ouster. With thousands of protesters in the streets, a session of Congress attended chiefly by Gutiérrez's opponents declared that he had abandoned his office by acting unconstitutionally and replaced him with Vice Pres. Alfredo Palacio. Gutiérrez and his wife, legislator Ximena Bohórquez, were granted asylum in Brazil, although Bohórquez soon returned to Ecuador and her husband moved on to Colombia. Bucaram resumed his exile in Panama.

      Palacio, a 66-year-old cardiologist, modified some of his predecessor's policies. He reinstated Indian representatives to government posts. His foreign minister, Antonio Parra, said that the agreement allowing U.S. antidrug forces to operate out of Ecuador should not be renewed when it expired in 2009. Palacio won a promise from Venezuela to buy $300 million of Ecuadoran bonds, which stoked fears about the potential influence of mercurial Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez (Chavez, Hugo ) (see Biographies). Finally, an oil-revenue fund that was mostly earmarked for debt service was abolished, and the percentage of oil proceeds allocated to social programs was increased. In response, the World Bank, under its new president, Paul Wolfowitz (Wolfowitz, Paul ) (see Biographies), suspended disbursement of a $100 million loan.

      Ecuador's oil policies continued to attract criticism from all sides. Demonstrators demanding a larger share of oil income for producing regions shut down most operations for a week in August. Long-running legal actions involving foreign firms remained unsettled, and oil executives complained about the difficulty of doing business in Ecuador. The Canadian firm EnCana announced in September that it would sell its interests to a Chinese joint venture for $1.4 billion.

      Calls for a crackdown on migrant smuggling were renewed after 94 Ecuadorans bound for the U.S. drowned on August 12 when their fishing boat sank off the Pacific Coast. Meanwhile, several major seizures of illegal drugs pointed to growing Ecuadoran involvement in the Andean cocaine trade.

Paul Knox

▪ 2005

Area:
272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq-km (3,093-sq-mi) Galápagos Islands
Population
(2004 est.): 13,003,000 (Galápagos Islands, about 20,000)
Capital:
Quito
Chief of state and head of government:
President Lucio Gutiérrez Borbúa

       Oil—Ecuador's economic lifeblood and its environmental nemesis—was the focus of attention in 2004. The government of Pres. Lucio Gutiérrez Borbúa tried to encourage foreign investment but was hampered by dissension within its own ranks and legal disputes involving major foreign companies.

      The most contentious of these disputes was a lawsuit on behalf of 30,000 residents of the Amazon Basin lowlands, mostly Indians, against the American firm ChevronTexaco. It alleged that a Texaco subsidiary, as a minority partner with state-owned Petroecuador, polluted rivers during the 1970s and '80s by dumping contaminated water into them. Meanwhile, a dozen foreign oil firms pursued claims that their tax bills had been inflated by as much as $200 million. The government claimed that U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum violated regulations in the sale of assets to EnCana, a Canadian firm that was Ecuador's largest private oil producer. EnCana was accused of failing to fulfill its environmental obligations as lead operator of the OCP (Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados) pipeline. Its president, Gwyn Morgan, likened working in Ecuador to “a roller coaster,” and the company was reported to be considering selling its stake. After several false starts, the government announced plans to auction licenses for new and producing oil fields. Gutiérrez, however, was unable to secure passage in Congress of a law reforming the oil and gas sector that some legislators believed was too generous to private-sector interests. His wife, Congresswoman Ximena Bohórquez, was among those voting against the law.

      Poor economic circumstances continued to induce thousands to emigrate. It was estimated that one in seven Ecuadorans lived abroad, and the money they sent home was Ecuador's second largest source of foreign exchange. Police were accused of being accomplices of migrant smugglers, and the government sought to lure migrants home with small-business incentives. Gutiérrez continued the drift toward orthodox economic policies that had alienated his Indian and leftist allies in 2003, although high world oil prices helped him stave off the most unpopular measures. He was dogged by charges of nepotism and suffered a serious blow in May with the resignation of Economy Minister Mauricio Pozo. In what looked like a desperate bid for support, Gutiérrez made overtures to former president Abdalá Bucaram, who had fled to Panama after being deposed in 1997. Bucaram's Roldosista movement maintained a significant bloc in Congress, and Gutiérrez appeared prepared to smooth the way for Bucaram's return to Ecuador despite pending criminal charges. In November Gutiérrez was almost impeached on corruption charges, and the following month Congress fired most of the country's Supreme Court judges, accusing them of favouring the opposition.

Paul Knox

▪ 2004

Area:
272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq-km (3,093-sq-mi) Galápagos Islands
Population
(2003 est.): 13,003,000 (Galápagos Islands, about 20,000)
Capital:
Quito
Chief of state and head of government:
Presidents Gustavo Noboa Bejarano and, from January 15, Lucio Gutiérrez Borbúa

      Pres. Lucio Gutiérrez's (see Biographies (Gutierrez, Lucio )) political honeymoon ended in August 2003 when his alliance with the Indian movement Pachakutik was dissolved. Gutiérrez was inaugurated on January 15 after having won election in November 2002 with the support of Pachakutik and his own January 21 Patriotic Society Party (PSP). He had difficulty, however, striking a balance between satisfying long-standing demands for social reform and demonstrating fiscal austerity to foreign creditors. The latter goal appeared to be Gutiérrez's priority. He chose former banker Mauricio Pozo Crespo as economy minister and reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund in March that required him to trim the government deficit and raise taxes. After Pachakutik deputies helped defeat a law limiting benefits to state workers, which was part of the IMF program, Gutiérrez dismissed the three cabinet ministers who belonged to the movement. Since the PSP held only a handful of congressional seats, the president was under pressure to form another coalition to improve prospects for getting legislation passed during the rest of his four-year term. Gutiérrez, who had harshly criticized corruption under previous governments, came under fire himself for naming relatives and former military associates to senior positions. Former president Gustavo Noboa Bejarano, who claimed to be the victim of political persecution when his financial dealings were investigated, was granted asylum in the Dominican Republic.

      Gutiérrez asserted that the armed conflict in neighbouring Colombia was responsible for rising crime in his own country, and he called for a greater role for the United Nations and countries of the Andean region in seeking peace between the Colombian government and leftist guerrillas. The replacement of Foreign Minister Nina Pacari, a Pachakutik member, with Patricio Zuquilanda Duque was believed to have given Gutiérrez a freer hand in dealing with Colombia. Meanwhile, the Ecuadoran armed forces acknowledged that large quantities of firearms and other munitions had gone missing. It was strongly suspected that the weapons had been sold to the Colombian guerrillas. Unlike Colombia, Ecuador declined to exempt American citizens from being extradited for prosecution at the International Criminal Court, and U.S. military aid was suspended as a result.

      Oil workers staged a nine-day strike in June, forcing postponement of plans to allow foreign companies to develop new Amazon basin petroleum deposits. Nevertheless, export earnings grew by 13.5% from January to May over the same period in 2002, largely owing to higher oil prices. The new foreign-operated OCP (Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados) pipeline began operations but was pumping less crude oil than had been expected.

Paul Knox

▪ 2003

Area:
272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq-km (3,093-sq-mi) Galápagos Islands
Population
(2002 est.): 13,095,000 (Galápagos Islands, about 20,000)
Capital:
Quito
Chief of state and head of government:
President Gustavo Noboa Bejarano

      Lucio Gutiérrez Borbúa was elected to a four-year term as president in a runoff vote in late November 2002, defeating Álvaro Noboa Pontón. He was to take office on Jan. 15, 2003. Gutiérrez, a former army colonel who had participated in an antigovernment uprising in January 2000, had the support of leftist groups and the Indian movement Pachakutik. Noboa, the owner of extensive banana plantations and the richest man in Ecuador, ran as an independent. The election was interpreted as a rejection of traditional political parties, whose candidates trailed both men in first-round voting in October. Both Gutiérrez and Noboa promised to retain the U.S. dollar as Ecuador's currency and renegotiate the $16 billion foreign debt.

      Despite widespread poverty, the economy was one of the stronger performers in Latin America, with 3.5% growth forecast for the year. Pressure from environmentalists dogged construction of a new $1.3 billion Ecuadoran pipeline to carry crude oil from the Amazon region to the Pacific coast, scheduled for completion in 2003. Activists said it would threaten the ecotourism industry and the habitat of endangered bird species. Dozens of people were arrested after they staged protests against the pipeline, but by November it was 70% complete. The pipeline's economic impact would be considerably less than initially anticipated, as the foreign consortium building it lowered estimates of the amount of oil to be pumped. Some oil firms threatened to withhold further investment because of a quarrel with the government over tax refunds, and Ecuador agreed to submit the dispute to arbitration.

      The banana industry, Ecuador's second largest foreign exchange earner, also faced political difficulties. In April the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch issued a report criticizing labour conditions, alleging that children were working long hours in pesticide-laden fields and earning an average of $3.50 a day. Workers on seven of Álvaro Noboa's plantations went on strike in May to support demands for higher wages, payment of legally mandated benefits, and union recognition. Armed gangs descended on the strikers' homes, and witnesses said some were beaten and shot. Noboa's company promised to improve conditions after a major American banana distributor expressed concern.

      The armed conflict in Colombia continued to worry Ecuadorans, and military patrols along the northern border were beefed up. Temporary relief from the country's problems came in June when Ecuadorans rejoiced as the national soccer team competed for the first time in the World Cup finals.

Paul Knox

▪ 2002

Area:
272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq-km (3,093-sq-mi) Galápagos Islands
Population
(2001 est.): 12,879,000 (Galápagos Islands, about 17,000)
Capital:
Quito
Chief of state and head of government:
President Gustavo Noboa Bejarano

      Armed conflict in Colombia, Ecuador's northern neighbour, spilled across the border in 2001. The Ecuadoran army discovered several abandoned training camps set up by leftist Colombian guerrillas, as well as jungle laboratories for producing cocaine. In January right-wing Colombian paramilitary units forced hundreds of Indians in Sucumbios province to leave their homes. In June the army clashed in Carchi province with suspected members of the Colombian National Liberation Army. Thousands of Colombians fled to Ecuador to escape fighting and the U.S.-supported aerial spraying of illegal coca plantations. The government said the spraying had affected food crops in Ecuador and appealed to Colombia to stop fumigating areas close to the frontier.

      There was speculation that former guerrillas had been responsible for kidnapping 10 foreign oil workers in Ecuador late in 2000. In February, after more than four months in captivity, seven of the hostages were released in exchange for a $13 million ransom. Two others had escaped earlier. One was shot dead in January to underscore the ransom demand. Fifty-two people, five of whom the U.S. sought to extradite, were later arrested in connection with the case.

      U.S. military aircraft began flying anti-drug-trafficking surveillance missions from the air force base at Manta under a 10-year agreement. U.S. authorities said the base would not be used for operations against the Colombian guerrillas, but some Ecuadorans feared the agreement would draw them further into Colombia's conflicts.

      The Colombia-related troubles overshadowed political and economic developments. The adoption of the U.S. dollar as Ecuador's currency in 2000 (see Special Report (Dollarization: Is It Worth It? )) and high oil prices helped stabilize the economy. Construction began on a second oil pipeline. The government made progress on fiscal reform but met heavy opposition from Congress and the Supreme Court. Pres. Gustavo Noboa responded by proposing political reforms, including a new electoral system and a second legislative chamber. Early in the year Indian protests forced the government to stabilize fuel prices and sign an agreement on indigenous rights. Hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorans continued to live outside the country, and the press devoted considerable attention to their difficulties.

      Fears for the rare fauna of the Galápagos Islands were raised in January when a tanker ran aground and spilled 655,000 litres (173,000 gal) of fuel, but winds blew much of the slick out to sea.

Paul Knox

▪ 2001

Area:
272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq km (3,093-sq mi) Galápagos Islands
Population
(2000 est.): 12,646,000 (Galápagos Islands, about 16,000)
Capital:
Quito
Chief of state and head of government:
Presidents Jamil Mahuad Witt and, from January 22, Gustavo Noboa Bejarano

      Political upheaval and the controversial adoption of the United States dollar as Ecuador's currency dominated events in 2000. The year began with the corruption-plagued economy in chaos following bank failures, crop losses, and a foreign-debt default. Unpopular Pres. Jamil Mahuad announced early in January that later in the year the dollar would replace the sucre (25,000 sucres = about $1), the sagging national currency. Indian, labour, and student groups assailed this “dollarization,” saying that it would benefit only the rich and bind Ecuador to U.S. monetary policy.

      On January 21, Indian protesters aided by middle-ranking military officers stormed the National Congress building in Quito and proclaimed a new government, led by a junta composed of Indian leader Antonio Vargas, army Col. Lucio Gutiérrez, and former Supreme Court president Carlos Solórzano. Troops escorted Mahuad from the presidential palace, but the military high command moved immediately to block a full-scale insurrection. Gen. Carlos Mendoza, the armed forces chief of staff, replaced Gutiérrez in the junta, but within hours he announced that it would be scrapped and that Vice Pres. Gustavo Noboa would assume the presidency. The U.S. and several Latin American countries had argued strongly for the preservation of constitutional order.

      After Noboa's announcement that the currency conversion to the dollar would go forward, Ecuador reached agreement with multilateral lenders in March on a three-year $2,045,000,000 loan package, which included a promise to cut fuel-price subsidies. In August most private foreign creditors accepted Ecuador's offer to exchange about $6,500,000,000 of defaulted debt for $3,950,000,000 in new bonds. Noboa planned a balanced budget for 2001 and promised to open the electricity and oil sectors to private investment. Rising crude oil prices brought the prospect of increased revenue from Ecuador's chief export, and the tourist industry received a boost as activity subsided in the Tungurahua volcano.

      The economy appeared to have calmed somewhat by mid-September, when the dollar became the only legal circulating currency. Indian groups demonstrated against conversion to the dollar, privatization, and an agreement allowing the U.S. to use the air base at Manta for anti-drug-trafficking operations. Authorities feared a spillover of violence from Colombia after fighting there drove hundreds of refugees into Ecuador in October.

Paul Knox

▪ 2000

Area:
272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq km (3,093-sq mi) Galápagos Islands
Population
(1999 est.): 12,411,000 (Galápagos Islands, about 15,000)
Capital:
Quito
Chief of state and head of government:
President Jamil Mahuad Witt

      In late February 1999 Ecuador entered into an economic crisis. The country faced a recession and a severe fiscal deficit, as public expenses far exceeded income. A general fall in world commodity prices resulting from the Asian financial crisis and El Niño damage to key export sectors produced a decline in export-led income. Falling oil prices led to a 20% reduction in oil revenues.

      Previous state efforts to generate more revenue by increasing taxes had met with opposition. The right-wing Social Christian Party (PSC), which had formed a majority congressional coalition with President Mahuad's Popular Democracy Party (DP), had thwarted these reforms. A 40% devaluation of the sucre led to massive withdrawals from banks. In an effort to avoid more capital flight, the government closed the banks for a week in March and froze 50% of all assets for a period of six months to one year.

      Mahuad increased the price of food and other consumer goods and doubled the price of gas. Additionally, he proposed a rationalization of public finance bill that sought to decrease expenses and increase revenues by incrementing sales and income taxes, eliminating tax exemptions, speeding privatization, and reducing the state apparatus by 40%. Mahuad's reforms were met by the general popular protest of workers, the transportation sector, and indigenous activists who engaged in massive strikes in March and July. The government negotiated, agreeing to postpone the oil increase and minimize the food increase in March and to suspend all increases for six months in July. The PSC opposed the increases in taxes and the elimination of tax exemptions, arguing instead for further privatization and new petroleum concessions.

      Ecuador's economic crisis was accompanied by a banking crisis and a political crisis. The government-appointed international review board declared some banks insolvent and others salvageable with the aid of governmental funds. Finally, despite a newly created and vulnerable coalition between the DP and centre-left Pachakutik and Democratic Left parties, congressional failure to agree on financial reforms undermined the legitimacy of Congress. In September Ecuador defaulted on its debt and became the first country ever to default on its Brady bonds, restructured debt backed by the U.S. government.

Amalia Pallares

▪ 1999

      Area: 272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq km (3,093-sq mi) Galápagos Islands

      Population (1998 est.): 12,175,000 (Galápagos Islands, about 15,000)

      Capital: Quito

      Chief of state and head of government: Presidents Fabián Alarcón Rivera and, from August 10, Jamil Mahuad Witt

      Elections to replace interim Pres. Fabián Alarcón Rivera took place in 1998. The country's largest political grouping, the Social Christian Party (PSC), did not field a candidate, and the two top finishers in the first round on May 31 were Jamil Mahuad Witt of the Popular Democracy Party (DP) and Alvaro Noboa of the Ecuadorian Roldosist Party. In the second-round runoff between the two, on July 12, Mahuad, mayor of Quito, won with 51% of the vote. The PSC managed to maintain a strong base in the National Congress, winning 26 seats, compared with the DP's 36 in elections in July.

      Although Mahuad was vague on how he proposed to fulfill his campaign pledges on dealing with unemployment, housing, and the health service, he was clear on his proposals for the national debt. This would be renegotiated to seek longer repayment terms, with a portion to be written off. Mahuad inherited a fiscal deficit of 7% of gross domestic product, aggravated by a drop in the price of oil and a 15% decline in export earnings. Among the many major political reforms passed by the National Congress was a ban preventing any government member who had been indicted on corruption charges from running for election to office unless he or she had been formally acquitted in court. This was aimed especially at preventing Abdalá Bucaram Ortíz—the former president who had been removed from office in February 1997 for mental incompetence and then, faced with corruption charges, had fled the country—from attempting a political comeback. Also passed was a rule abolishing midterm elections and Congress's power to impeach ministers.

      After a difficult year, border disputes between Ecuador and Peru that had been going on for decades were finally settled. At the end of August both sides withdrew their troops from the disputed spots and, following a face-to-face meeting in September, Mahuad and Peruvian Pres. Alberto Fujimori signed a peace treaty on October 26 in Brasília, Braz., with the U.S., Brazil, Chile, and Argentina mediating.

ALAN MURPHY

▪ 1998

      Area: 272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the 8,010-sq km (3,093-sq mi) Galápagos Islands

      Population (1997 est.): 11,937,000 (Galápagos Islands, nearly 15,000)

      Capital: Quito

      Chief of state and head of government: Presidents Abdalá Bucaram Ortíz until February 6, Rosalía Arteaga Serrano from February 9 to 11, and, from February 11, Fabián Alarcón Rivera

      By the end of 1996, Ecuador's new president, Abdalá Bucaram Ortíz, had managed to alienate almost all sectors of society. His government's unpopularity deepened early in 1997 with the announcement of large increases in utility prices that most adversely affected those sectors of society that had voted for Bucaram. Further proposals were, however, blocked by an unprecedented degree of unity among opposition parties.

      The situation worsened when the president proposed additional price increases. A series of antigovernment demonstrations culminated in a general strike on February 5. The next day Bucaram was voted out of office by Congress on the grounds of mental incapacity, only six months after his election. Following the vote Bucaram barricaded himself in the presidential palace and refused to move. Faced with potentially violent protests, the military withdrew its support for the president, leaving him no option but to flee the country. Congress leader Fabián Alarcón was elected interim president, despite protests by Vice Pres. Rosalía Arteaga that constitutionally the presidency should pass to her.

      Owing to the fact that his mandate came from Congress and not from the electorate, Alarcón was in a weak position to deal with the country's political and economic woes. His position was strengthened, however, by the results of a referendum held on May 25, asking the people to ratify Congress's removal of the previous incumbent and its appointment of Alarcón as interim president until the 1998 elections. He was given an overwhelming majority in both cases.

      Ecuador endured another crisis in early July when Congress voted to dismiss the entire Supreme Court, arguing that it had become too politicized. In April the president of the court, Carlos Solórzano, had issued arrest warrants for various officials and members of Congress suspected of corruption during the Bucaram administration. The centre-right Social Christian Party was the winner in elections in November for a temporary National Assembly to reform the constitution.

ALAN MURPHY

▪ 1997

      The republic of Ecuador is in western South America, on the Pacific Ocean. Area: 272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the Galápagos Islands. Pop. (1996 est.): 11,698,000. Cap.: Quito. Monetary unit: sucre, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 3,309 sucres to U.S. $1 (5,213 sucres = £ 1 sterling). Presidents in 1996, Sixto Durán Ballén and, from August 10, Abdalá Bucaram Ortíz.

      The second round of the presidential elections was won in July 1996 by Abdalá Bucaram Ortíz (see BIOGRAPHIES (Bucaram Ortiz, Abdala )) of the centre-left Ecuadorian Roldosist Party (PRE), who took 54.5% of the vote. It was the third time that Bucaram had run for president, and much of his support came from the nation's poor, who had rejected the austerity measures imposed by the previous government.

      The first round of the elections had been narrowly won by Jaime Nebot Saadi of the centre-right Social Christian Party. He had waged a strong negative media campaign against the PRE but failed to counteract the widespread resentment against the austerity program.

      A scandal in late 1995 involved former vice president Alberto Dahik Garzozi, who fled the country after an order was given for his arrest on corruption charges. He was granted political asylum by Costa Rica just before being found guilty of embezzlement and illicit enrichment.

      The central bank was expected to run a deficit in 1996; the new government inherited several outstanding debts from the previous administration, amounting to a total of 3% of gross domestic product. Estimated real GDP growth in the first half of 1996 was 2.8%. The oil sector continued to lead the growth, expanding by 3.5% owing to rising world prices. From February inflation remained above the 1995 levels. Official estimates for inflation for the year were revised from 17-19% to 25%.

      (ALAN MURPHY)

▪ 1996

      The republic of Ecuador is in western South America, on the Pacific Ocean. Area: 272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the Galápagos Islands. Pop. (1995 est.): 11,460,000. Cap.: Quito. Monetary unit: sucre, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 2,626 sucres to U.S. $1 (4,151 sucres = £ 1 sterling). President in 1995, Sixto Durán Ballén.

      The year 1995 started badly for Ecuador. The border dispute with Peru flared up again in January with skirmishes in dense jungle between the Santiago and Zamora rivers in the Cordillera del Cóndor, where the border had never been properly defined. Ecuador declared a state of emergency and called up its reserves. Fighting caused dozens of casualties, although Ecuadorean forces suffered fewer fatalities than did the Peruvians, principally because they had better access to the area, had better antiaircraft weapons, controlled the higher ground, and had laid minefields that caught the Peruvian troops unawares.

      The dispute dated back to Ecuadorean independence from Spain in 1830 but more recently to a 10-day war in 1941, when Peru invaded Ecuador. At that time peace was achieved with the signing (1942) of the Rio de Janeiro Protocol, which defined the border; the U.S., Brazil, Chile, and Argentina agreed to act as guarantors of the peace treaty. Although the U.S. Air Force had completed mapping and marking most of the border by 1947, a 78-km (48-mi) stretch in the Cordillera del Cóndor remained unmarked. Skirmishes occurred several times in this area, usually around the January anniversary of the signing of the protocol. There were believed to be deposits of gold, uranium, and oil in the disputed region.

      The four guarantor countries organized peace negotiations, but the first cease-fire, the Itamaraty Declaration, signed in Rio de Janeiro in February, was not respected. A second accord, the Montevideo Declaration, was signed two weeks later after tense negotiations. It called for an "immediate and effective cease-fire."

      The war had a severe impact on Ecuador's budget, with direct costs initially estimated at $340 million, or about 2% of gross domestic product (GDP). Capital outflows put pressure on the sucre, and foreign exchange reserves declined sharply. The government was forced to introduce an emergency financial package, cutting subsidies and raising prices and taxes, while reducing capital spending in order to bring the deficit down to under 1% of GDP. Although this did not meet the International Monetary Fund target of a budget surplus in 1995, confidence was restored, and by the end of April foreign exchange reserves had been rebuilt to their previous level of $1.7 billion.

      Ecuadoreans rejected in November a set of constitutional proposals offered by the government. Opponents charged that the changes would have strengthened the executive at the expense of other branches of government, while proponents saw the package as necessary to the state's modernization.

      Politics took on a more combative tone late in the year when several government ministers were attacked by members of Congress. The culmination of the struggle was the flight of Vice Pres. Alberto Dahik and the arrest of other ministers for misuse of government funds.

      After much opposition and debate, in August the National Congress approved a bill allowing the sale of 35% of the government-owned telecommunications company, EMETEL, with a possible market value of $2.2 billion. The government wanted to complete this first major privatization before its term of office expired in August 1996. Proceeds were to go to an investment fund for social spending.

      (SARAH CAMERON)

▪ 1995

      The republic of Ecuador is in western South America, on the Pacific Ocean. Area: 272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the Galápagos Islands. Pop. (1994 est.): 11,221,000. Cap.: Quito. Monetary unit: sucre, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 2,279 sucres to U.S. $1 (3,625 sucres = £ 1 sterling). President in 1994, Sixto Durán Ballén.

      In the midterm elections of 1994, Pres. Sixto Durán Ballén's Republican Unity Party lost six seats, reducing its representation in the National Congress, in alliance with the Conservative Party, to only nine. The largest party, with 25 seats, was now the Social Christian Party, led by Jaime Nebot Saadi, and the president would have to forge alliances with it in order to ensure passage of his economic reform program. A referendum held at the end of August showed overwhelming support for political change. The electorate was faced with seven questions, including a proposal to end the disruptive midterm elections by increasing the congressional term to four years. A package of reforms was to be drawn up and discussed by Congress before it was submitted to a second referendum.

      A forest fire on Isabela in the Galápagos Islands in April destroyed more than 6,000 ha (14,800 ac) of the islands' unique ecosystem and endangered the giant Galápagos tortoises. A state of emergency was declared, and experts arrived from the U.S. and Canada to help extinguish the fire and protect the animals. On September 28 the government issued a decree to protect the islands from the effects of tourist traffic, immigration, and illegal fishing for sharks (notably by the Japanese) and sea cucumbers.

      A new agrarian law that took effect on June 13 allowed former estate owners to reclaim land that was occupied by tenants but not legally transferred under previous land-reform laws. All land, including that held in common, could now be broken up and freely traded. Tenants, many of them Indians, feared widespread repossessions, and there was massive resentment among them. They were concerned that a free land market would encourage environmental degradation because of intensive farming and mineral exploitation. Also, the Indians among them feared that their social and religious traditions would be destroyed by the loss of communal lands. Protests became increasingly violent, and roadblocks were set up to cut off several towns. On June 20 the president declared a state of emergency and deployed the army.

      In October Ecuador signed an agreement to restructure $7.6 billion of foreign commercial debt with the use of bonds. Past-due interest of $2.5 billion accumulated since Ecuador ceased fully servicing its debt in 1987 was to be repaid with 30-year bonds. (SARAH CAMERON)

▪ 1994

      The republic of Ecuador is in western South America, on the Pacific Ocean. Area: 272,045 sq km (105,037 sq mi), including the Galápagos Islands. Pop. (1993 est.): 10,985,000. Cap.: Quito. Monetary unit: sucre, with (Oct. 4, 1993) an official rate of 1,813 sucres to U.S. $1 (2,746 sucres = £ 1 sterling) and a free rate of 1,933 sucres to U.S. $1 (2,929 sucres = £1 sterling). President in 1993, Sixto Durán Ballén.

      A massive landslide at the end of March 1993 in the southern province of Azuay caused the country's worst-ever natural disaster, with damages estimated in excess of $100 million. The initial death toll was put at 32, but subsequent rescue teams estimated that several hundred victims were buried beneath debris. Thousands of homes were destroyed, and communication was cut off between Quito and Guayaquil. The Paute River became dammed, and the resulting backwater flooded hundreds of hectares of surrounding land.

      In January public- and private-sector workers received wage increases equivalent to a 30% raise over the year. Despite these increases a wave of labour unrest spread across the country, including lockouts and strikes. Farmworkers staged mass demonstrations in reaction to rumours that social security was to be privatized or even eliminated. Further protests occurred in March, organized by trade unions campaigning against the privatization of industries. Congress, however, approved a privatization law in October.

      Pres. Sixto Durán Ballén continued to face union opposition to his economic policies. By mid-1993 opinion polls were giving the president only a 20% popularity rating as accusations rose that the poor were being left even poorer. Credit agreements with the International Monetary Fund expired in December 1992 and, in order for the arrangements to be renewed, a target inflation rate of 25-30% was set for the end of 1993. For 1992 the consumer price index rose 60.2% overall.

      In August the army began a human rights program, the first of its kind for the military in Latin America. Approximately 6,000 officers and troops began training in human rights, democratic values, and regional security. If the pilot scheme proved successful, it would be incorporated into the training of all 85,000 members of the armed forces. The program was drawn up with the Latin American Human Rights Association and approved by the United Nations and the Organization of American States. (HUW CLOUGH)

* * *

Introduction
Ecuador, flag of   country of northwestern South America. Ecuador is one of the most environmentally diverse countries in the world, and it has contributed notably to the environmental sciences. The first scientific expedition to measure the circumference of the Earth, led by Charles-Marie de La Condamine (La Condamine, Charles-Marie de) of France, was based in Ecuador; and research in Ecuador by the renowned naturalists Alexander von Humboldt (Humboldt, Alexander von) of Prussia and Charles Darwin (Darwin, Charles) of England helped establish basic theories of modern geography, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Ecuador has a rich cultural heritage. Much of what is now Ecuador came to be included in the Inca empire, the largest political unit of pre-Columbian America. Economically, Ecuador became known for exporting Panama hats (straw hats so named because they were shipped to Panama in the mid-18th century and bought by traveling gold seekers and because they were worn by Panama Canal work crews in the early 19th century) and agricultural products, notably cacao (the source of cocoa beans), bananas, and flowers. It is a major exporter of petroleum and an increasingly important tourist destination. Its history has been marked by political and economic challenges, including long periods of military rule, boom-and-bust economic cycles, and inequitable distributions of wealth. Ecuador is unusual among Latin American countries in having two major centres of population and commerce, the vibrant port city of Guayaquil acting as a counterbalance to the capital, Quito, located in the Andean highlands in the north-central part of the country.

Land (Ecuador)

Relief
 Ecuador straddles part of the Andes Mountains and occupies part of the Amazon basin. Situated on the Equator, from which its name derives, it borders Colombia to the north, Peru to the east and the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It includes the Pacific archipelago of the Galapagos Islands (Archipiélago de Colón).

      The Ecuadoran mainland is divided into three main physical regions: the Costa (coastal region), the Sierra (highland region), and the Oriente (eastern region).

      The Costa is composed of lowlands that extend eastward from the Pacific Ocean to the western edge of the Andes and rise from sea level to an elevation of 1,650 feet (500 metres). Running north-south, small coastal mountain ranges—the Colonche, Chindul, and Mache mountains—rise to 2,600 feet (800 metres). Between these coastal ranges and the Andes, interior valleys are mantled with silt deposits left by rivers that largely drain into the Gulf of Guayaquil. Puná (Puná Island), in the gulf, is the major island.

 The Sierra includes two high mountain chains and their western and eastern foothills. The western and central ranges of the Andes bordering the Sierra constitute the country's highest and most continuous mountain chains. Many peaks are volcanic or snow-covered; these include Cayambe (18,996 feet [5,790 metres]), Antisana (18,714 feet [5,704 metres]), Cotopaxi—the world's highest active volcano—(19,347 feet [5,897 metres]), Chimborazo (20,702 feet [6,310 metres]), Altar (17,451 feet [5,319 metres]), and Sangay (17,158 feet [5,230 metres]). These are included in two ranges connected at intervals by transversal mountain chains, between which are large isolated valleys or basins, called hoyas.

      To the east of the main ranges are peaks Reventador (11,434 feet [3,485 metres]) and Sumaco (12,759 feet [3,889 metres]); the Cordillera de Cutucú, which borders the Upano valley and includes the central peaks; and the Cordillera del Cóndor to the south, which borders the Zamora valley. Beyond this eastern cordillera, to the east, is the Amazon basin, extending below 900 feet (300 metres).

 The volcanic Galapagos Islands consist of 19 rugged islands and scores of islets and rocks situated about 600 miles (900 km) west of the mainland. The largest island, Isabela (Isabela Island) (Albemarle), rises to 5,541 feet (1,689 metres) at Mount Azul, the archipelago's highest point. The second largest island is Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz Island).

Drainage
      Numerous rivers originate in the mountains, pass through the hoyas of the Sierra, and flow either west to the Pacific coast or east to the Amazon River. In the Sierra the rivers are torrential in their upper courses and become calmer in the plains areas but nonetheless remain unnavigable.

      The main watercourse of the Costa is the Guayas (Guayas River) River. Formed by the juncture of the Daule and Babahoyo rivers and their affluents, the Guayas River is navigable for the greater part of its course. Other rivers that flow to the ocean include the Cayapas, the Esmeraldas, the Naranjal, the Jubones, and the Santa Rosa.

      The rivers of the Oriente carry the greatest volume of water. The most important is the Napo River, which receives the Coca and Aguarico rivers as well as other large tributaries as it takes its course toward Peru, where it joins the Amazon River. Other large rivers include the Pastaza, Morona, and Santiago, all of which drain into the Marañón River in Peru.

Soils
      Ecuador's soils are among the most varied on Earth. Volcanic activity at higher elevations in the Andes has resulted in the formation of fertile volcanic and prairie soils, called andosols and mollisols, with dark surface layers rich in organic matter. However, the soils are typically underlain by a yellow hardpan, locally called cangahua, which is often exposed on eroded steeper slopes. The eroded topsoil accumulates on lower slopes and especially on flats, which form the most desirable locations for agriculture. Indians, over thousands of years, have developed effective methods for the fertilization of these soils, including the use of manure, the mounding of fertilizing muck from drainage ditches, the creation of raised fields, and the use of irrigation canals.

      In the Costa the floodplains of the Guayas and other rivers have accumulated fertile silts from the highlands. These coastal soils are of great fertility but often consist of clays that are subject to shrinking and swelling and thus present problems for construction. The effectiveness of traditional methods of managing these soils has come to be more widely recognized, and such prehistoric techniques as embanked fields for runoff management (albarradas) and raised fields (artificially constructed earthen platforms built on shallow lakes or marshy areas) have been studied by development experts.

      In the Amazon basin, soils have not been fully studied and mapped; nevertheless, it appears that soils there are quite diverse, including areas of fertile alluvial soil, organic soils called histosols, and more-weathered tropical soils called oxisols (Oxisol). The latter may be used for crops with appropriate technology, such as shifting cultivation or agroforestry (crops and useful trees managed together), but some agronomists suggest that they are better utilized for timber and other renewable tropical forest products.

Climate
      Because Ecuador lies on the Equator, most of the country, except the Sierra, experiences a humid tropical climate. The Oriente is influenced throughout the year by an unstable maritime tropical air mass, while the Costa is subject to greater variations associated with seasonal movements of the intertropical convergence zone and the cold Peru Current. Local convectional processes dominate the weather in the higher parts of the Andes.

      The Oriente experiences fairly continuous and abundant rainfall and high temperatures. The Costa generally has a wet season in the first half of the year and a relatively dry one in the second half. In some years, warm water collects off the coast, causing the weather phenomenon known as El Niño; this can result in torrential downpours that cause devastating ecological damage on the coast and occasionally even in the highlands. In the Sierra, rains reach a maximum during the equinoxes; there is a long dry season from June to September and a shorter one (the veranillo) from December through January.

      Ecuador has a small area of truly dry climate at the Santa Elena Peninsula along the southern coast, with annual rainfall decreasing from about 40 inches (1,000 mm) near Guayaquil to only 4 inches (100 mm) at Salinas. In the highlands, annual rainfall decreases toward the centres of the canyons and valleys, sometimes dropping below 20 inches (500 mm) or even below 10 inches (250 mm). Most of the country, however, is humid, receiving more than 20 inches of rain a year. The southern coast and the highlands receive 30 to 80 inches (760 to 2,000 mm). The wettest areas, the northern coast and the Oriente, receive about 120 to 240 inches (3,000 to 6,000 mm) of rain.

      Both the Costa and the Oriente are warm, with temperatures varying only slightly among the seasons; much wider differences occur between day and night. Average daytime high temperatures range from 84 to 91 °F (29 to 33 °C), while nighttime lows fall to between 68 and 75 °F (20 to 24 °C). As elevation increases, temperatures drop fairly predictably at a rate of about 9 to 11 °F (5 to 6 °C) for every 3,300 feet (1,000 metres). Pleasantly temperate climates occur between elevations of 2,600 and 6,600 feet (800 and 2,000 metres). At higher elevations, frost is a possibility, especially in areas of flat relief and during the cloud-free nights of the dry seasons. Above elevations of 11,800 to 12,500 feet (3,600 to 3,800 metres), agriculture becomes increasingly difficult because of the shrinking growing season and increasing frost hazard. Above 16,400 feet (5,000 metres) the peaks are snowcapped.

Plant and animal life
      The wet lowlands of the Oriente and the northern and southeastern corners of the Costa are covered with tropical rainforest, containing various trees and lianas and many epiphytes. The forest thickens as it approaches the zone of maximum rainfall, which occurs between about 4,000 and 5,000 feet (1,200 and 1,500 metres) above sea level. In the Guayas River valley, the forest includes balsa, which is exploited for its light wood; in the eastern forest the cinchona trees were a valuable source of quinine before synthetic equivalents reduced demand for it. The trees of the Costa are rapidly being cut as land is converted for agriculture or for use as pastures, while the forest in the Oriente is threatened locally by small-scale ranching, African oil palm plantations, and subsistence farming.

      In the Costa, between Esmeraldas and the Gulf of Guayaquil, where the climate is affected by the Peru Current, the northern rainforest gives way southward to deciduous and semideciduous woodland. There scattered palms produce the ivory-coloured tagua nuts previously used for making objects such as buttons, dominoes, mah-jongg tiles, umbrella handles, and religious figurines. Today they are used to make “vegetable ivory” crafts sold to tourists. The leaves of another palm, Carludovica palmata, also found in this woodland area, are collected, cut into narrow strips, bleached, and woven into Panama hats. Areas of swampy coast and the river floodplains were once covered by thick mangrove forest, but much of it has been removed to make way for shrimp aquaculture.

      In the Sierra the valley interiors were originally covered with a thorny woodland, giving way toward the valley edges to a low evergreen forest and, at higher elevations, to the bunchgrasses of the high páramo, alpine vegetation characterized by tussock grasses, cushion plants, and the treelike frailejón (Espeletia). Much of the highland vegetation has been removed over the last 5,000 years for agriculture or has been altered by periodic burning.

      In the rainforest live a wide variety of monkeys, as well as such carnivorous mammals as jaguars, ocelots, foxes, weasels, otters, skunks, raccoons, coatis (raccoon relatives), and kinkajous (tree-dwelling nocturnal animals in the raccoon family). Hoofed mammals include the tapir, deer, and peccary. Numerous species of rodents and bats inhabit the area.

 Ecuadoran birdlife and fish life are notably rich. Some 1,500 species of birds have been identified, including condors, many hummingbirds, blue-footed boobies, and parrots. Bird-watching has become a significant source of tourist income. Among many types of North American birds that migrate to Ecuador for the winter are the Virginia rail, the kingbird, the barn swallow, and the scarlet tanager. The fish population is similar to that of the Amazon River, although in the west the electric eel and the piranha are not found. All major groups of reptiles are represented, with the Galapagos tortoises being particularly famous.

People (Ecuador)

Ethnic groups
      The main ethnic groups of Ecuador include a number of Indian-language-speaking populations (often referred to as indigenous peoples or Amerindians (South American Indian)) and highland and lowland Spanish-speaking mestizos (mestizo) (people of mixed Indian and European descent). Ethnicity in Ecuador is often a matter of self-identification. Most Ecuadorans consider themselves mestizo and tend to identify with their region of birth; the mestizo culture is highly regionalized. In the highlands, residents of Carchi (in the far north) and Azuay and Loja (in the south) have developed especially strong regional identities. An individual of Indian descent who has adopted European dress and customs can be classified as a mestizo or cholo (mestizo-Indian). There are also some Ecuadorans who speak only Spanish but consider themselves Indians. These include individuals living in traditionally indigenous districts in the Sierra and children of migrants to the city or the coast. Many people living close to the Pacific coast on or near the Santa Elena Peninsula no longer speak an indigenous language but still exhibit traces of indigenous customs and identity. Descendants of Africans and more-recent immigrants from a variety of foreign countries, including Lebanon, China, Korea, Japan, Italy, and Germany, make up the remainder of the population. Most modern censuses have not inquired about ethnicity, language, religion, or origin, so the numbers of different groups are not precisely known.

      There may be about one million Indian-language speakers throughout Ecuador, most of whom live in the Sierra and speak Quichua, a dialect of Quechua (Quechuan languages). The highland Quichua speakers, many of whom are bilingual in Spanish, have only recently come to identify themselves ethnically with regions beyond their local villages; they often refer to themselves as Runa (“People”). They are concentrated in several distinct districts: to the north of Quito, in the vicinity of Otavalo and Cayambe; and in the central highlands, from the vicinity of Latacunga to beyond the southern border of Chimborazo provincia (province). These groups include the distinctive Salasacas people, who live south of Ambato; in scattered areas around Cuenca in the south-central highlands; and to the north of Loja, where the Saraguro people live. In the southeastern lowlands are the large Shuar and Achuar groups, related to similar groups across the border in Peru; the lowland Quichua speakers, made up of several groups, occupy much of the central Amazon lowlands, along with the Huaorani in the area between the Napo and Curaray rivers and the dwindling Záparo group near the Conambo River. In the northern Oriente are the small groups of Cofán and Siona-Secoya. The Costa, from north to south, includes small groups: the Awa (Kwaiker), Chachi (Cayapa), and Tsáchila (Colorado). Other, much smaller groups of Indian-language speakers reside throughout the country.

      The descendants of enslaved Africans (sometimes called Afro-Ecuadorans) live mainly in the northwest coastal region of Esmeraldas and in the Chota River valley in the northern highlands. Both communities have distinctive cultures and are well-defined ethnic groups.

Languages
      Spanish (Spanish language) is Ecuador's official language of business and government, although there are dialectal differences between Sierra and Costa Spanish; Sierra Spanish has been influenced by Quichua. Quichua, Shuar, and other ancestral languages are spoken by the country's indigenous people. More than 10 Indian languages exist in Ecuador, and several of these will likely persist as mother tongues. Most Indian males are bilingual, and women are increasingly becoming bilingual as well. The concepts of bilingualism and bilingual or bicultural education are becoming increasingly important.

Religion
 Ecuador is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church (Roman Catholicism) plays a significant role in education and social services and influences the selection of significant places for festivals and pilgrimage sites, such as Quinche in the north and Biblián in the south. Protestantism continues to grow rapidly, particularly among the disadvantaged; the largest groups are the non-Pentecostal Evangelicals and the Pentecostals. There is also a sizable Mormon congregation. Quito, Ambato, and Guayaquil have been urban centres of Protestant activity, and many of the Indians of the Sierra and Oriente have also converted. Many highlanders are practicing Catholics, and religion plays an important part in daily life. In Carchi, Azuay, and Loja provinces in the Sierra and in Manabí province in the Costa, there has been more reluctance to accept Protestant conversion. A small Jewish population is concentrated in Quito, and there are also some Bahāʿī adherents.

Settlement patterns
      In prehistoric times, settlement was widely dispersed throughout the coastal river valleys, highland basins, and Amazon riversides. Diseases brought by Europeans in the 16th century decimated indigenous populations on the coast. By late colonial and early modern times, most people lived in the rural Sierra. By the late 20th century the growth pattern had again changed, and the majority of the population shifted to the lowland regions, especially the Costa, with a tendency to concentrate in the cities.

      Parts of the coast were colonized by mid-20th-century mestizo pioneers, especially the area to the west and northwest of Quito around Santo Domingo de los Colorados; isolated Indian populations have gradually been reduced to minority status. A similar process has been occurring in the northern part of the Oriente, with oil fields and new highways allowing highland mestizos and highland Indians to move into areas settled by Amazonian Indian groups.

 In the highlands, traditional Indian and mestizo villages, hamlets, and scattered farmsteads are associated with a checkerboard pattern of small agricultural plots of corn (maize), potatoes, barley, wheat, broad beans, kidney beans, and domesticated lupine, alternating with fields temporarily lying fallow and used for grazing. Sheep are grazed on fallow land and higher-elevation pastures. Prior to the 1960s, small-scale farmers lived in a dependent relationship with large-scale haciendas, which controlled the best flat land and high pastures. Since the 1960s, land reform and economic changes have resulted in the subdivision of haciendas into more profitable medium-sized commercial farms producing dairy products, new potato varieties, fruits, flowers, and vegetables. Highland villages and towns were usually built on the Spanish colonial grid plan, which was centred on one or more squares distinguished by church and government buildings.

 By the beginning of the 21st century, more than three-fifths of the Ecuadoran population had become urban dwellers, with most living in the two major cities, Guayaquil and Quito. Guayaquil is the largest city, the major port and commercial centre, and also the cultural centre of the Costa. Quito, apart from its governmental activities, has become an important regional headquarters for international organizations working in the Andes and has attracted a substantial tourist trade. Other cities are much smaller, but Esmeraldas, Manta, Portoviejo, and Machala are important coastal agricultural and trade centres, and Ambato and Cuenca are the largest and most dynamic highland trade centres outside of Quito.

Demographic trends
      Ecuador, like other Andean countries, has experienced a population increase, the result of a decreasing death rate and a continued high birth rate. Though the birth rate has fallen since the end of the 1990s, it is still slightly higher than the world average. This growth has resulted in a relatively young population. Ecuador has also attracted immigrants from neighbouring countries, mostly from Colombia and Peru, since the beginning of the 21st century. The largest group of immigrants consists of displaced Colombians, victims of escalated violence and crop-destroying sprays in their country. Thousands of Peruvians, the next largest immigrant group, arrived seeking better wages after Ecuador adopted the U.S. dollar as its national currency in 2000. A small number of Chinese and East Asians have immigrated to Ecuador as well. Significant numbers of Ecuadorans have emigrated to the United States, especially to the borough of Queens in New York City.

      Remittances from migrants provide important support for family members left behind. Rural northern highlanders tend to migrate to Quito, seeking opportunities for income not available in the countryside. The rural coastal people, on the other hand, have generally migrated to Guayaquil, and southern highlanders have migrated to the southeastern and northeastern Oriente and to the north-central Costa, as well as to Cuenca, Quito, and Guayaquil. In areas where people can generate a more substantial cash income, migration has been slower.

Economy
      Ecuador is a country of enormous economic potential. Development has focused on agricultural, marine, and mineral resources, with industry playing a more limited role. The subsequent production of primary goods has been subject to cycles of boom and bust, however, and Ecuador has sought to diversify its resource exports and to seek new markets. The country has improved standards of living, but it is still characterized by marked inequalities of wealth and well-being.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
 Agriculture has traditionally employed a large proportion of the population. Many rural Ecuadorans feed their families with the produce from their own farms; production of these subsistence crops, including corn (maize), potatoes, beans, and cassava (manioc), is important but not accurately reflected in official figures. Commercial production of grain crops has been discouraged by imports of inexpensive grains from the United States; these imports have also encouraged a shift in diet away from traditional corn consumption and toward rice and wheat. Production of tropical specialty crops such as bananas, cacao, and coffee have provided much-needed foreign exchange. Dependence on foreign imports of edible oil-producing crops and vegetable oils has been reduced through cultivation of the African oil palm. The airport at Quito has supported the development of international trade in such perishable but valuable highland products as flowers, strawberries, asparagus, and snow peas.

      Livestock raising is widespread. Beef cattle are bred in the lowlands and dairy cattle and sheep are bred in the highlands; chemical fertilizers have aided the development of pastures for dairy cattle. Chickens consume feedstuffs produced from locally grown hard corn and other crops. Pigs are raised on a small scale, but their meat does contribute to the Ecuadoran diet, especially in the highlands. Goats are important as a source of meat in the south, while guinea pigs are raised for food in the highlands.

      Only a small proportion of Ecuadoran territory has been reclaimed for cultivation, although unclaimed land is valuable as forest reserves and wildlife habitats. Chemical fertilizers are employed on commercial and specialized market crops, while traditional farmers employ animal manures; still, overall yields could be vastly increased. Irrigation (irrigation and drainage) has been employed since prehistoric times in the highlands, and most of the highland production by value is from irrigated fields and greenhouses, which have been deployed for the cultivation of roses, tomatoes, and papayas. There is little further potential for expanding the highland irrigated area. In contrast, irrigation has been expanding rapidly on the coast and aids rice paddy cultivation, banana, cacao, and oil palm plantation cultivation, cattle pastures, and mixed farming of a variety of crops. Currently such crops as tea, oil palm, and manioc are grown in the Amazon basin, but little is produced for export.

      Forest and marine resources are also exploited. Traditional coastal dwelling construction is based on the native bamboo, and in the highlands pine and eucalyptus plantations provide fuel and construction material. A small-scale fishing industry operates mainly out of ports on the central and southern coasts. The major marine product, however, is shrimp, produced in large ponds constructed in coastal mangrove swamps, which thereby have been almost completely destroyed. Aquaculture in Ecuador has in turn been hindered by mangrove cutting—shrimp larvae and juvenile shrimp for aquaculture are either captured in the swamps or bred by hatcheries—and also by disease, severe flooding, land usage, and economic instability.

Resources and power
      Ecuador's major resource is its soil, which, with the country's generally adequate rainfall and diverse climates, allows a wide variety of agricultural production. Particularly rich soils are found in the Guayas and other river floodplains on the coast and in the flats, floodplains, and volcanic slopes of the highlands.

      The full mineral potential of Ecuador is still being discovered. There are gold deposits throughout the country and oil deposits in the northeastern Oriente. Explorations have discovered significant deposits of natural gas in the Gulf of Guayaquil, large deposits of low-grade copper ore west of Cuenca, and deposits of silver, molybdenum, iron ore, gypsum, zinc, and lead at various locations.

      The Andes Mountains present some possibilities for hydroelectric (hydroelectric power) development. However, the construction of hydroelectric plants through the Agoyan and Paute projects has presented serious problems of siltation. A government agency is responsible for the development of power resources.

Manufacturing
 Industrial development in Ecuador is still in the early stages. Some industry is associated with the processing of primary products, including cement, refined sugar, chocolate bars, beer, pasta, bread, meat, fruit, and instant coffee. Some import-substitute industries licensed by foreign corporations have been established, including those producing pharmaceuticals and tires and those assembling automobiles. Ecuador has had some success exporting processed foods, such as fruit drinks and canned meats, to neighbouring countries. Ecuadoran woolen tapestries and sweaters; crafts in wood, straw, ceramics, leather, and tagua nut (used to make vegetable ivory); and Panama hats contribute to the economy. A textile industry focusing on the manufacture of sweaters and other clothing has developed in Atuntaqui in the northern highlands, but it faces competition from cheap Chinese textile imports.

      Oil and gold are the country's most valuable extraction products. Gold has been produced in Ecuador for centuries, and much of the production comes from remote districts such as Nambija in southeastern Ecuador, where thousands of families live with minimal services and the miners face hazardous conditions in tunnels subject to collapse due to torrential rains. Oil (petroleum) extracted in the northeast and sent over the Andes via pipeline has become Ecuador's major mineral export, accounting for about two-fifths of export earnings and one-third of tax revenues. The state oil company operates in consortia with private and foreign corporations. Ecuador was a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ( OPEC) but withdrew in 1992.

Finance
      The Central Bank of Ecuador and the National Bank of Promotion, both state-controlled, have branches in all the provincial capitals. The Central Bank is the government depository and controls the monetary system, while the National Bank of Promotion handles agricultural and industrial credit. There are many private commercial banks in Ecuador and a handful of foreign-bank branches. The bank supervisory board is a technical organization that monitors all banking activities. The national currency is the U.S. dollar, adopted by Ecuador in 2000.

Trade
 Exports include crude oil and derivatives, shrimp, bananas, coffee, cut flowers, cocoa, and Panama hats. Ecuador's principal export destinations are the United States, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Italy. Imports include machines and primary industrial materials, motor vehicles, consumer goods, and food and chemical products. Imports come mainly from the United States, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, and Chile.

Services
      The service sector accounts for about half of Ecuador's gross domestic product, with transportation and tourism making up the bulk of the industry. Tourism has become an economic mainstay for Ecuador. Many tourists visit the Galapagos Islands (which were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978), but improvements to tourist facilities have increased the number of visitors to the mainland as well. Notably, in the early 2000s the government expanded Quito's airport and renovated Guayaquil's airport, adding an international terminal. In 2000 extensive renovation of Guayaquil's waterfront was completed—namely, its transformation into a pedestrian walkway and the addition of shops and public art. In Quito the Telefériqo (cable car) glides to the top of a 13,000-foot (4,000-metre) mountain, and Ecuador's most-visited landmark, Mitad del Mundo (“Middle of the Earth”), a monument and museum at the Equator, has undergone many renovations. Cities such as Baños and Puyo provide entry for excursions into the Amazon rainforest and offer opportunities for outdoor adventuring.

Labour and taxation
      About three-fifths of Ecuador's labour force works in the service industry, with the majority engaged in retail and wholesale trade, as well as restaurant and hotel work. About two-fifths of Ecuadoran women are economically active, but they are less of a presence than their counterparts in other South American countries. Moreover, rather than improving the quality of life for women, their involvement in the workforce has simply meant more women performing menial labour, most often in domestic service, agriculture, family-run businesses, and the informal sector. In the early 21st century, on average, about one-tenth of Ecuadoran workers were unemployed.

      Ecuadoran law provides workers (except members of the police, the military, and most public sector employees) with the right to form and join trade unions of their choice. About one-tenth of the workforce is formally organized, but the proportion of employees who maintain membership in a labour union (organized labour) is much higher. The National Teachers' Union and the Union of Social Security Workers are the two largest single labour unions. collective bargaining agreements affect about one-fourth of the organized workforce. Widespread use of subcontracted labour (whereby companies do not directly employ workers) proliferated in many industries, especially on plantations; however, legislation passed in 2006 limits the percentage of subcontracted workers a company can employ and enables these workers rights to freedom of association, to bargain collectively, and to legal protection against antiunion discrimination.

      The tax system in Ecuador has been subject to frequent change. Both an income tax and a value-added tax are levied. Private firms are required to distribute a portion of profits among their employees.

Transportation and telecommunications
      For much of its history, Ecuador relied on horse or mule transport on difficult trails or on canoe transport on coastal or Amazon river systems. railroad development faced great difficulties, and the Quito-to-Guayaquil rail line (with a branch to Cuenca)—although locally important—is slow, antiquated, and subject to disruption by floods, landslides, and earthquakes. This is even more the case for the rail line from Quito to San Lorenzo on the coast via Ibarra. Transport was revolutionized by the paving of the Pan-American Highway, the main Ecuadoran roadway, which extends along the highlands from the Colombian border to Riobamba and then descends to the Peruvian border. It is supplemented by a network of all-weather roads. The main highland centres are connected by asphalt roads, with asphalt or cobblestone secondary roads to regional market towns. Many rural centres are still served only by unsurfaced roads, impassable during wet periods; roads to the east of the Andes are also relatively poor. There is some concern that highway development will lead to deforestation and have adverse effects on the survival of remote Indian groups. The more likely reason for slow development, however, has been cost.

      Goods are brought to market through labour-intensive methods by independent truckers and by peasant women and itinerant vendors, who bring small amounts of goods to market on foot, with burros or mules, or by bus. Numerous regional bus companies provide cheap, frequent, and far-ranging rural transport.

      Air transport has grown, especially for the important Quito-Guayaquil connection and for international travel. The major airline is Sociedad Ecuatoriana de Transportes Aereos (SAETA), which flies internationally. SAN-SAETA, however, flies only between major cities in Ecuador. Several other international carriers also serve Ecuador, landing at the major airports of Guayaquil and Quito. Domestic airlines serve local airports, and air service to centres such as Cuenca and Machala has been established. Other air services provide access to points in the Oriente.

      Guayaquil is the country's chief port, with facilities at Puerto Nuevo. Other modern ports include San Lorenzo, Esmeraldas, Manta, and Puerto Bolívar. Rivers, particularly in the Guayas basin, also serve as transportation arteries.

      Ecuador's telephone systems are state owned; most Ecuadorans use cellular phones. Cable television and high-speed Internet connections are available. Internet cafés have opened throughout the country.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
 A president serves as the chief of state and head of government. The president and vice president are elected by popular vote and can serve up to two consecutive four-year terms. Members of the cabinet are appointed by the president. Legislative power is vested in the unicameral Chamber of Representatives, also called the National Congress; members are popularly elected to four-year terms. Constitutional conventions became a common feature of Ecuador's political system in an effort to eliminate the instability of the period from the mid-1990s to the early 21st century, when many individuals served as president and none completed a four-year term. A new constitution—the country's 20th since its independence in 1830—was approved by voters in a referendum held in September 2008.

Local government
      The president appoints governors to administer each of Ecuador's provinces. Provinces are divided into cantones (cantons); these in turn are divided into parroquias (parishes). Ecuador's government has become increasingly decentralized. The mayors (rulers of cantons), elected by local vote, are particularly important for initiating local infrastructure projects and environmental controls.

Justice
      Ecuador's judicial system is composed of provincial courts, higher or divisional courts, and a Supreme Court. Despite attempts at reform, the Supreme Court has historically been plagued by inconsistent rulings and is viewed as being susceptible to outside influences.

Political process
      Voting is required for literate Ecuadorans ages 18 to 64. If a political party fails to garner a minimum of 5 percent of the votes in two elections, it is eliminated from the electoral registry. Citizens not affiliated with a political party may also run for office. After Ecuador's return to democracy in 1978, closed lists (where voters are only allowed to choose a party, not a candidate) and direct ballots were used. In 1998 a constitutional amendment changed the system of elections to open lists (allowing voters to choose their preferred candidates as well as preferred party) to promote equal representation.

      Women (woman suffrage) were granted suffrage in 1929. By the end of the 20th century, women's representation in politics increased by nearly 20 percent. Moreover, an amendment introduced in 2000 requires that political parties' candidate lists for Congress and local and provincial positions must include at least 30 percent women and that in each subsequent election an additional 5 percent of the candidates be women until equality is attained. The law applies to all Ecuadoran women; however, indigenous and black women candidates for Congress have been scant (largely because many black and indigenous women are illiterate and stay confined to their communities).

      An array of Ecuadoran political parties draws strength from various regions, classes, ethnic groups, and professions. Moderate democratic parties have shown strength among teachers, government workers, and professionals in the more prosperous parts of the Sierra. The communist parties have shown strength in Quito and Loja, as well as in the poorer northern and central highlands. Centrist coastal political parties are often populist in character, associated with charismatic personalities and grassroots political organizations. Parties that stress the rights of indigenous peoples and their participation in government have also grown in strength among the indigenous population. Because no party is strong throughout the country, alliances must be established to attain victory at the national level.

Security
      Ecuador has an army, navy (including naval infantry, naval aviation, and coast guard), and air force. There is a 12-month conscription for male citizens age 20. The National Police are under the authority of the Ministry of Government. Some municipalities, such as Quito and Guayaquil, have their own metropolitan police forces.

Health and welfare
      All public and private employees are affiliated with the National Social Security Institute. In return for a monthly deduction from employees' salaries, the agency provides such services as medical and hospital insurance (health insurance) coverage, state-run clinics and dispensaries, low-interest loans for surgery and mortgages, retirement pensions for civil and state employees, and pensions for widows and child dependents.

      The Social Welfare Program, a division of the Ministry of Public Health, maintains public hospitals in all the provincial capitals and in the principal cantons. Little of the national budget is devoted to public health programs, however, and health conditions are generally poor. A number of endemic diseases persist, including typhoid fever, malaria, amebic dysentery, and tuberculosis.

Housing
      In the Sierra, traditional housing of wattle and daub, thatch, or rammed earthen walls, with thatched roofs, has been giving way to Spanish tile or corrugated metal roofs and cement block or brick walls. On the coast, farmers live in houses on stilts, walled with flattened bamboo and roofed with thatch. Notwithstanding the subdivision of haciendas (hacienda) into smaller farms since the 1960s, some farmers still occupy old rural hacienda buildings, with white walls and Spanish tile roofs; other old-style hacienda structures have been abandoned or converted into hotels. In the Oriente, traditional housing is constructed from palm trees and often consists of open-sided roofed platforms.

Education
      The network of public education has been greatly expanded to promote the goal of universal literacy. Primary education is free and compulsory for six years beginning at age six. Ecuador has made progress in making education available to disadvantaged classes and ethnic groups and to women. Religious and nondenominational private schools also play a significant role. Population growth and limited funding have placed great strains on the educational system, however. Efforts are under way to adapt the curriculum to Ecuador's cultural diversity.

      Secondary education varies from seriously overcrowded public institutions to elite private institutions emphasizing bilingualism in English, French, or German. The premier university is the Pontifical Catholic University in Quito, noted for its research programs in fields such as botany, archaeology, linguistics, and anthropology. It (along with other universities in Quito) attracts numerous students from the United States and Europe who participate in study abroad programs. The Polytechnic School in Quito has good programs in the sciences, as well as an outstanding centre for monitoring and studying volcanic and earthquake hazards. The Polytechnic School of the Military has outstanding facilities for technical training. San Francisco University is a private institution modeled on colleges in the United States. Numerous other universities specialize in particular areas, although the university system in general has suffered from uncertain funding and political turmoil. Many Ecuadorans seek training abroad, especially in technical fields and in business.

      Much research takes place outside the universities. Geographic and environmental research and postgraduate training are conducted by the Panamerican Center for Geographical Studies and Research at the Military Geographical Institute in Quito. The same building houses other environmental institutes, libraries, and laboratories. Social science institutes are also numerous, especially in Quito; they include a local unit of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences. Agricultural research is concentrated in the laboratories of the National Institute of Agricultural Investigations. Major research establishments are maintained by French and U.S. foreign assistance organizations.

Cultural life

Cultural milieu
      Ecuador, as discussed above (see People (Ecuador)), is a country of great ethnic diversity and great contrasts of wealth and poverty. People identify more with their region or village than with the country as a whole, although the government has attempted to nourish a sense of pan-Ecuadoran national identity. At a minimum the country may be divided into a dozen major folk-cultural regions: norteño mestizo, northern Quechua, central highland mestizo, Quiteño urban, central Quechua, Cuencano mestizo, Lojano mestizo, southern Quechua, Esmeraldeño blacks, coastal mestizo-mulatto, Shuar (Jivaro), and Amazonian Quechua. Numerous smaller or more-localized cultures also exist, and there are two culturally mixed areas in Santo Domingo de los Colorados and the northeastern Oriente. The most prominent and representative groups are the central highland mestizos and the coastal mestizo-mulatto mixed culture; both increasingly find their identities linked with the cities and urban cultures of Quito and Guayaquil, respectively.

Daily life and social customs
      Most Ecuadorans place great emphasis on the family, including fictive kinship, which is established by the choice of godparents at baptism. Apart from baptism, important occasions in the life cycle include the quinceañera (the 15th birthday of girls), marriage, and funerals. Many Ecuadorans make pilgrimages or dedicate themselves to the service of a particular saint. During the year, numerous religious and secular festivals provide opportunities for parades, special food, and music and dance.

 Some of the more important ones are not national but, rather, are associated with local urban or regional traditions, such as the holidays of Quito (December 1–6; Founder's Day [December 6] celebrated throughout the week with festivals, parades, and sporting events), Guayaquil (October 9; Guayaquil state's Independence Day [from Spain, 1820]), and Cuenca (November 3; Cuenca state's Independence Day [from Spain, 1820]), as well as the Yamor festival (a rite in early September at the end of the harvest honouring corn, a symbol of generosity and fertility) in Otavalo. Often holidays are associated with particular cities, such as the Day of the Dead (November 2) (Day of the Dead) in Ambato or Carnival (celebrated before Lent) in Guaranda, and they attract people from various parts of the country. The Festival of San Juan Bautista is especially important for the Indian populations of the northern highlands, for whom the holiday occasions dance and music. Many holidays are associated with particular foods or drinks, and music, live or recorded, is a part of most celebrations.

      Easter is an opportunity to eat fanesca, a soup that is virtually the Ecuadoran national dish. The soup—made of onions, peanuts, fish, rice, squash, broad beans, chochos (lupine), corn (maize), lentils, beans, peas, and melloco (a highland tuber)—combines highland and lowland ingredients and is a culinary model of the union of diverse national characteristics. Chili sauce (ají) is part of most meals. Empanadas are deep-fried and stuffed savoury pastries. Typical of the coast is seviche, made with shrimp or shellfish or even mushrooms pickled with lemon juice, cilantro (coriander), and onions. Coastal cuisine also includes deep-fried plantains and various rice dishes. Highland cuisine is based on staples such as quinoa and barley soups and on more-complex soups and stews that mix combinations of corn, potatoes, oca, quinoa, melloco (a tuber), beans, barley, broad beans, and squash. Restaurants in Quito, Guayaquil, and other large cities offer a variety of ethnic cuisines, as well as food that has been popularized by U.S. franchises.

      Nightlife remains limited in the smaller towns, where the young middle class may be cruising in cars or motorcycles and hanging out at local restaurants or plazas. Young people of different sexes may mix in groups, but dating is relatively rare, and there is little in the way of a singles scene. A nightlife has developed in Quito and Guayaquil since the 1980s, however, focusing on discos, restaurants, and bars. Musical tastes range from the traditional pasillos and cumbia to 1970s disco hits and hip-hop music; all styles may be played in a single evening. Jazz, poetry readings, folk music, and arena rock concerts are also entertainment options, often drawing international tourists.

      Each of Ecuador's Indian communities has a traditional style of dress. Highland Indian males may wear coloured ponchos—for instance, blue in the Otavalo area and red in western Chimborazo. Traditional footwear is sandals, and a variety of traditional hats may be worn; in some locations hair is still worn long by both men and women, gathered in a ponytail. Highland Indian women may wear embroidered blouses, wrapped skirts of woolen cloth, shawls attached with a pin in front, sandals, and locally produced hats or headgear. Lowlanders wear loose-fitting clothing, including guayabera shirts for men. Both highlanders and lowlanders wear business suits on formal occasions, while young people wear international fashions such as jeans and khakis.

The arts
      Ecuador has a rich tradition of folk art. Quito was a colonial centre of wood carving and painting, and artisans still produce replicas of the masterpieces of the Quito school. Certain mestizo and indigenous communities have specialized in particular crafts, such as agave-fibre bags near Riobamba and Salcedo; wood carving at Ibarra; leatherwork at Cotacachi; woolen tapestries at Otavalo, Doctor Miguel Egas, and Salasaca; carpets at Guano; and Panama hats at Monte Cristi and near Cuenca. Folk music is equally rich, including the well-known yumbo and sanjuanito from the highlands (rhythmic and repetitive musical forms associated with festival dancing) and the slow, sad pasillo from the lowlands, as well as the varying local African and Indian (Amazonian, highland, and coastal) traditions. A revival of interest in folklore among the urban populations has led to the creation of folkloric dance troupes. Modern music is influenced by Colombian cumbia (a loping, rolling rhythm often classified as salsa and played in 4/4 time with a heavy emphasis on the first note of the measure and the second and third beats accentuated) and Caribbean salsa (a group of syncopated Latin rhythmic styles using the clave beat; it is based on the Cuban son) and recorded by Ecuadoran groups with local themes.

      Folk architecture is constructed with a variety of materials, including bamboo, adobe, rammed earth, wattle and daub, and wood; modern architects have come to realize the continued potential of these traditions. Ecuador's architectural monuments include the large tolas (pre-Inca ramp mounds) of the northern highlands, such as those protected at the Cochasquí archaeological park; the Inca stone walls of Ingapirca near Cañar; the great colonial churches of Quito—especially San Francisco and La Compañía—with their paintings, statuary, and gilt wood carving; and the entire old urban centre of Quito, which in 1978 was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, as was that of Cuenca in 1999.

      More-contemporary art is represented by one of the best-known international figures, painter Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919–99); of mestizo-Indian parentage, he earned an international reputation depicting the social ills of his society. Jorge Icaza (Icaza, Jorge)'s indigenist novel Huasipungo (1934), which depicts the plight of Andean Indians in a feudal society, also received international attention. Many novelists have come from the coast, including those of the so-called Guayaquil group, who explored life among the region's montuvio population (people of mixed Indian, African, and European heritage) in a spirit of social realism; other novelists of note include Luis Martínez, Demetrio Aguilera Malta, Joaquin Gallegos Lara, Enrique Gil Gilbert, Alfredo Pareja Diez-Canseco, and José de la Cuadra. Cuenca is noted for its poets, including Jorge Carrera Andrade and César Dávila Andrade. Books are published by both private and public presses, and Ecuadorans have access to large book fairs and well-stocked bookstores.

Cultural institutions
      The Central Bank of Ecuador, headquartered in Quito, has supported some of the country's major historical and archaeological museums and research and publishing programs. The House of Ecuadoran Culture (founded in the early 1940s, with branches in many Ecuadoran cities) sponsors cultural and historical research, publications, and special events; the National Historical Archives are a subdivision of this institution. The Ecuadoran Library Aurelio Espinoza Pólit, to the north of Quito in Chillogallo, is the country's premier library. The Central University Library, the National Library, the Pontifical Catholic University in Quito, and the Municipal Library in Guayaquil also have significant collections. Notable museums of archaeology and ethnology are located in Quito and Guayaquil. International embassies and consulates sponsor many cultural activities, including concerts and art exhibitions.

Sports and recreation
      Football (football (soccer)) (soccer) is Ecuador's national sport. Amateur weekend games are played in parks, plazas, and vacant lots around the country. The national team has enjoyed success in regional competitions and in the World Cup. Other popular sports and recreational activities include basketball, volleyball, picnics in the countryside, excursions to the beach, and socializing with family and friends. Beauty contests, held frequently, are favoured among all social classes in Ecuador. Cockfights are popular, and bullfights are occasionally held in the highlands. Pelota de mano (“handball”) is usually played by men and involves hitting a small, hard ball back and forth with a bare (or rarely, gloved) fist, a widespread attraction on Sunday afternoons in Quito and San Antonio de Ibarra. National parks and nature preserves, including Sangay National Park in the central Andes (a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983), are increasingly used for picnicking, mountaineering, and fishing. Ecuador's Olympic participation began at the 1924 Summer Games in Paris. The country's first Olympic medal, gold in the 20-km walk, was won by Jefferson Perez at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.

Media and publishing
      Many Ecuadorans are avid readers, and they support numerous newspapers and periodicals. El Comercio (Comercio, El) (“Commerce”), published in Quito, is perhaps the country's most prestigious newspaper; it provides detailed, serious coverage of political, economic, environmental, and cultural news, together with commentary by a number of well-known columnists. Hoy (“Today”), also published in Quito, uses a more modern format. Both newspapers also publish online. A wide range of viewpoints are expressed in other newspapers and periodicals; there is generally no censorship, but debate about the validity of Ecuador's territorial claims is strictly forbidden by the government. Vistazo (“Glance”), in Guayaquil, is the most popular magazine, covering national news events and personalities in a lively and often irreverent fashion. Radio stations include one of the oldest and most powerful transmitters in the Andes, La Voz de los Andes (“The Voice of the Andes”), which is affiliated with Evangelical Protestant missionaries but provides diverse programming fare. Other stations broadcast everything from international rock music to local pasillos, Latin American rhythms, Quechua-language programs, and news. Television stations broadcast a range of soap operas, game shows, and imported programs, along with special coverage from the United States, Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, and elsewhere. Abya Yala and other presses publish numerous nonfiction titles on Ecuadoran topics. There also is a publishing scene for fiction and poetry. Online publishing has proliferated with an increasing number of Ecuadoran Web sites.

Homero Pozo Vélez Gregory W. Knapp

History

Pre-Spanish era
      The area presently known as Ecuador had a long history before the arrival of Europeans. Pottery figurines and containers have been discovered that date from 3000 to 2500 BCE, ranking them among the earliest ceramics in the New World. Ecuadoran ceramic styles probably influenced cultures from Peru to Mexico. Early artistic traditions such as Valdivia, Machalilla, and Chorrera were of high quality, resulting in works of art that are on display in museums around the world.

      By the 1400s Ecuador was divided into warring chiefdoms. Large populations were supported by sophisticated raised-field cultivation systems, and trade networks united the Costa (the Pacific coastal plain), the Sierra (the mountainous Andean area of central Ecuador), and the Oriente (the eastern region). Chiefs built large earthen mounds (tolas) that served as bases for their homes. However, Ecuador lacked cities and states until after the Inca conquest.

 The conquest was begun by Topa Inca Yupanqui (ruled 1471–93) and extended by his successor, Huayna Capac (ruled 1493–1525), who lived much of his later life in Tomebamba. Although their cultural impact was otherwise spotty, the Inca spread the use of Quichua as a lingua franca and ordered large forced migrations where resistance to their conquest was especially strong. In Ecuador it is evident that Inca rule was resented by some and supported strongly by others. Huayna Capac left the Inca empire divided between his legitimate heir, Huascar, in Cuzco, and his son by an Ecuadoran Cara princess, Atahuallpa. This led to a territorial dispute, and Atahuallpa won the ensuing civil war after a major battle near Riobamba in 1532; at just about the same time, a Spanish expedition led by Francisco Pizarro (Pizarro, Francisco) appeared off the coast. Atahuallpa was executed the next year as the Spanish conquest spread. In many parts of what is now Ecuador, Inca rule was less than 50 years old, and many of the pre-Inca chiefdoms still held the peoples' allegiance. As a result, the Spanish under Pizarro's lieutenant Sebastian de Belalcázar (Benalcázar, Sebastián de) were welcomed as liberators by some when they invaded Ecuador from Peru in 1534, while stiff resistance was encountered from others, especially the local leader, Rumiñahui, who was captured by the Spanish and executed in Quito.

The colonial (colonialism, Western) period
      During much of the colonial period, what is now Ecuador was under the direct jurisdiction of the law court (audiencia) of Quito and ultimately under the rule of the Spanish crown. Spanish culture was spread primarily by religious orders and male Spanish colonists.

      In the Sierra, the Spaniards established a colony of large estates worked by Indian peons. Settlements included semiautonomous Indian villages and Spanish and mestizo administrative and religious centres such as Quito, Ambato, and Cuenca. The making of rough textiles in primitive sweatshops was the only industry. The development of Roman Catholic religious establishments provided for the flowering of Baroque architecture, sculpture in wood and stone, painting, music, and other arts and crafts.

      In the tropical Costa, much of the population died as a result of introduced diseases, and the area remained unhealthy until the advent of modern medicine. As a result, the coast was somewhat neglected during the colonial period, although there was some shipbuilding and exporting of cacao (as cocoa beans) from the port of Guayaquil. The small coastal population of slaves, free blacks, and mixed ethnicities, with plenty of vacant land and less coercion of labour, developed a culture very different from that of the Sierra.

      In the Oriente, the region on the eastern slopes between the Andes (Andes Mountains) and the headwaters of the Amazon, large populations of Shuar and other indigenous people successfully repelled European invaders; however, Jesuits and other missionaries were able to spread both Christianity and the Quichua language. The Spaniards used Quichua as a language of evangelization—at one period missionaries were required to know the language—and continued to spread it orally by means of Quichua speakers who travelled with them in further conquests.

      The country's fourth major subdivision, the Galapagos Islands, were little more than pirate nests during the colonial period. They were to achieve world fame in the 19th century, because it was there that Charles Darwin (Darwin, Charles) made a major portion of the observations that led to his theories on evolution and his On the Origin of Species.

 The people of Quito, the Ecuadoran capital, claim that it was the scene of the first Ecuadoran patriot uprising against Spanish rule (1809). Invading from Colombia in 1822, the armies of Simón Bolívar (Bolívar, Simón) and Antonio José de Sucre (Sucre, Antonio José de) came to the aid of Ecuadoran rebels, and on May 24 Sucre won the decisive Battle of Pichincha (Pichincha, Battle of) on a mountain slope near Quito, thus assuring Ecuadoran independence.

Early national history, 1830–c. 1925
 Ecuador's early history as a country was a tormented one. For some eight years it formed, together with what are now the countries of Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela, the confederation of Gran Colombia. But on May 13, 1830, after a period of protracted regional rivalries, Ecuador seceded and became a separate independent republic.

Liberal-Conservative hostilities
      An increasing rivalry and ideological differences between the Sierra and the Costa usually focused on the two leading cities—Quito, the capital, in the Sierra, and Guayaquil, the country's principal port, in the Costa. Quito was the home of a landed aristocracy whose positions of power during this early period were based on large semifeudal estates worked by Indian labour; it was (and to some extent has remained) a conservative clerical city, resistant to changes in the status quo. Guayaquil, on the other hand, by the 19th century had become a bustling cosmopolitan port, controlled by a few wealthy merchants. These men and those around them were influenced by 19th-century liberalism; interested in trade, they favoured free enterprise and expanding markets, and some were anticlerical. Their bourgeois attitudes conflicted sharply with the more aristocratic beliefs of the Sierra elites. These early rivalries tended to be exacerbated by the nature of the two cities. The people of Guayaquil, the country's breadwinner and the home of Ecuador's industry and trade, felt that a disproportionate part of the state's tax income was spent in Quito by government bureaucrats. Those in Quito complained that their exports had to pass through the monopolistic bottleneck of Guayaquil, which acted as a traditional middleman and, by adding to the price of Sierra products, reduced their competitiveness in the world market.

Rivalry between Flores and Rocafuerte (1830–45)
      Ambitious generals and politicians have played on this Quito-Guayaquil rivalry since the foundation of the republic in 1830. During the period 1830–45 two leaders from the wars of independence—Juan José Flores and Vicente Rocafuerte—struggled for power; Flores found much of his support in Quito, Rocafuerte in Guayaquil. Hostility was not constant, and for a few years the rivals agreed to alternate in the presidency. They were not simply personalist dictators; Rocafuerte in particular had a coherent ideology of government and did much to improve the educational institutions of the main cities. Both, however, were capable of deplorable conduct in their efforts to retain or regain power. Flores, on one occasion, even invited the Spaniards to return.

Breakdown of national government (1845–60)
      The rivalry between Flores and Rocafuerte was a struggle between two strong leaders. Between 1845 and 1860, however, the country went through a period of chaos in which a series of squabbling, weak leaders (usually self-proclaimed liberals) fought for the presidency. This period reinforced the already close ties between the military and the national government.

The regime of García Moreno (1860–75)
 In the next period (1860–75) one of Latin America's most extraordinary experiments in autocracy occurred, during the presidency of Gabriel García Moreno (García Moreno, Gabriel). As a young man, García Moreno had witnessed the chaos in Ecuador and the selfish struggles of the various cliques. He had also seen the European Revolutions of 1848 (1848, Revolutions of) and had developed an abhorrence of liberalism and of uncontrolled violence. A careful analysis of Ecuadoran society led him to conclude that the young country lacked unifying factors: it had no great tradition, suffered from regional resentments, and was sharply divided by class and between Europeans and Indians who did not even share a common language. García Moreno concluded that the only social cement was religion—the general adherence of the population to Roman Catholicism. He felt that in time nationalism could be created and more social cohesion would emerge as a result but that meanwhile Ecuador needed a period of peace and strong government. When he became president, therefore, he based his regime on two factors—strong authoritarian personal rule and the Roman Catholic Church. He established the Conservative Party (Partido Conservador; PC), which promoted a powerful central government and a strong connection between church and state. All education and welfare, along with the direction of much government policy, were turned over to clerics. Other religions were harshly discouraged. All opposition was ruthlessly suppressed, and some leading liberals spent many years in exile.

      Although many aspects of García Moreno's regime were reactive, it did mark the first period of genuine progress for Ecuador. Roads, schools, and hospitals were built. A start was made on a Quito-Guayaquil railroad, to tie together the Sierra and the Costa. García Moreno encouraged the planting of eucalyptus trees from Australia to combat erosion in the Sierra, where the original ground cover had been cut down for fuel by the impoverished Indians. Other agricultural reforms slowly raised production. By the end of his regime a strong feeling of nationalism had been created among the urban classes.

      In the 19th century, however, this authoritarian, clerical government seemed an anachronism, and liberal opposition grew both at home and abroad. When García Moreno was assassinated on the steps of the government palace in 1875, the liberal intellectual and pamphleteer Juan Montalvo (Montalvo, Juan) proclaimed from exile, “My pen has killed him.”

Shift to liberalism (1875–97)
      García Moreno's death, as he himself might have forecast, brought a period of near anarchy. Conservatives and liberals struggled for power. But Ecuador had become part of the world market; the importance of the coast slowly increased, and the liberals of that area increasingly dominated the economy.

      A new liberal hero emerged from the lower classes as the leader of the coastal reaction to Sierra conservatism and clericalism. A man of great personal magnetism, Gen. Eloy Alfaro led a march against the Sierra in 1895 and after a year became constitutional president, serving two terms (1897–1901 and 1906–11). Much of the administrative structure of the García Moreno era was dismantled. The anticlerical liberals, proclaiming themselves the Radical Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Radical; PLR), gradually removed the church from state education: they instituted civil marriage and burial, proclaimed freedom of religion, permitted divorce, and eased controls on the press. The church's tithe was abolished, and many of its large estates were confiscated by the state, some estates passing into the hands of liberal leaders.

      In many ways, however, in spite of political manifestos to the contrary, the liberals of this era shared the basic ideas of the previous period. They advanced García Moreno's road- and railroad-building programs; the Quito-Guayaquil railroad was completed in 1908, during Alfaro's second term. Moreover, central government did not lose its authoritarian caste; Alfaro, the liberal caudillo (dictator), was as arbitrary and ruthless as his conservative predecessor. In the Sierra and on the coast, power remained unchanged. The problem of the great haciendas was not touched, and the change to liberalism meant little to the impoverished Indians and peasants.

      Alfaro's overthrow, like that of García Moreno, was brought about by his stubborn attempts to perpetuate himself in office. A coalition of conservatives and dissident liberals forced him and his clique from the presidency in August 1911, but, when the next president died in office shortly thereafter, the aging and increasingly unpopular Alfaro returned from exile and tried to recapture his following. The leaders of the liberals rejected him, and, after some fighting, he was arrested in Guayaquil. He and his lieutenants were sent to a model prison in Quito, built years before by García Moreno. There, on Jan. 28, 1912, a lynch mob broke in, dragged the prisoners through the streets, and burned their bodies.

Problems of the early 20th century
      The liberals remained in office, but the real power continued to rest in the hands of the wealthy merchants and bankers of Guayaquil. During World War I and the short boom that followed it, this clique further extended its influence and diversified its capital with a view to controlling the agriculture of the coastal plain. Cacao was the dominant export crop, as in the colonial period, but sugar and rice became increasingly important.

      A depression followed in the early 1920s. The price of food increased, and exports in general declined. The sucre—the national unit of currency—fell rapidly in value. At the same time, the country's cacao plantations became infected with a fungus that causes a malformation known as witches'-broom, and production sagged. These crises brought urban discontent, the formation of trade unions in Guayaquil, riots, and massacres by the army. Hundreds died during riots and shootings in November 1922.

      In 1925 the army entered this turbulent situation, claiming that it wished to restore national unity and blaming many of the country's problems on the merchant bankers of Guayaquil. Unfortunately, the 1925 revolution brought little change to Ecuador's social and economic structures.

Modern history
      The period between 1925 and 1948 was one of greater turbulence than Ecuador had ever known. Increasing involvement in the world market and in international politics meant that the country could no longer escape entanglements and the consequences of world ideological conflicts. Yet during this crucial period, Ecuador's internal disunity prevented the modernization of its social structure, land tenure system, education, and communications. Thus, the country was badly equipped to face the demands of the age.

Economic development and loss of territory in the 1940s
      Ecuador was still suffering from the effects of the Great Depression when it became involved in World War II. It sided with the Allies and allowed the United States to build military bases on its territory, but it played little direct part in the war. Under Pres. Carlos Arroyo del Río, Ecuador drew some benefit from the higher prices for raw materials caused by the war, and the early years of the war were relatively prosperous and tranquil.

      World War II had a serious secondary effect on the country, however. The large Amazonian territories claimed by Ecuador had never been effectively controlled by the government; much of the area was occupied by indigenous groups. Dating back to the 16th century, Peruvians had increasingly settled along the Amazon and its tributaries. In July 1941, after long diplomatic bickering and a series of border incidents, the Peruvian army invaded, seized much of the disputed Amazonian area, and devastated El Oro provincia (province). The Ecuadoran forces, poorly trained and equipped, were easily defeated, and the disgrace caused the overthrow of Arroyo del Río. The United States and the other major powers were too preoccupied with World War II to allow such small conflicts to destroy Allied unity or to disrupt the production of vital raw materials. A peace conference (Rio de Janeiro, Protocol of) in Rio de Janeiro in 1942 forced Ecuador to relinquish its claims to much of the Amazonian region. Subsequently, Ecuador repeatedly attempted to reopen the question, claiming that the Protocol of Rio did not establish precise borders and that the new borders were therefore invalid. This constant irredentism was used repeatedly by demagogues and ultranationalists, who distracted attention and effort from urgent internal problems.

Domination of Velasco Ibarra after World War II
      Politics and government after World War II presented contradictions. Ecuador enjoyed a long period of constitutional government and relatively free elections following the presidency of the PLR leader Galo Plaza (1948–52). There were also two long interludes of military government (1963–66; 1972–79), but the period was dominated by one of Latin America's great caudillos, José María Velasco Ibarra (Velasco Ibarra, José María). Velasco Ibarra, who died in 1979, was president of Ecuador five times but completed only one of these terms. He seemed able to win any election, such was his popularity with the masses, but his terms of office were marked by sudden reversals in policy, contradictory economic programs, personal outbursts, temporary suspensions of civil liberties, and military interventions. Some critics claimed that Velasco Ibarra drew support from communist groups; others said he was the puppet of powerful business groups in Guayaquil. But neither these nor other groups were able to control the erratic Velasco Ibarra for long.

      His political presence may have inhibited the development of coherent political parties and programs for changing the country's antiquated social and economic structure, but his personal appeal cut across parties and ideologies. The traditional parties—the PLR and the PC—were thrown into disarray by his incursions, and the growth of newer parties, such as the Ecuadoran Socialists and the Social Christians, was retarded. Opponents alleged that Velasco Ibarra made economic progress impossible because constructive measures undertaken by previous governments were halted or reversed by the Velasco Ibarra interludes.

Ecuador from the late 20th century
      After Velasco Ibarra's last fall from power, in 1972, military officers ruled for some seven years before handing over the government to a constitutionally elected (July 16, 1979) civilian president. The civilian and military governments of the 1970s had not developed a firm policy for dealing with the oil boom that occurred in that decade. The boom increased the size and wealth of the middle class, led to the building of roads, quays, pipelines, and other infrastructure, and caused severe inflation. No basic structural reforms took place, however, and the poor suffered the effects of inflation but reaped few of the benefits of the oil boom.

      Velasco Ibarra's death and the withdrawal of the military officers from government allowed the country to return to an elected civilian government and a new constitution in 1979. Jaime Roldós Aguilera (Roldós Aguilera, Jaime), a young social democrat, was elected president on a reformist platform. He promised greater social equality and a more equitable distribution of oil industry profits, but he was unable to manage the legislature and was soon at odds with his own party, the Concentration of Popular Forces. His popularity increased after a border skirmish with Peru in early 1981, but he was killed in an airplane crash later that year. His successor was Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea of the small Christian Democratic party. The economy, depressed by the drop in world oil prices, spiraled downward with accompanying high inflation and a depreciating currency.

      León Febres Cordero, a congressman from Guayaquil, was elected president in 1984. His free-market economics and pro-U.S. foreign policy drew Ecuador into closer alliance with the U.S. administration of Pres. Ronald Reagan, but Febres Cordero was never popular in Ecuador. Oil prices continued to fall, and his troubles with the National Congress and the military led to calls for his resignation and, on one occasion, to his being kidnapped by air force personnel for half a day, until he agreed to release one of their leaders. In March 1987 he suspended interest payments on Ecuador's $8.3 billion foreign debt after an earthquake destroyed part of a major oil pipeline.

      Left-wing opponent Rodrigo Borja Cevallos was elected to the presidency in 1988, but he seemed to have few solutions to the steadily worsening economic crisis. His term was marked by a major national uprising in 1990, with Indian groups demonstrating in favour of such issues as land reform; the uprising and subsequent protests pushed the Ecuadoran government to recognize the land rights of these indigenous groups and address their other concerns.

      In 1992 Sixto Durán Ballén was elected president. He brought the government budget into balance, reduced trade barriers, brought Ecuador into the World Trade Organization, and encouraged foreign investment. The benefits of his accomplishments, however, were somewhat offset by conflict: in early 1995, the long-simmering boundary dispute with Peru erupted in a border war, leading to a standoff that persisted until a peace accord was signed on Oct. 26, 1998. The country was left with a crippling war debt.

      From the mid-1990s to the early 21st century, Ecuador experienced several years of political upheaval, during which time many individuals served as president. Populist leader Abdalá Bucaram Ortíz was elected president in 1996; however, he became increasingly unpopular because of his erratic and controversial behaviour, and in early 1997 Congress removed him from office and replaced him with Fabián Alarcón Rivera. In elections held in 1998, Quito mayor Jamil Mahuad Witt was elected president. Early in his term, Mahuad was confronted with a serious economic crisis that peaked in 1999. His unpopular austerity measures, implemented to address the crisis, and high rates of inflation resulted in public demonstrations against his leadership. In 2000 Mahuad made perhaps his most unpopular decision—to adopt the U.S. dollar as Ecuador's currency. This proposal proved to be his undoing, and shortly thereafter he was removed from the presidency in a coup engineered by indigenous leaders and some members of the military, including Col. Lucio Gutiérrez Borbua. The coup leaders eventually agreed to let Vice Pres. Gustavo Noboa Bejerano ascend to the presidency, which effectively ended the coup. Noboa followed through with Mahuad's decision to convert Ecuador's currency to the dollar, despite the plan's unpopularity. However, this conversion, as well as a rise in oil prices, helped stabilize the economy in 2001.

      The beginning of the 21st century found Ecuador struggling with many of the same issues as in previous decades: political upheaval, social unrest due to dissatisfaction with indigenous rights and economic policies, and poor economic performance. Former coup leader Gutiérrez stood in the 2002 presidential elections and won, taking office in 2003. He made some attempts at economic reform, but he did not have the cooperation of the National Congress and was initially limited in his success. Gutiérrez was removed from office in April 2005 and replaced with Vice Pres. Alfredo Palacio.

      Rafael Correa Delgado was elected president in November 2006 as an independent leftist, with oil policy, poverty, debt, and relations with the United States as the main campaign issues. Correa, an ally of populist Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez (Chávez, Hugo) and other left-leaning leaders, strengthened state control over the country's extensive oil resources, increased spending on social programs, and diminished ties to U.S. development organizations. In early 2008 he broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia after that country's forces raided a guerrilla camp inside Ecuador. Correa also received support from the majority of voters for his plan to devise a new constitution to fight long-standing corruption in Ecuador's National Congress.

Gregory W. Knapp Murdo J. MacLeod
      A draft constitution was approved by the National Assembly in July 2008, and more than 60 percent of Ecuadoran voters backed the new constitution in a referendum held in September. The new constitution was the 20th since the country gained independence in 1830, and it reflected many of Correa's leftist ideals, including a ban on foreign military bases, the allowance of same-sex marriage, free education through the college level, social security benefits for unpaid domestic workers, and greater national control over the oil and mining industries. Moreover, it gave broad powers to the president—most notably, allowing the president to serve up to two consecutive four-year terms. Critics of the new constitution accused Correa of giving the government too much control and aligning himself too much with Chávez.

Ed.

Additional Reading

Geography
Classic writings on the plant life of Ecuador include T. Harper Goodspeed, Plant Hunters in the Andes, 2nd ed., rev. and enlarged (1961); and Richard Spruce, Notes of a Botanist on the Amazon & Andes, 2 vol. (1908, reissued 1970). Luis A. Coloma and Santiago R. Ron, Megadiverse Ecuador: Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals (2001), is an illustrated book on Ecuador's biodiversity.

Michael Handelsman, Culture and Customs of Ecuador (2000), provides an overview of national cultures. A landmark of detailed ethnography is Elsie Clews Parsons, Peguche, Canton of Otavalo, Province of Imbabura, Ecuador: A Study of Andean Indians (1945). John Collier, Jr., and Aníbal Buitrón, The Awakening Valley (1949, reissued 1971), combines a comprehensive text on the Indians of Otavalo with a variety of illustrations. Ralph L. Beals, Community in Transition: Nayón-Ecuador (1966), is an insider's study of the village of Nayón, near Quito; and Norman E. Whitten, Jr., Class, Kinship, and Power in an Ecuadorian Town: The Negroes of San Lorenzo (1965), analyzes the social structure in a town near the Colombian border.Ethnographic studies of the Amazon region include Philippe Descola, In the Society of Nature: A Native Ecology in Amazonia (1996; originally published in French, 1986); and Theodore Macdonald, Ethnicity and Culture Amidst New “Neighbors”: The Runa of Ecuador's Amazon Region (1999). Other ethnographies on these Indian groups are Norman E. Whitten, Jr., Sacha Runa: Ethnicity and Adaptation of Ecuadorian Jungle Quichua (1976); and Peter Broennimann, Auca on the Cononaco: Indians of the Ecuadorian Rain Forest (1981).

Overviews of Ecuadoran commodities are provided in an entertaining fashion in Tom Miller, The Panama Hat Trail (1986, reprinted 2001); and Amy Stewart, Flower Confidential (2007).R.J. Bromley, Development and Planning in Ecuador (1977), is an overview of the topic. Moritz Thomsen, Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle (1969, reissued 1990), and The Farm on the River of Emeralds (1978, reprinted 1989), provide excellent accounts of the challenges of grassroots development in Ecuador. Sarah Hamilton, The Two-Headed Household: Gender and Rural Development in the Ecuadorean Andes (1998); and Robert E. Rhoades (ed.), Development with Identity: Community, Culture, and Sustainability in the Andes (2006), contemplate the continuing challenges of sustainable development at the local level. Paul Beckerman and Andrés Solimano (eds.), Crisis and Dollarization in Ecuador: Stability, Growth, and Social Equity (2002), provides a World Bank perspective on development. Erik Swyngedouw, Social Power and the Urbanization of Water: Flows of Power (2004); and Amy Lind, Gendered Paradoxes: Women's Movements, State Restructuring, and Global Development in Ecuador (2005), provide alternative perspectives.Studies of traditional highland agriculture include David Basile, Tillers of the Andes: Farmers and Farming in the Quito Basin (1974); Gregory Knapp, Andean Ecology: Adaptive Dynamics in Ecuador (1991); and William M. Denevan, Kent Mathewson, and Gregory Knapp (eds.), Pre-Hispanic Agricultural Fields in the Andean Region, 2 vol. (1987).

Government and society
Books focusing on indigenous movements include Joe Kane, Savages (1996), which looks at the relationship between the Huaorani and oil development; Sarah Radcliffe and Sallie Westwood, Remaking the Nation: Place, Identity, and Politics in Latin America (1996); Suzana Sawyer, Crude Chronicles: Indigenous Politics, Multinational Oil, and Neoliberalism in Ecuador (2004); and A. Kim Clark and Marc Becker (eds.), Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuador (2007).A study of migration is discussed in David Kyle, Transnational Peasants: Migrations, Networks, and Ethnicity in Andean Ecuador (2000). Norman E. Whitten, Jr. (ed.), Cultural Transformations and Ethnicity in Modern Ecuador (1981), and Millennial Ecuador: Critical Essays on Cultural Transformations and Social Dynamics (2003), are notable for their analysis of social and cultural practices of coastal, highland, and Amazonian groups engaged in political struggles. Jeffrey Swanson, Echoes of the Call: Identity and Ideology Among American Missionaries in Ecuador (1995), is a sociological account of the growth of Protestantism in Ecuador. Mary J. Weismantel, Food, Gender, and Poverty in the Ecuadorian Andes (1988, reissued 1998), is a pioneer study of the role of food in the cultural identity of the central highlands.

History
Betty J. Meggers, Ecuador (1966), is a broad archaeological survey. Albert William Bork and Georg Maier, Historical Dictionary of Ecuador (1973), is a convenient reference manual. Donald W. Lathrap, Donald Collier, and Helen Chandra, Ancient Ecuador—Culture, Clay, and Creativity, 3000–300 BC (1975), introduces an alternative set of interpretations. Ronald D. Lippi, Tropical Forest Archaeology in Western Pichincha, Ecuador (2004), is a well-written account of the adventures and findings of a contemporary archaeologist.Colonial society and economy are engagingly described in Kris Lane, Quito 1599: City and Colony in Transition (2002). Suzanne Austin Alchon, Native Society and Disease in Colonial Ecuador (1991, reissued 2002); and Linda A. Newson, Life and Death in Early Colonial Ecuador (1995), provide detailed information on colonial demography.Studies of 19th- and 20th-century economic history include Steve Striffler, In the Shadows of State and Capital: The United Fruit Company, Popular Struggle, and Agrarian Restructuring in Ecuador, 1900–1995 (2002); and A. Kim Clark, The Redemptive Work: Railway and Nation in Ecuador, 1895–1930 (1998). Erin O'Conner, Gender, Indian, Nation: The Contradictions of Making Ecuador, 1830–1925 (2007), provides overviews of 19th-century history. George I. Blanksten, Ecuador: Constitutions and Caudillos (1951, reissued 1964), analyzes political developments of the early 1900s; it can be supplemented by John D. Martz, Ecuador: Conflicting Political Culture and the Quest for Progress (1972); and Frank MacDonald Spindler, Nineteenth Century Ecuador: A Historical Introduction (1987). John Samuel Fitch, The Military Coup d'État as a Political Process: Ecuador, 1948–1966 (1977), is a detailed study of four postwar coups, with an epilogue to 1976. Osvaldo Hurtado, Political Power in Ecuador (1980, reissued 1985; originally published in Spanish, 1977), is a perceptive historical analysis. David Corkill and David Cubitt, Ecuador: Fragile Democracy (1988), is a study of modern politics and problems. Carlos De La Torre, Populist Seduction in Latin America: The Ecuadorian Experience (2000); and Allen Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics: A Recent History of Ecuador (2003), provide updates.Gregory W. Knapp

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Universalium. 2010.

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