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Republic of Ecuador
Republic of Ecuador
Flag of Ecuador
Coat of arms of Ecuador
flag coat of arms
Motto : " Dios, patria y libertad "
( Spanish for "God, fatherland and freedom" )
Official language Spanish , for "intercultural relations" Kichwa and Shuar
Capital Quito
State and form of government presidential republic
Head of state , also head of government President Lenín Moreno
surface 283,561 km²
population 17.4 million ( 64th ) (2019; estimate)
Population density 69 inhabitants per km²
Population development + 1.7% (estimate for 2019)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 107 billion ( 61st )
  • $ 206 billion ( 68. )
  • 6,222 USD ( 93. )
  • 11,929 USD ( 110. )
Human Development Index 0.759 ( 86th ) (2019)
currency Ecuadorian sucre (ECS), since September 2000 US dollars (USD)
independence 1821 (from Spain )
National anthem Volley, Oh Patria
National holiday August 10 (Independence Day)
Time zone UTC − 5
License Plate EC
ISO 3166 EC , ECU, 218
Internet TLD .ec
Phone code +593
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Location of Ecuador in South America
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Ecuador ([ eku̯aˈdoːɐ̯ ], German also Ecuador ; in Kichwa Ecuador Mamallakta , Spanish República del Ecuador ) is a republic in northwestern South America between Colombia and Peru and has about 17 million inhabitants. The capital in the Andean highlands ( Sierra ) at 2850 m is called Quito ; the largest city, Guayaquil, is on the Pacific Coast Plain (called Costa ). The country is named after the equator line that runs through the northern part of the national territory. The Galápagos Islands , which belong to Ecuador, are located between 928 km and 1272 km west of the coast in the Pacific.

The government of Ecuador has recently tried to achieve a better separation of powers, for example through the establishment of an independent judicial council. It also has a clear policy of support for business and the private sector. However, civil society participation has remained very limited to this day.


Ecuador is located in the northwest of South America and is geographically , topographically , climatically and ethnically one of the most diverse countries on earth. Ecuador borders Colombia (590 km), Peru (1420 km) and the Pacific Ocean . The total length of the national borders is 2010 kilometers. At 283,561 km², the country's area is slightly larger than that of Great Britain (244,140 km²). The country crossed by the equator can be divided into four completely different geographical zones:

  • the west coast region ( Costa ) consists of alluvium and a low coastal range and is determined by the Guayas dominated
  • the central Andean region ( Sierra ) comprises two mountain ranges characterized by strong volcanism and the high valley in between
  • the eastern Amazon basin ( Oriente ) begins on the eastern slopes of the Andes and includes the sparsely populated Amazon basin
  • the Galapagos Islands are 1000 km off the coast in the Pacific.
Landscapes of Ecuador
Vicuna on Chimborazo , the highest mountain in Ecuador
Landscape of Ecuador; here: Lago San Pablo and the Imbabura covered by clouds .
Tropical coastal region near Agua Blanca.
Malecón del Salado, Guayaquil
The Cotopaxi and the Rumiñahui in the Sierra.
Bridge over the Río Pastaza between Macas and Puyo
Milagro, Guayas
Tungurahua volcano
Loja , San Sebastian Church


The Costa (coast) is the western part of Ecuador with an area of ​​around 80,000 km². About half of the Ecuadorians live on this quarter of the country's area. The Costa consists of fertile alluvial plains and undulating hilly landscapes of around 500 km in length and up to 200 km in width. The up to 800 m high coastal mountain range Cordillera Costanera runs through the Costa and merges into the Cordillera Chongón-Colonche mountain range in the province of Guayas . The southern Costa is characterized by the river system of the 60 km long Río Guayas and its tributaries Río Babahoyo and Río Daule , the largest water catchment system of the South American Pacific coast with more than 36,000 km² .

The delta of the Río Guayas forms the largest natural harbor on South America's west coast. The annual runoff of the Guaya is more than 36 billion cubic meters . Further north, the Río Esmeraldas , the Río Cayapas and the Río Chone flow towards the Pacific and in the far south the Río Jubones . Climatically, the Costa can be divided into two regions, the border of which runs around Manta : the tropical, humid north and the semi-arid south. The reason for the division is the Antarctic Humboldt Current , which at about 1 degree south of latitude deflects from the South American coast to the west into the Pacific.


The Andean region of the country is called Sierra (mountains) and is more than 80,000 km² in size. In the past it was the most populous region, today 38% of Ecuadorians live here. The Sierra consists of the two mountain ranges Cordillera Occidental and Cordillera Central (also: Cordillera Oriental and rarely Cordillera Real ) as well as the high valley in between (sometimes called altiplano ). The Cordillera Occidental is generally lower, but is home to Ecuador's highest mountain at 6310 m, the Chimborazo . The highest mountain in the Cordillera Central is the almost 5900 m high Cotopaxi . The high valley is at an altitude of 1,800 to 3,200 m and is around 500 km long and 20–30 km wide and is home to a number of medium-high interandine mountains. Due to the active volcanism, Alexander von Humboldt called the valley the "Road of the Volcanoes". The high valley is divided into eight basins ( cuencas or hoyas ) by mountain bars (nudos) ; other authors count up to twelve such cauldrons.

With the exception of Guaranda , all major cities in the region are located in such basins. The cuencas are named after rivers and places, namely (from north to south) the Río Chota (see Chota Valley ), the Guayllabamba , the Río Pastaza , the Río Paute , the Río Chimbo , the place Girón (or the place and river Río Yunguilla ) and the Rio Catamayo . In the Guayllabamba Basin is Quito, the highest capital in the world (before Sucre in Bolivia ). In the south of Ecuador the two cordillera are less clearly distinguishable than in the center and in the north.


In the east of the country, the Oriente (east), are the rainforests of the Amazon basin. The region is almost 100,000 km² in size, but only extremely sparsely populated. As a result of the lost war against Peru in 1941/42 , Ecuador had to cede a 200,000 km² Amazon area (40% of the land area at that time) to its southern neighbor and lost access to the Amazon, although this area was never under effective state influence.

The Oriente can be divided into the densely forested foothills of the Andes with the three volcanoes Sumaco , Pan de Azúcar and Reventador of the Subcordillere Galeras-Napo and the deeper (less than 400 m) and flat Amazon plain. All rivers of the Oriente are tributaries of the Amazon. The most important of them are the 850 km long Napo , the Coca , the Pastaza , the border river with Colombia Putumayo and the Aguarico . At Agoyán , the Pastaza forms the largest waterfall in Ecuador with a drop of 60 meters. The region has a hot, humid tropical climate .


The Galapagos Islands , about 1000 km from the mainland in the Pacific , officially called Archipiélago de Colón , form the fourth geographical zone of Ecuador. Similar to Hawaii , the islands are geologically very young (between 700,000 and 3 million years old) and of oceanic-volcanic origin. That is, they have never had contact with the mainland in their history. The total area of ​​the 320 km scattered archipelago is more than 8000 km², of which more than half is on the main island of Isabela . In the northern part of the islands, exactly on the equator, lies the Wolf volcano (1707 m), the highest point in the Galápagos Islands.


The climate of Ecuador is very diverse. The climate is characterized on the one hand by strong regional temperature differences due to different altitudes (0 to over 6000 m). On the other hand, the amounts of precipitation are extremely different, due to differences in the topography and the Humboldt Current . Due to the proximity to the equator, the temperature distribution is relatively even over the year. In the Sierra in particular, there are pronounced day-night temperature fluctuations.

The climatic differences are clear even at short distances. The north of the city of Quito is much warmer and drier than the south. The summit of Illinois Sur is also glaciated, while the neighboring and practically the same height Illinois Norte is mostly free of snow. Along the elevation profile in Ecuador, a distinction is made between Tierra Caliente (up to 1000 m), Tierra Templada (up to 2000 m), Tierra Fría (up to 3000 m), Tierra Helada (up to 4800 m) and Tierra Nevada (above). Within the first three of these altitude sectors (up to 3000 m) the climate differs through very different amounts of precipitation, above all regions are rich in precipitation.

In the northern coastal region with a tropical monsoon climate, there is a pronounced rainy season from January to May. There is no pronounced rainy season in the Andean highlands, but the months from November to May are considered to be the rainier. The rainy seasons are called "winter" and the dry seasons "summer", despite the average temperature being slightly above average.

In the southern coastal strip there is precipitation of less than 250 mm per year. On the western Andean slopes of the Costa up to 5000 mm, on the eastern slopes of the Oriente even up to 6000 mm of precipitation occurs. In the Sierra, the basins receive only 250–500 mm of precipitation per year, while altitudes often come to over 2000 mm. Except at extreme altitudes above 4800 m, precipitation almost always falls as rain or hail .

Mountains and volcanism

summit height Mountains region province
Chimborazo 6310 m Cordillera Occidental Sierra Chimborazo ProvinceChimborazo Province Chimborazo
Cotopaxi 5897 m Cordillera Central Sierra Cotopaxi ProvinceCotopaxi Province Cotopaxi
Cayambe 5790 m Cordillera Central Sierra Pichincha ProvincePichincha Province Pichincha
Antisana 5758 m Cordillera Central Sierra Napo ProvinceNapo Province Napo
El altar 5319 m Cordillera Central Sierra Chimborazo ProvinceChimborazo Province Chimborazo
Iliniza Sur 5263 m Cordillera Occidental Sierra Cotopaxi ProvinceCotopaxi Province Cotopaxi
Sangay 5230 m Cordillera Central Sierra Morona Santiago ProvinceMorona Santiago Province Morona Santiago
Iliniza Norte 5116 m Cordillera Occidental Sierra Pichincha ProvincePichincha Province Pichincha
Tungurahua 5023 m Cordillera Central Sierra Tungurahua ProvinceTungurahua Province Tungurahua
Carihuairazo 5018 m Cordillera Occidental Sierra Tungurahua ProvinceTungurahua Province Tungurahua
Reventador 3562 m Cordillera Real Oriente Sucumbíos ProvinceSucumbíos Province Sucumbíos

The Andes were created by the collision of two tectonic plates . The Nazca plate moves eastwards from Colombia to Patagonia at about nine centimeters per year, while the South American plate moves westwards at five centimeters per year and pushes itself over the Nazca plate. The entire Andean Cordillera is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire as a subduction zone , which is why there are a large number of active and extinct volcanoes in Ecuador. A total of 55 volcanoes were counted, of which 18 are classified as active.

The only still active volcano of the Cordillera Occidental is the 4778 meter high Guagua Pichincha east of Quito. Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Sangay are the active volcanoes of the Cordillera Central. Eleven volcanoes of Ecuador are currently actively monitored, of which the Cotopaxi, the Guagua Pichincha and the Tungurahua are classified as dangerous.


Due to the subduction of the Nazca Plate under the South American Plate, Ecuador is one of the countries with the greatest earthquake risk. The strongest earthquake to date occurred in 1906 and reached a magnitude of 8.3 (according to other sources even 8.8) and claimed around 1,000 lives. Due to the subduction zone, the sea floor is often raised during earthquakes, so there is also a risk of tsunamis . In a nationwide noticeable earthquake on the night of April 17, 2016 with a magnitude of 7.8 on the moment magnitude scale , at least 659 people died.

Administrative structure

For the administration of the state there is a division into

The provinces of Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas and Santa Elena were only established in October and November 2007, respectively. Since then, Ecuador has a total of 24 provinces. These are:

Amazonia (Oriente)

province Capital surface Residents 2017 Population per km²
Morona Santiago ProvinceMorona Santiago Province Morona Santiago Macas 25,690 km² 183,700 7.2 inhabitants / km²
Napo ProvinceNapo Province Napo Tena 13,271 km² 125,500 9.5 inhabitants / km²
Orellana ProvinceOrellana Province Orellana Puerto Francisco de Orellana 20,733 km² 155,500 7.5 inhabitants / km²
Pastaza ProvincePastaza Province Pasta Puyo 29,520 km² 105,500 3.6 inhabitants / km²
Sucumbíos ProvinceSucumbíos Province Sucumbíos Nueva Loja 18,612 km² 215,500 11.6 inhabitants / km²
Zamora Chinchipe ProvinceZamora Chinchipe Province Zamora chinchipe Zamora 10,556 km² 112,800 10.7 inhabitants / km²
Galápagos Esmeraldas Carchi Imbabura Sucumbios Orellana Napo Pichincha Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas Manabí Cotopaxi Tungurahua Bolívar Los Ríos Guayas Cañar Chimborazo Pastaza Morona Santiago Azuay Santa Elena El Oro Loja Zamora Chinchipe Kolumbien Peru
Provinces of Ecuador

Andean highlands (Sierra)

province Capital surface Residents 2017 Population per km²
Azuay ProvinceAzuay Province Azuay Cuenca 8,639 km² 838,900 97.1 inhabitants / km²
Bolívar Province (Ecuador)Bolívar Province (Ecuador) Bolívar Guaranda 3,254 km² 205,100 63.0 inhabitants / km²
Cañar ProvinceCañar Province Cañar Azogues 3,142 km² 267,600 85.1 inhabitants / km²
Carchi ProvinceCarchi Province Carchi Tulcán 3,908 km² 182,700 46.8 inhabitants / km²
Cotopaxi ProvinceCotopaxi Province Cotopaxi Latacunga 6,569 km² 470.200 71.6 inhabitants / km²
Chimborazo ProvinceChimborazo Province Chimborazo Riobamba 5,287 km² 510,900 96.6 inhabitants / km²
Imbabura ProvinceImbabura Province Imbabura Ibarra 4,599 km² 457,700 99.5 inhabitants / km²
Loja ProvinceLoja Province Loja Loja 11,027 km² 506,000 45.9 inhabitants / km²
Pichincha ProvincePichincha Province Pichincha Quito 9,494 km² 3,060,000 322.3 inhabitants / km²
Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas provinceSanto Domingo de los Tsáchilas province Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas Santo Domingo de los Colorados 3,857 km² 434,800 112.7 inhabitants / km²
Tungurahua ProvinceTungurahua Province Tungurahua Ambato 3,334 km² 570,900 171.2 inhabitants / km²

Coast (costa)

province Capital surface Residents 2017 Population per km²
El Oro ProvinceEl Oro Province El Oro Machala 5,988 km² 689,800 115.2 inhabitants / km²
Esmeraldas ProvinceEsmeraldas Province Esmeraldas Esmeraldas 15,216 km² 617,900 40.6 inhabitants / km²
Guayas ProvinceGuayas Province Guayas Guayaquil 17,139 km² 4,207,600 245.5 inhabitants / km²
Los Ríos ProvinceLos Ríos Province Los Rios Babahoyo 6,254 km² 888,400 142.1 inhabitants / km²
Manabí ProvinceManabí Province Manabí Portoviejo 18,400 km² 1,524,000 82.8 inhabitants / km²
Santa Elena ProvinceSanta Elena Province Santa Elena Santa Elena 3,763 km² 375,600 99.8 inhabitants / km²
GalapagosGalápagos Galápagos Puerto Baquerizo Moreno 8,010 km² 25,000 3.1 inhabitants / km²


Typical cityscape in the Sierra: Many houses are only partially plastered or have been in an unfinished condition for years

The two largest agglomerations in Ecuador by far are Guayaquil with a population of 3.3 million and the capital Quito with a population of 1.9 million. This means that 34 percent of the country's people are concentrated in both cities. Guayaquil is the traditional economic center of the country and has the largest port in Ecuador. Santo Domingo is the fastest growing city in the country. More than 60% of all Ecuadorians live in the 15 largest cities in the country.

Environment and nature protection

Tourist lodges in the rainforest protected areas are a billion dollar business. The nature tourism can protect large areas from destruction, but also has a number of deleterious "side effects" for the ecology

As a country with large areas of tropical rainforest , criss-crossed by the two globally significant biodiversity hotspots Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena and Tropical Andes - which is located in the second most species-rich megadiversity center on earth - and with one of the highest deforestation rates, Ecuador is in the focus of global environmental protection interests. Although the political will to protect the biosphere is clearly evident, like most developing countries, there is a lack of financial resources and effective methods to effectively implement such goals. Therefore, in the past, economic interests were usually given priority when there were conflicts between nature conservation and economic use.

Among other things, the oil spill occurred in the northern Amazon lowlands of Ecuador , as the Texaco oil company (now Chevron Corporation ) in particular did not take adequate precautions to protect the environment and was largely unmolested by government agencies. There was considerable contamination of the soil and water, which to this day has had serious consequences for the environment and the health of the local population.

Since 2007, the Ecuadorian government has made headlines with the proposal to forego oil production in the important Yasuní National Park (Amazon lowlands) if it receives half of the expected profit from the community of states for forest protection. The proposal became known as the Yasuní-ITT Initiative . In 2008, the state forest protection program "Programa Socio Bosque" (PSB) was launched with foresight : Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian communities as well as private forest owners who commit to long-term forest protection are paid by the state and thus offer them an alternative to illegal wood use . There is great demand for the contracts currently to be concluded for a period of 20 years. Several countries (including Germany) had originally signaled their approval. Dirk Niebel , Development Aid Minister from 2009 to 2013, however, withdrew the commitment and ignored any appeal on the subject.

The appeal to the global community began to show its first successes in 2010: some industrialized countries had agreed to provide the country with money for the protection of forests as part of the climate protection instrument REDD + . There are strict conditions attached to this, but Ecuador was willing to meet them. In 2011 it was already possible to protect 600,000 hectares of forest with PSB funds, but the need is around 4 million hectares.

Despite global support from environmentalists and human rights activists, President Rafael Correa had to declare the initiative to have failed in 2013 because not even a fraction of the compensation amount was raised. In the following year, parliament decided to approve oil production. At the beginning of October 2013, Parliament approved the government proposal with 108 votes against 25 to allow oil drilling subject to conditions.

Since 2000, Ecuador has been exploiting mineral resources in the southeastern rainforest province of Morona-Santiago, in which, despite the huge areas of primary rainforests that are worthy of protection, there are no major protected areas to date. The interference with nature provoked resistance from indigenous peoples, especially the Shuar resistance movement , which escalated in 2016. The government did not respond to the attempts at clarification by the indigenous umbrella organization CONFENIAE and the environmental organization Acción Ecológica . The conflict has not yet been resolved; further large-scale interventions in the natural balance are to be feared.

Flora and fauna

The second highest megadiversity on earth can be found in the cloud forests of the Andean eastern slopes of Ecuador
Bone head-frog from the family of tree frogs : Ecuador is ranked three of the world's amphibians -Vielfalt
Marine iguanas on the Galapagos: Ecuador is home to a large number of endemic species, especially on the Galápagos , that are not found anywhere else

Ecuador is considered to be the most biodiverse country on earth. In relation to the size of the country, there are an above-average number of species. The reasons for this are the geological conditions and the ocean currents. The Andes divide the country into different fauna zones. Together with Colombia, Ecuador is the only country in South America that also has tropical rainforests on the Pacific coast, the Pacific forests belong to the fauna region of the Chocò, the center of which is in Colombia. Plants and animals in the Chocò differ fundamentally from those in the Amazon region. The large Central American or Bairds tapir (up to 300 kg) can only be found on the Pacific side of the Andes. Otherwise, the fauna and flora in the Chocò are more related to Central America than to the Amazon. With the snakes z. B. the prehensile lance viper ( Bothriechis schlegelii ) only on the Pacific side. Above the forests there is a special zone in the mountains called Páramo. Their characteristic plants are giant ragwort (Espeletia), which are locally called "Frailejones". This plant has a palm-like habit and can reach heights of up to 4 meters. In Páramo it can snow and at night the temperatures always fall below zero degrees, in warm weather the temperatures rise to 15 degrees during the day. It is home to the rare mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque), whose world population is said to have fallen below 1000 individuals; it is therefore rarer than the Chinese panda bear. The mountain tapir is the "flagship" of nature conservation in continental Ecuador. There are also condors, pumas and spectacled bears. Around 100 specimens of the condor, the second largest flightable bird on earth after the albatross, are said to still live in Ecuador. Thorn bush and dry vegetation can be found in the deep Andean valleys and in southern coastal provinces. Typical animals in these zones are coati, ocelot and deer. The fauna and flora in the Oriente, the Amazonian part of Ecuador, does not differ fundamentally from the living beings in the primeval forests of Peru and Brazil. The lowland tapir is the third type of tapir there. There are believed to be 100 jaguars left, and freshwater dolphins can be found in the rivers. The rare giant armadillo is hunted by the indigenous jungle inhabitants, but their main prey is the larger monkeys such as howler and spider monkeys.

The fauna of the Galapagos Islands, on the other hand, is poor in species (a typical island phenomenon), but extremely rich in species that only occur there . In contrast, the individual numbers of the few species are high. Marine iguanas, land iguanas and giant tortoises can be found on some islands in populous populations.

Biosphere reserves

The UNESCO has four areas of Ecuador to biosphere reserves declared:

National parks

There are twelve national parks in Ecuador:

Other protected areas

The accesses to the numerous waterfalls in the country often belong to private individuals who earn their money with them (here: Pailón del Diablo )

Coastal region

  • Reserva ecológica Cayapas - Mataje
  • Reserva ecológica Mache - Chindul
  • Reserva ecológica Manglares - Churute

Mountain region

  • Reserva ecológica Antisana
  • Reserva ecológica de El Angel
  • Reserva Biológica El Cóndor
  • Reserva ecológica Cotacachi Cayapas
  • Reserva ecológica Cayambe - Coca
  • Refugio del Chimborazo
  • Reserva ecológica Ilinizas
  • Reserva ecológica Mindo-Nambillo
  • Refugio Silvestre Pasochoa
  • Reserva Geobotánica Pululahua
  • Bosque Petrificado de Puyango

Amazon region


Population pyramid Ecuador 2016

Ecuador has 17.4 million inhabitants in 2019 and is one of the medium-sized countries in South America. Around 30% of the population is under 15 years of age and only around 7% over 65. The median is 26.3 years (45.7 in Germany). The life expectancy for women is 78 years, that for men 73 years and thus three years below that of Germany. The working population is a good four million people.

The fertility rate was seven children per woman in 1969 and dropped to 2.2 by 2016.

The average population density is 54.4 people per km², making Ecuador the highest population density in South America - more than Colombia, twice as much as Peru and six times as much as Bolivia. However, the unequal distribution and the strong urbanization make this information relatively meaningless: In the Orient, the population density is only 4 inhabitants per km². Population growth has declined from around three percent a year - one of the highest rates in Latin America - to 1.5 percent over the past few decades, still one of the highest rates in South America.

Since the middle of the 20th century, the migration from Sierra to Costa, which has continued since the 1880s, has been overshadowed by a second phenomenon: migration from rural areas to urban centers . The proportion of the population in the Sierra provinces of the total population has decreased from 58% to 38% since 1950, while the proportion of the population in Pichincha (whose capital is Quito) rose from 12% to 17%. The population share of the Costa provinces rose from 40% to 51%, but the increase was solely due to Guayas (with Guayaquil), whose share jumped from 18% to 31%; the other Costa provinces lost relatively in population. Despite rapid urbanization, Ecuador's urbanization is one of the lowest in South America at 61%, only Paraguay and Guiana are less urbanized.

Population development

Population development in millions of inhabitants
year population
1950 3,470,000
1960 4,546,000
1970 6,073,000
1980 7,976,000
1990 10,218,000
2000 12,629,000
2010 14,935,000
2018 16,863,000

Source: UN

Ethnic composition

The Andean Quechua culture is particularly evident in local markets
Achuar with cerbatana ( Amazonia )
9 de Octubre Avenue, Guayaquil
Flower market, Cuenca

The population groups in Ecuador are very diverse, but it is difficult to say how big they are. As in the other Andean countries, the proportion of the indigenous population is very high. This can be explained on the one hand by the dense settlement by indigenous populations under the rule of the Inca . On the other hand, only Spaniards immigrated to Ecuador, but hardly any other Europeans - unlike in Argentina , Uruguay , Brazil or Chile, for example .

The categories used “indigenous population”, “mestizos” and “population of European origin” can hardly be statistically delimited, since the statistics are based on the self-identification of the respondents. The boundaries between indigenous people and mestizos , i.e. common descendants of indigenous people from Europe , are fluid, as cultural identification often plays just as important a role as biological ancestry. The same applies to the demarcation of the mestizo from the population of European descent.

According to the 2010 census, 7.0% of the population are indigenous (the majority belong to the Kichwa groups of the Andes and the Orient), 71.9% are mestizo , 6.1% are of European descent, 7.2% are Afro-Ecuadorians and 7, 4% Montubios (coastal people of mixed ethnicity). According to the indigenous organization CONAIE , the proportion of indigenous people is up to 50%. Others estimate the proportion of the indigenous population at 40%, that of the mestizos at another 40%, that of people of European descent at 10–15% and that of Afro-Ecuadorians at 5–10%.

A 2019 genetic study found 59.6% indigenous, 28.8% European and 11.6% African genes.

There are at least three groups in voluntary isolation in Yasuní National Park . They are called Tagaeri-Taromenane and culturally and linguistically belong to the Waorani .

A large community with a Lebanese migrant background lives in Ecuador , which has resulted from immigration especially since the 1920s. The country already had two presidents of Lebanese descent, Abdalá Bucaram and Jamil Mahuad .

In 2017, 2.4% of the population were foreigners. The largest groups were people from Colombia (200,000), the United States (30,000), Peru, and Chile (10,000 each). Many US and Canadian retirees choose Ecuador as their retirement home due to its pleasant climate and low cost of living. Ecuador is still a country of emigration, but the proportion of migrants has doubled since 2000 and has increased further in recent years with around 800,000 refugees from Venezuela .


In addition to the official language Spanish, the second official language Kichwa (also Quichua ) is of great importance with around two million speakers, especially in the Sierra. Kichwa is a group of regional dialects of Quechua , the lingua franca of the Incas , which they introduced after the conquest of the region in the 15th century. In addition, some local indigenous languages ​​and dialects are spoken in the northern Costa and in the Orient. Of these, Shuar, spoken in the southern Orient, is the most widespread with around 100,000 speakers. Some Barbacoa languages are also spoken, but no other indigenous language reaches 5000 speakers. A total of 23 different languages ​​and idioms are spoken in Ecuador.


72.3% of the population indicates Roman Catholic as a religious denomination. There is also a Protestant minority. Traditional Indian religions have also been preserved among parts of the indigenous population . The predominance of the Roman Catholic Church in Ecuador as a state church was abolished by the Religion Act of 1907, and since then all religions have been legally equal. Relations between the Church and the State are governed by the Modus Vivendi of 1937.


Although remote indigenous villages (here: primary school students of the Shuar ) have schools, the educational opportunities for the Indians are significantly worse than for the other Ecuadorians

It is common for children of the appropriate age to attend elementary school. However, for many children there is no further schooling. There are state and private schools. In the last three school years, students have to choose a branch of education. The usual branches are math, physics, chemistry, and accounting. Child labor is widespread. Government spending on education makes up only a small fraction of gross national income . Ecuador has numerous universities , and every major city usually has one. In 2015, 94.5% of the adult population could read and write.


Life expectancy in Ecuador is around 75.7 years from 2010 to 2015 (men: 72.8 years, women: 78.4 years). A significant part of the population has no access to clean water . There are 686 malaria cases per 100,000 population in Ecuador .

Like all countries in northern South America, Ecuador is also affected by the spread of the Zika virus - albeit to a far lesser extent than Brazil or Colombia, for example. At the end of March 2016, there were officially 84 registered cases - mainly in the lower-lying regions of the country.

Development of life expectancy over time
Period Life expectancy in
Period Life expectancy in
1950-1955 48.7 1985-1990 67.6
1955-1960 51.6 1990-1995 70.2
1960-1965 54.8 1995-2000 72.1
1965-1970 56.8 2000-2005 73.6
1970-1975 58.9 2005-2010 74.6
1975-1980 61.7 2010-2015 75.6
1980-1985 64.6

For the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, see the main article COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador .


Inca ruins in Ingapirca

Several indigenous cultures existed in the area of ​​Ecuador before colonization . It was not until the end of the 15th century that the Inca conquered the entire country, but were again subjugated by the Spaniards at the beginning of the 16th century . During the colonial era, the Real Audiencia de Quito occupied what is now Ecuador. The country fought for independence from Spain under Simón Bolívar and Antonio José de Sucre in 1821 and belonged to Greater Colombia until 1830 . His further independent historical path was marked by high political and territorial instability. The incessant succession of numerous coups and coups continues to this day. In the 19th century there were repeated short episodes of civil war , a development that could be interrupted for a few years after the middle of the century during the time of the government of Gabriel García Moreno . In the backlash at the end of the century, Eloy Alfaro succeeded in establishing the first radical liberal government.


Political indices
Name of the index Index value Worldwide rank Interpretation aid year
Fragile States Index 69.4 out of 120 89 of 178 Stability of the country: Warning
0 = very sustainable / 120 = very alarming
Democracy index 6.13 out of 10 69 of 167 Incomplete democracy
0 = authoritarian regime / 10 = complete democracy
Freedom in the World Index 65 of 100 --- Freedom status: partially free
0 = not free / 100 = free
Freedom of the press ranking 32.62 out of 100 98 of 180 Recognizable problems for the freedom of the press
0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 39 of 100 92 of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

Political system

Presidential Palace in Quito

Ecuador is a presidential republic with representative democracy and a multi-party system. The President and Parliament, the Asamblea Nacional ('National Assembly') with 100 seats, are directly elected on the same day. The president is the head of state and government and thus the head of the executive . The legislature is exercised jointly by the government and the National Assembly. The constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary from the other two areas of state power.

In the constitution of 1929, women were declared citizens, thereby introducing the right to vote for women . Ecuador was the first Latin American country to grant women limited voting rights, but it wasn't until 1946 that all women were allowed to vote. Between March 3, 1929 and 1967, however, it was compulsory for men to vote; for women, participation in the election was voluntary; From 1967 there was compulsory voting for all and the conditions were the same for both sexes for the first time. For both sexes, the prerequisite was that one had to be able to read and write in order to exercise the right to vote. In 1925, an Ecuadorian woman voted for the first time, becoming the continent's first female voter, Matilde Hidalgo .

The political system of Ecuador is centralized, as political power lies mainly with the president and thus in the capital Quito, although decentralization efforts have been made in recent years. The state system is tailored to the president, who appoints a governor for each province and, at the next level, a “political head” for each Ecuadorian canton . The population of the provinces themselves elect a prefect who is primarily responsible for infrastructure measures in rural areas and has roughly the functions of a higher-ranking mayor there, as well as provincial and cantonal parliaments. Mayors are elected in cities. In the course of decentralization, parroquiales (municipal councils) have been introduced, which are also regularly elected and participate in political decisions at the lowest level in cities and in rural areas. In addition to the local councils, there are neighborhood representatives.

Domestic politics

The long-time president until 2017, Rafael Correa

In practice, the political power structure at the national level shows clear elements of a concordance democracy : political power in the country has to be constantly balanced between the two major regions of the Costa and Sierra with their centers of Guayaquil and Quito. In presidential elections, all parties that think they have a chance of winning the election nominate a team of presidential and vice-presidential candidates, one from one region and one from the other. The influence of the political parties is also largely limited to one region each: the Christian-social Partido Social Cristiano (PSC) and the populist Partido Roldosista Ecuatoriano (PRE) are the dominant parties in the coastal region. In the Andean region, the social democratic Izquierda Democrática (ID) and Pachakutik , the political movement of the Indian organization CONAIE, dominated. After the elections in 2006 , two parties that were only founded in 2002, the PRIAN of the wealthy entrepreneur Álvaro Noboa and the Partido Sociedad Patriótica of President Lucio Gutiérrez, who was ousted in 2005, formed the strongest political blocs in the National Congress.

The “classic” parties PSC, PRE, ID were, like the two emerging ones, strongly centered on their respective ex-presidents León Febres Cordero , Abdalá Bucaram and Rodrigo Borja or Noboa and Lucio Gutiérrez . A special case in the Ecuadorian party structure is Pachakutik , which is elected primarily in the rural provinces with a high proportion of indigenous populations and strives to reduce the power and decision-making volume of individuals in the party in the interests of the organization of indigenous village communities in favor of the general public. In addition to the parties mentioned, there are a large number of other political associations as well as the movement of the President from 2006 to 2017, Rafael Correa, of Movimiento PAÍS, which was only formed in 2006 .

Political life at the national level is marked by severe instability, stable coalitions are seldom formed in the National Congress, and laws are often passed after extensive negotiations between individual ruling and opposition parties. The parties and parliaments in Ecuador enjoy a relatively low reputation due to the often necessary concessions and constant negotiations between the parties and individual MPs, as “package solutions” are often found on suspicion of individual enrichment and public defamation.

In 2003, the right to vote had also led to ex-President Lucio Gutiérrez being elected to office for a party that was newly founded and had neither experience in parliamentary work nor significant representation in parliament, which further destabilized political life and ultimately led to Gutiérrez 'Contributed to the fall just two years later. His successor, the former Vice President Alfredo Palacio , did not have a solid parliamentary majority of his own. His successor, President Rafael Correa , who was elected in November 2006 , even won the elections without his political movement PAÍS having nominated him as a candidate in the parliamentary elections.

The Ecuadorian military also has an influence on politics that should not be underestimated, on the one hand through the presence of former military personnel in leadership positions, on the other hand through the fact that it can withdraw support from the ruling president in protests and uprisings, as in the cases of the overthrown Jamil Mahuad (2000) and Lucio Gutiérrez (2005).


On April 15, 2007, the Ecuadorian voters decided in a referendum with 81.7% of the vote that a new constituent assembly should be called. In the elections to the Constituent Assembly on September 30, 2007, a quota law was applied for the first time in the history of the country , according to which male and female candidates must always alternate on the list. According to the official final result, PAÍS, President Correa's list, won the overwhelming majority of 80 of the 130 seats, which were the next largest parties after seats were PSP (19), PRIAN (8) and PSC (5). The Constituent Assembly of Ecuador 2007/08 began its work on November 30, 2007 and declared an indefinite break for the National Congress on the first day of its session. In July 2008 the draft text was adopted with 94:36 votes by the constituent assembly and on September 28, 2008 in a referendum by around 63% of the electorate. On October 20, 2008, the new constitution came into force. It is already the 20th in the country's 178-year history.

The new constitution contains essential constitutional innovations. It refers to the principles of Pachamama (“mother earth”) and Sumak kawsay (“good life”, Spanish “buen vivir”), which are based on indigenous culture . The economic form should be committed to social and solidarity (previously: social and market economy ) as well as sustainable development . The new constitution stipulates basic social rights to food , health and education as well as state sovereignty over “strategic resources”. In addition to the traditional separation of powers , it envisages citizens' councils as the “fourth power” in the state. As a constitutional novelty, nature is defined as a legal subject . In addition, indigenous cultures are being recognized more and the principle of gender equality is being expanded.

The first presidential, parliamentary and regional elections based on the new constitution took place in April and June 2009, and Rafael Correa was confirmed in office with 51.99% of the votes in the first ballot. His party Movimiento PAÍS reached 59 of the 124 seats in what is now called the National Assembly, which began a new legislative period on July 31, 2009. In coalition with other parties, the Correa government was able to rely on a solid majority. In the runoff election in the second ballot in 2017, the preferred candidate Correas, Lenín Moreno, was able to assert himself extremely tightly against the opposition. Otto Sonnenholzner has been Vice President since December 2018.


“Jungle giant” in the rainforest: Limited (and mostly illegally exploited) resource of tropical wood and sustainable resource as a tourist attraction

In terms of GDP per capita, Ecuador is the fourth poorest country in South America in terms of purchasing power parity , after Guyana, Bolivia and Paraguay. It is 11,200  US dollars , the Bolivian $ 7,200, which the neighbors Peru and Colombia 12,900 $ and $ 14,100. For comparison: the GDP per inhabitant according to purchasing power parity of Germany is $ 48,400 (as of 2016). The country's economy is heavily dependent on oil production , which accounts for almost 60% of exports . Since 2000, Ecuador no longer has its own currency , but the US dollar is the official currency. Another peculiarity of the national economy of the Andean country are its numerous labor emigrants. About a fifth of Ecuadorians live abroad, especially in the US and Spain .

In recent years, the economy of Ecuador has been booming thanks to the country's oil reserves and there has been progress in the fight against poverty. In 2016, however, Ecuador experienced a recession due to the low oil price and a slowdown in the economy in the whole of South America.

In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Ecuador ranks 97th out of 137 countries (2017-2018). In 2017, the country ranks 160th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

Social situation

All over the country, quite a few people hire themselves out as street vendors for all kinds of goods. They stand in front of toll stations (here near Quito), at transfer stops and get on long-distance buses to offer their goods

As in most Latin American countries, economic inequality is very large: while the top 20% earn around 58% of national income, the bottom 40% only receive 13%.

According to the World Health Organization , life expectancy for men at 75 years is in the South American midfield (Bolivia is at the bottom with 67.7 years, Chile at the top with 78.8). The same applies to infant mortality (below 1) and child mortality (below 5) with 23 per thousand and 25 per thousand respectively - however, the gap between Bolivia (52/65) and Chile (8/10) is greater. 15% of the population live on less than a dollar a day - after Bolivia and Paraguay the highest value on the subcontinent. In contrast, Ecuador is only surpassed by Uruguay in terms of access to clean drinking water (89% in rural areas) and sanitary facilities (82%) . One possible explanation is the high population density combined with low urbanization , which makes development more urgent and cheaper at the same time (see the geography of Ecuador ).

With 5.5% health expenditure in relation to GDP , Ecuador is in the lower midfield: Peru is at the bottom with 4.1%, Argentina 9.6% - but Chile only 6.1%. With 12 deaths per year per 100,000 people, HIV / AIDS does not play a major role in Ecuador, as in most countries in South America - the sad exceptions here are Guyana and Surinam with more than 150 deaths per 100,000. In some countries in Sub- Saharan Africa this number is in the four-digit range (in Germany it is “under 10”). Surprisingly, according to WHO data, Ecuador has the second lowest rate of underage pregnancies after Chile with 5.6% - but this may also be due to outdated data. The neighboring country of Colombia leads the way with 9.2%. The economic underdevelopment can also be seen in the fact that only 4.2% of Ecuadorians use the Internet (only in Paraguay and Bolivia there are fewer) and that there are only 11 landline telephone connections per 100 inhabitants - less than half as many as in Chile, Argentina or Brazil (although the high population density should help here again). Significant progress has been made in expanding the telecommunications infrastructure under the Correa government. In 2016, 43.1% of the population used the internet. On December 15, 2008, the country defaulted on foreign loans when it failed to pay interest on a bond issued in 2000 and maturing in 2012. President Correa justified this move by saying that the loans taken out by previous governments were "illegitimate and the creditors ... immoral".

Economic data

Economic data of Ecuador 1980–2016

Years 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
GDP growth pc 1.0 0.6 −5.5 1.5 1.8 0.6 −8.5 8.1 −2.1 0.7 2.8 1.3 −0.2 2.5 −0.4 0.3 2.1 0.1 −8.2
(consumer prices)
13th 16 16 48 31 28 23 30th 58 76 49 49 54 45 27 23 24 31 36 52
Current account
as% of GDP
−4 −7 −8 −1 −2 1 −5 −10 −5 −6 −4 −6 −2 −4 −4 −4 −1 −3 −9 5
Years 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
GDP growth pc 0.9 9.2 0.1 2.2 6.5 3.3 3.0 1.8 6.4 0.6 3.5 7.9 5.6 4.9 3.9 0.2 −1.5
(consumer prices)
96 18th 13th 8th 3 2 3 3 8th 5 4th 4th 5 3 4th 4th 2
Current account
as% of GDP
5 −3 −5 −1 −1 0 4th 4th 0 −3 −1 0 −1 −4 −5 −5 −8

The worst economic crises in recent history are easy to read from the historical economic data. 1983 saw the debt crisis in Latin America for negative growth, 1986-87, the collapse of OPEC - the cartel and the subsequent fall of the oil price . 1999–2000 was followed by a severe banking and currency crisis. One consequence of the permanent economic crises is that per capita income in 2000 was below the 1980 level. The share of Ecuador in world economic output has fallen from 1.1 ‰ to 0.9 ‰ since 1980. The high rates of inflation, especially between the debt crisis and dollarization, are also striking. The only years with a clearly positive current account are the crisis years 1999–2000, when the Sucre was massively devalued, and the last two years with their high oil prices and the completion of a second transandine pipeline .

From the year 2000, the country's economy experienced a sustained upswing, driven by the country's robust raw material exports.

Monetary Policy and Currency Reform

20,000 sucre banknote
The largest sucre note ever printed, worth just two dollars at the end of 1999

After several economic shocks (war with Peru in 1995, El Niño in 1997, the Russian and Asian crisis in 1997/98) and a historic low in the oil price , the country's foreign debt in 1998 amounted to 13 billion dollars. In 1998 a banking and currency crisis developed in Ecuador . Several banks went bankrupt , the central bank increased the money supply to support the banking system, whereupon the Ecuadorian sucre devalued sharply. Through foreign exchange market interventions - which could only slow the devaluation slightly - the central bank lost noticeably its foreign exchange reserves . For two years, Ecuador sank into economic chaos. The inflation in 1999 was more than 60% in 2000 and nearly 100%. The sucre continued to depreciate - 30% in 1998 and again 67% the following year. The Ecuadorian state lost access to the international credit market and domestic bank accounts were frozen to support the banking system. The central bank had lost control of all monetary policy parameters - inflation, the exchange rate and the money supply. It is said that around 200,000 Ecuadorians emigrated between 1998 and 2000 alone. The Economist described the country as "the most unstable in Latin America" ​​in 2000. In fact, the US dollar had long since become the most important means of payment.

Sucre dollar exchange rate 1985-2000

On January 9, 2000, President Jamil Mahuad announced that he would abolish the Ecuadorian currency sucre and introduce the US dollar as the country's official currency. 22 days later, under pressure from the military and indigenous associations such as the CONAIE , not least because of this decision, he was overthrown and replaced by his deputy Gustavo Noboa . However, the decision to dollarize Ecuador was retained.

Dollarization - the adoption of a foreign currency as an official means of payment - means the end of any monetary policy , that is, the money supply and thus the interest rate can no longer be controlled by politicians or the National Bank. Fiscal policy remains the only macroeconomic policy . In addition, the country is losing the seigniorage from issuing cash. Furthermore, there is no devaluation as a possible reaction to exogenous shocks. In return, the country receives a stable currency and the black market with parallel exchange rates for the domestic currency is eliminated.

The relevant international organizations, the International Monetary Fund , the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank , advocated dollarization, as a result of which inflation also stabilized significantly (5.7% 2002-06 and 2.6% in July 2007) and the banking system recovered . The reason for the latter is, not least, a moderately growing economy due to the high oil price and higher remittances from Ecuadorians living abroad, who are now the country's most important source of foreign currency after oil. However, due to the higher inflation compared to the USA, the real exchange rate rose in recent years to the level of the 1990s after it had depreciated sharply in 1998–2000. Overall, inflation seems to be slowly adjusting to international levels.

labour market

Around two to three million Ecuadorians live as migrant workers abroad, more than half as much as the working population in Ecuador. The main destinations are the USA , Spain , Italy , the Benelux countries, Great Britain , Canada , Chile and Switzerland . About 800,000 Ecuadorians live in Spain and in Spanish schools Ecuadorians are the largest minority , ahead of Moroccans . In the US state of New York , 600,000 Ecuadorians make up the largest Latin American population.


According to a large study by USAid , there are around 700,000 micro-enterprises in Ecuador that employ more than a million people (other estimates are 950,000 to 1.7 million people). More than a third of all urban lower and middle class families run a micro-enterprise. Overall, the sector generates more than a quarter of Ecuador's GDP. Only a quarter of the companies are registered (have an RUC) and only 15% are enrolled in the social security system. Women are clearly overrepresented in this informal sector. 55% of micro-enterprises are active in trade, 26% in services and 19% in production. Half of all retailers sell food and beverages. Female micro-entrepreneurs in the service sector have restaurants (68%) or hairdressing salons (17%), men run bus or taxi companies (35%), car repair shops (17%) or restaurants (17%). Women in production mostly manufacture textiles (52%), men furniture (24%).

Unlike in numerous other countries, Ecuador's micro-entrepreneurs sell almost exclusively to end customers, with only 0.2% of micro-entrepreneurs producing for export. This implies less elastic demand and rapid market saturation.

Petroleum sector

Pipeline near Lago Agrio

In 1967, a US consortium found oil in the Orient. Since a pipeline to the Pacific was completed five years later, Ecuador has been an important oil producer. Ecuador produces 509,000 barrels of oil a day (25 million tons per year). It produces around 0.6% of world production and is 30th worldwide and fourth in South America after Venezuela , Brazil and Argentina. Ecuador consumes around 160,000 barrels a day, exporting almost 70% of its production. The secured reserves amount to 4.5 billion barrels, the theoretical production range thus about 25 years. In terms of reserves, Ecuador ranks 25th in the world and third in South America (ahead of Argentina). Ecuador was a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries until January 2020 .

The oil is transported to the Pacific via two pipeline systems that are a total of 3,346 km long. The first pipeline ( Sistema de Oleoductos Trans-ecuatoriano de Petroecuador , SOTE) was inaugurated in 1972 and ends at the Puerto Balao oil port near Esmeraldas. It runs from Nueva Loja over the Paso de Papallacta past Quito to Esmeraldas and has a capacity of 400,000  bpd . In 1987 the pipeline was out of service for more than six months due to an earthquake damage. The second major pipeline, Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados (OCP), was inaugurated in 2003. The OCP was co-financed by WestLB and has been criticized by environmentalists. It also runs from Nueva Loja to Esmeraldas, but not all of the time parallel to the SOTE. The capacity of the OCP is 450,000 bpd, the total length is 503 km. In addition, the Oleoducto Transandino de Colombia (or TransAndino), which brings the oil to the Pacific via Tumaco , is used on a smaller scale .

In May 2006 the Ecuadorian government unilaterally terminated the production contracts with the US company Occidental Petroleum , which had the largest production share in the national deposits and was also the largest foreign investor in Ecuador. The fields are transferred to the state-owned extraction company Petroecuador .

The oil production in Ecuador also leads to increasing environmental pollution through oil leaking from defective pipelines and other lines. Numerous human rights violations against the indigenous people are also reported in connection with oil production. In 2005, secret contracts of most oil companies with the Ecuadorian army became known, in which they committed themselves to a protective function for the private companies and to arrest indigenous Amazonas inhabitants in the vicinity of the production facilities.

Recently proposed models have been discussed, the large oil deposits under the species-rich rainforest of the Yasuní National Park - approx. 900 million barrels of oil - against a compensation payment from the community of states amounting to half of the expected income - approx. 3.5 billion US dollars - to be left in the ground so that flora and fauna can remain intact. The money, managed by a trust fund, is to be invested in climate protection and renewable energies.

Flower production

Cut flowers for export have been grown on a large scale in Ecuador since the late 1980s . Today Ecuador is the fourth largest exporter in the world after the Netherlands , Colombia and Kenya . After oil, bananas, fishery products, metal goods and shrimp, flowers are Ecuador's sixth most important export. Since a flower industry emerged in Colombia in the late 1960s, the world market for flowers is now largely globalized . Cut flowers are exported to more than 60 countries. After the export share of cut flowers was already 6% in 2002 and flowers ranked third in exports after oil and bananas, it has now fallen back to 3%. In 2006, 114,000 tons of flowers were exported for $ 400 million. By far the most important production share is made up of roses , which make up around three quarters of all exports. 70% of all exports go to the USA - there 70% of all cut flowers come from South America, almost half of them from Ecuador, the rest almost exclusively from Colombia. Ecuador is also the most important supplier of flowers for Russia, where the exceptionally long-stemmed roses are particularly valued, Japan and numerous countries in the Middle East, but not for Europe. The export takes place exclusively by plane via Quito Airport .

Flower production in Ecuador is based on the favorable production factors of land, water and labor, but above all on the perfect combination of the equatorial sun and the special climate of the Andean highlands for flower cultivation, as well as the diverse topography , which allows perfectly coordinated conditions for each type of flower. The main cultivation areas are the north of the Pichincha province around the city of Cayambe and the provinces of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Chimborazo. Production is very labor, capital and technology intensive. The flowers are produced in foil greenhouses with sometimes complex irrigation systems and a lot of pesticides , artificial fertilizers and fungicides . Around 10 workers are required per hectare of cultivated land. The flowers are grown by around 400 Ecuadorian hacendados or international companies, many of them from Colombia. A typical plantation has about 25–50 hectares and 250–500 workers.

The working conditions in some of the plantations are still poor, the exposure to chemicals is extremely high and the working hours are long and flexible. Unions are not allowed. Payment according to a piecework system results in extremely unsolid working conditions. Child labor, on the other hand, is hardly to be found.

Foreign trade

The export of Ecuador is mainly based on oil . In 2006, goods worth a total of US $ 12.7 billion ( FOB ) were exported. Of this, $ 6.6 billion was crude oil, $ 1.2 billion bananas , $ 0.7 billion fishery products, $ 0.6 billion petroleum derivatives, $ 0.6 billion shrimp , $ 0.6 billion metals and Machines, $ 0.4 billion cut flowers, $ 0.2 billion cocoa, and $ 0.1 billion coffee . The oil sector thus accounts for 59% of all exports. Of the traditional exports, bananas, cocoa and coffee, only the first still play an important role. Non-traditional exports such as metal goods, shrimp and cut flowers have grown strongly since the 1980s, but are still largely insignificant in relation to oil revenues. The most important markets are the USA (54%), Peru (9%), Colombia (5%) and Chile (4%).

Since Ecuador does not have sufficient refining capacities, it has to introduce petroleum derivatives such as gasoline and diesel . In 2006, these accounted for almost a fifth of all imports . The most important suppliers are the USA (25%), Colombia (15%), Venezuela (8%) and Brazil (7%).

Ecuador experienced a period of radical trade liberalization between 1989 and 1994. Under President Rodrigo Borja , the average tariff was cut from over 40% to under 12%. The maximum rate of duty fell from 290% to 20% (only cars , especially used cars, were subject to higher customs duties). In addition, numerous non-tariff trade barriers have been removed, the sucre has been drastically devalued and foreign direct investment has been made easier. Under Borja's successor Sixto Durán Ballén , Ecuador joined the Andean Pact and the WTO .

Ecuador is a member of the International Cocoa Organization .


One of the most popular tourist spots in the Sierra is Baños de Agua Santa

In recent years tourism has also developed into an important industry, also because Ecuador is one of the countries with the highest biodiversity in the world. Ecuador also offers a variety of landscapes that are second to none. The Galapagos Islands , the Strait of the Volcanoes, Baños in the cloud forests of the Andean eastern slope and the tropical rainforests are mentioned. In Ecuador, travel offers to natural areas are generally referred to as ecotourism , even if the strict criteria for environmentally friendly travel are not met. In addition, the colonial center of the capital Quito was the first place ever to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site .

State budget

The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures of 34.9 billion US dollars , compared to income of 30.9 billion US dollars. This results in a budget deficit of 4.0% of GDP .
The national debt in 2016 was $ 28.6 billion, or 29.2% of GDP.

Share of government expenditure (in% of GDP) in the following areas:


The simple bridge of the pass road at Papallacta between Quito and Tena became unnecessary and, as in many places, is bypassed on developed roads
A new section of the Oriental urban highway in Quito (2007)

Historically, the two most important parts of the country, Costa and Sierra, were largely isolated from each other due to their difficult topography and very poor infrastructure. Even within the Sierra, trade and communication between the various basins were very difficult. At the beginning of the 20th century, Guayaquil was still being supplied with corn and potatoes from Peru and Colombia , and imported goods for Quito were delivered by porters and mules . In 1920, the 220-kilometer journey from Quito to the border town of Tulcán (on the Colombian border) took five days. It was not until 1908, during the tenure of President Eloy Alfaro, that the first railroad between the two centers was completed. While the railway lines from San Lorenzo in the north to Loja in the south and the branch line to Guayaquil were already completed at the beginning of the 20th century, there was and is still no rail connection to Peru, Colombia or the Orient. In 1998, El Niño severely damaged the most important route between Guayaquil and Quito, so that it could no longer be fully driven for 15 years. Of the entire 965-kilometer route network, only a few sections were still in operation for tourists. Under President Rafael Correa , the entire network was restored from 2009 and the railway, which had previously been organized under private law, was transferred to the public Ferrocarriles del Ecuador Empresa Publica (FEEP). After the lines were repaired in sections, operations on the main line starting from Guayaquil were resumed in January 2013.

As is customary in South America, long- distance passenger transport is largely handled by buses , but in contrast to the other countries mainly with daily rates, which makes a significant difference in terms of the travel experience (and perceived safety). The buses are the lifeblood of the country and also run regularly in the most remote parts of the country. They are also the only thing that has not increased in price since the introduction of the dollar as the national currency; per hour on the bus you can expect a fare of one dollar.

The modern road system was built in a first wave from the 1960s. The main roads are Tulcán – Macará (E35, Panamericana), Riobamba – Huaquillas (Panamericana), Guayaquil – Riobamba, Quito – Santo Domingo and Guayaquil – Santo Domingo – Esmeraldas. The old Guayaquil – Guaranda – Quito road is rarely used. In total, only 8,000 km of 43,000 kilometers of roads were paved after the first expansion. A gigantic road construction program has been running since around 2006, through which the proportion of paved roads is likely to have doubled or even tripled. In principle, this makes traveling by bus even cheaper, as the buses sometimes get to their destination twice as fast on newly built roads.

There are two international airports, the new one in the Tumbaco Valley near Quito (which replaced the old city ​​airport ) and one in Guayaquil. In addition to passenger transport, Quito Airport also plays a major role in the export of cut flowers. There are also a number of regional airports and countless landing strips across the country. The country's main airline is TAME .

Ecuador produces around 11 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Almost two thirds of this comes from hydropower plants , the rest from oil power plants. The estimated potential of hydropower is 100,000  megawatts (MW), 1720 MW are used. The most important power plants are the Amaluza dam on the Río Paute (hydropower, 1100 MW, around 60% of electricity production from hydropower), Daule Peripa (water, 210 MW), Zevallos (vap / gas, 175 MW) and Agoyán (water, 156 MW).

The oil export is carried out via two transandine pipelines . Shipping takes place in the province of Esmeraldas in the north. The main ports are in Guayaquil (overseas), Manta (fishing) and Machala (bananas).




Hernando de la Cruz: Inferno (1620). Oil on canvas, Jesuit Church in Quito

Hernando de la Cruz (1592–1646), a Panama- born Counter-Reformation artist , decorated various buildings in Quito. Eduardo Kingman depicted the rural life of the indigenous population in his work. The most important visual artist of the 20th century was Oswaldo Guayasamín .


Until November 28, 2007, the television landscape of Ecuador consisted without exception of private television stations, which are still by far the best known and most watched. The best-known national television broadcaster is Ecuavisa , which also maintains an international channel, which is mainly fed into cable networks in the USA.

Logo of Ecuador TV

On November 28, 2007, Ecuador TV , the country's first state television broadcaster, began broadcasting.

The largest newspapers in the country are El Universo in Guayaquil and El Comercio in Quito.

The country's 2013 media law is considered to be the most repressive in South America. It prohibits the publication of unverifiable information.


The logo of the Ecuadorian Football Association

The Ecuadorian men's national football team is the most important sporting representative of Ecuador. She was able to qualify for the World Championships in 2002 , 2006 and 2014 . In 2006 the team reached the round of 16.

The only Olympic champion in Ecuador so far is the walker Jefferson Pérez , who won the 20 km walk at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. According to the Ecuadorian version of the TV show Our Best , Pérez is the “second best” Ecuadorian of all time after ex-President Eloy Alfaro .

Since 2015, the BMX athlete Jonathan Camacho , who comes from General Villamil , has gained noticeably international fame due to his ongoing successes. Today he is counted among the world's best freestyle BMX riders. He will compete for his country at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. In 2019 Richard Carapaz won the overall ranking of the Giro d'Italia .

The country's best-known Serie A soccer teams are LDU Quito , the only Ecuadorian club to have won the Copa Libertadores , as well as CD El Nacional , Barcelona SC Guayaquil , CS Emelec and Deportivo Quito . The country's best-known players include Edison Méndez from Liga de Quito, Agustín Delgado from CS Emelec, Iván Kaviedes currently without a club , Cristian Benítez from Birmingham City and Antonio Valencia , who plays for Manchester United . In addition, Carlos Gruezo has also achieved a higher profile through his move to VfB Stuttgart.

public holidays

Official Holidays of Ecuador
date Spanish name German name
January 1st Año Nuevo New Year
February Carnaval carnival
March April Jueves Santo Maundy Thursday
March April Viernes Santo Good Friday
1st of May Día del Trabajo Labor Day
May 24th Batalla de Pichincha Battle of the Pichincha (1822)
24th July Nacimiento de Simon Bolivar Simon Bolivar is born
July 25th Fundación de Guayaquil Founding of Guayaquil
August 10 El primer grito de la Independencia "First proclamation of independence" (1808/09 in Quito)
9th October Independencia de Guayaquil Independence of Guayaquil
November 2 Día de los Difuntos All Souls
November 3rd Independencia de Cuenca Independence from Cuenca
6th of December Fundación Quito (Conquista) Spanish (new) foundation of Quito
25 December Navidad Christmas
December 31 Año viejo (Noche Vieja) New Year's Eve

See also

Portal: Ecuador  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the topic of Ecuador



  • Rafael Sevilla, Alberto Acosta (Ed.): Ecuador. World of diversity . Horlemann, Bad Honnef 2005, ISBN 3-89502-210-1 .
  • Carlos de la Torre, Steve Striffler (Eds.): The Ecuador Reader. Duke University, Durham 2008, ISBN 978-0-8223-9011-4 .
  • Ecuador . In: Merian . No. 1 . Jahreszeiten-Verlag, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8342-0801-9 .


Culture and literature

  • Klaus Semsch, Ecuador - land of diversity. A cultural tour, in: Hispanorama 141 (August 2013), Topic Ecuador, pp. 12–19.


  • George Lauderbaugh: The History of Ecuador. Greenwood, Santa Barbara (CA) 2012, ISBN 978-0-313-36250-7 .
  • Allen Gerlach: Indians, Oil, and Politics: A Recent History of Ecuador. Scholarly Resources, Wilmington 2003, ISBN 0-8420-5108-2 .
  • David W. Schodt: Ecuador: an Andean enigma . Westview Press, Boulder 1987, ISBN 0-8133-0230-7 .

Economy and Social

  • Larry Sawers: Nontraditional or New traditional Exports: Ecuador's Flower Boom . In: Latin American Research Review . tape 40 , no. 3 , October 2005 ( online [PDF]).
  • Ginger Thimpson: Behind Roses' Beauty, Poor and Ill Workers . In: New York Times . February 13, 2003 ( online ).
  • USAid (Ed.): Microempresas y Microfinanzas en Ecuador . March 2005 (Spanish, 164 pages).

Web links

Wiktionary: Ecuador  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Ecuador  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Ecuador  Travel Guide
Wikimedia Atlas: Ecuador  - geographical and historical maps

Individual evidence

  1. Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador from 2008 ( Memento of the original from January 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 507 kB). Article 2, paragraph 2. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. a b population, total. In: World Economic Outlook Database. World Bank , 2020, accessed January 31, 2021 .
  3. Population growth (annual%). In: World Economic Outlook Database. World Bank , 2020, accessed January 31, 2021 .
  4. ^ World Economic Outlook Database October 2020. In: World Economic Outlook Database. International Monetary Fund , 2020, accessed January 31, 2021 .
  5. Table: Human Development Index and its components . In: United Nations Development Program (ed.): Human Development Report 2020 . United Nations Development Program, New York 2020, ISBN 978-92-1126442-5 , pp. 344 (English, [PDF]).
  6. Ecuador. In: Bertelsmann Transformation Index . Bertelsmann Stiftung, accessed on July 13, 2020 .
  7. ^ Nelson Gómez E .: Nuevo Atlas del Ecuador . Edugquias, Quito 2004, ISBN 9978-89-009-2 , p. 28.
  8. M7.8 - 27km SSE of Muisne, Ecuador. In: USGS Earthquake Report. April 16, 2016, accessed April 17, 2016 .
  9. ↑ State of emergency: Hundreds of dead in earthquake in Ecuador . In: Spiegel Online . April 17, 2016 ( [accessed April 17, 2016]).
  10. a b c Ecuador: Provinces, Major Cities & Towns - Population Statistics in Maps and Charts. Retrieved November 24, 2017 .
  11. As of January 1, 2005
  12. ^ Forest Conservation and Development in the Intag Region, Ecuador . In:, accessed on September 17, 2014.
  13. Daniel Lingenhöhl: RAW MATERIALS. The next oil crises . In:, accessed on September 17, 2014.
  14. Philip Franz Fridolin Gondecki: We defend our forest. Dissertation at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Bonn , online version , University and State Library Bonn, published on January 22, 2015. P. 489, 704–719.
  15. Information brochure “Ready for REDD” - REDD activities of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ), as of August 2011 ( memento of March 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 3.1 MB).
  16. Amazon region: Ecuador allows oil drilling in the national park. In: Spiegel Online . August 16, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2018 .
  17. Ecuador: Parliament allows oil production in the national park ( memento from October 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) -, October 4, 2013
  18. Ecuador congress approves Yasuni basin oil drilling in Amazon ( Memento of October 14, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) -, October 5, 2013
  19. Jan Christoph Wiechmann: Poison arrows against a great power - an indigenous people in South America takes on China , Stern from January 10, 2019, online version , queried on April 1, 2019.
  20. a b Silvia Ribeiro: Ecuador's government against indigenous peoples and environmentalists , La Jornada / poonal, Mexico City, January 7, 2017, in [ Amnesty Ecuador, Artikelammlung2010 -2016], pp. 1-3.
  21. ^ National Parks and Reserves in Ecuador., accessed March 13, 2016 .
  22. ^ The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved August 3, 2017 .
  23. Kanako Ishida, Paul Stupp, Jose Ordoñéz Sotomayor: Stalled Decline in Fertility in Ecuador . In: International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health . tape 35 , December 2009, p. 203-206 , doi : 10.1363 / 3520309 .
  24. a b c d CIA World Factbook
  25. ^ A b World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved January 13, 2018 .
  26. .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  27. Censo revela aumento de población afro e indígena. El Universo, October 12, 2011, accessed September 22, 2018 (Spanish).
  28. see for example the statement by Blanca Chancoso, director of the school for the training of female leaders of the CONAIE in Actualidad Étnica from September 25, 2007 ( Memento from April 30, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (Spanish)
  29. David W. Schodt: Ecuador: an Andean enigma . Westview Press, Boulder 1987, ISBN 0-8133-0230-7 , pp. 3 .
  30. Zambrano, A., Gaviria, A., Cobos-Navarrete, S. et al. The three-hybrid genetic composition of an Ecuadorian population using AIMs-InDels compared with autosomes, mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome data. Sci Rep 9, 9247 (2019). [1] , accessed July 31, 2020
  31. KJA Wishnia: Twentieth-century Ecuadorian Narrative: New Readings in the context of the Americas. Bucknell University Press, Lewisburg (PA) 1999, ISBN 0-8387-5432-5 , pp. 86, 87.
  32. see Lois Roberts: The Lebanese In Ecuador: A History Of Emerging Leadership. Westview Press, Boulder (CO) 2000, ISBN 0-8133-3718-6 .
  33. Migration Report 2017. UN, accessed on September 30, 2018 (English).
  34. Origins and Destinations of the World's Migrants, 1990-2017 . In: Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project . February 28, 2018 ( [accessed September 30, 2018]).
  35. ^ The Issues. In: Education for Ecuador. Archived from the original on January 12, 2011 ; accessed on March 10, 2010 (English).
  36. ^ The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved July 18, 2017 .
  37. a b Ecuador., archived from the original on October 26, 2007 ; accessed on March 13, 2016 .
  38. Cinco embarazadas entre los 84 contagiados por el virus del Zika in Ecuador. In: El Comercio . March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016 (Spanish).
  39. Source: UN World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved July 18, 2017 .
  40. ^ Fragile States Index: Global Data. Fund for Peace , 2020, accessed January 23, 2021 .
  41. ^ The Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index. The Economist Intelligence Unit, accessed February 6, 2021 .
  42. ^ Countries and Territories. Freedom House , 2020, accessed January 23, 2021 .
  43. 2020 WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX. Reporters Without Borders , 2020, accessed January 23, 2021 .
  44. ^ Transparency International (Ed.): Corruption Perceptions Index . Transparency International, Berlin 2021, ISBN 978-3-96076-157-0 (English, [PDF]).
  45. ^ María Victoria Juárez, Xiomara Navas: Ecuador. In: Dieter Nohlen (Ed.): Handbook of the election data of Latin America and the Caribbean (= political organization and representation in America. Volume 1). Leske + Budrich, Opladen 1993, ISBN 3-8100-1028-6 , pp. 289-320, p. 292.
  46. June Hannam, Mitzi Auchterlonie, Katherine Holden: International Encyclopedia of Women's Suffrage. ABC-CLIO Inc., Santa Barbara, Denver, Oxford 2000, ISBN 1-57607-064-6 , p. 168.
  47. ^ Mart Martin: The Almanac of Women and Minorities in World Politics. Westview Press Boulder, Colorado, 2000, p. 116.
  48. - New Parline: the IPU's Open Data Platform (beta). In: Accessed September 30, 2018 .
  49. ^ Jad Adams: Women and the Vote. A world history. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2014, ISBN 978-0-19-870684-7 , pages 315-316
  50. Los datos oficiales del TSE confirman el triunfo del Sí ( Memento from January 22, 2013 in the web archive ), El Universo (Guayaquil), April 17, 2007 (Spanish)
  51. ^ Leonie Fuhrmann, Ecuador: First cracks in the radiant image , Telepolis , July 8, 2007.
  52. Tribunal Supremo Electoral, Asambleístas Electos ( Memento of 3 March 2008 at the Internet Archive ), retrieved (Spanish) on 21 November 2007
  53. La Asamblea Constituyente de Ecuador suspende el Congreso de forma indefinida , El País , November 30, 2007 (Spanish)
  54. RedGlobe: Constituent Assembly approves text of the new Basic Law , July 25, 2008. Ecuador receives a new constitution , baz online , September 29, 2008.
  55. ^ Alberto Acosta : The "Buen Vivir" as a possibility of a constitutional state. (PDF) (No longer available online.) In: juridikum 4/2009. April 2009, pp. 219-223 , archived from the original on October 21, 2012 ; Retrieved February 3, 2010 .
  56. Eduardo Gudynas: Political Ecology: Nature in the Constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador. (PDF; 435 kB) In: juridikum 4/2009. April 2009, pp. 214-218 , accessed January 24, 2010 .
  57. Michael Langer: A New Constitution for Ecuador? An analysis of the draft constitution. (PDF; 180 kB) In: Brief reports from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. September 25, 2008, accessed January 24, 2010 .
  58. La partidocracia y el reciclaje marcan la futura asamblea ( Memento of July 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), El Universo, July 19, 2009, pp. 10-11.
  59. TeleSur: Ecuador's Lenin Moreno Defeats Banker in Presidential Election. ,, April 4, 2017, Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  60. Otto Sonnenholzner - Vicepresidente constitucional de la República del Ecuador , December 11, 2018, accessed on December 14, 2018.
  61. CIA Worldfactbook - Ecuador. Retrieved November 16, 2017
  62. CIA Worldfactbook - Bolivia. Retrieved November 16, 2017
  63. CIA Worldfactbook - Peru. Retrieved November 16, 2017
  64. CIA Worldfactbook - Colombia. Retrieved November 16, 2017
  65. CIA Worldfactbook - Germany.Retrieved November 16, 2017
  66. At a Glance: Global Competitiveness Index 2017–2018 Rankings . In: Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018 . ( [accessed December 6, 2017]).
  68. ^ Equador: Statistics. UNICEF, accessed March 13, 2016 .
  69. ^ WHO Statistical Information System (WHOSIS). WHO, accessed March 13, 2016 .
  70. Internet Users by Country (2016) - Internet Live Stats. Retrieved July 18, 2017 .
  71. Ecuador officially in default with part of its foreign debt
  72. ^ A b World Economic Outlook Database for September 2006. International Monetary Fund , accessed March 13, 2016 .
  73. ^ Report for Selected Countries and Subjects. Retrieved March 3, 2018 (American English).
  74. ^ Rubén Berríos: Cost and benefit of Ecuador's dollarization experience . In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology . tape 5 , no. 1 . Brill Academic Publishers, March 2006, pp. 57–60 ( online for a fee ).
  75. ^ Rubén Berríos: Cost and benefit of Ecuador's dollarization experience . In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology . tape 5 , no. 1 . Brill Academic Publishers, March 2006 ( paid online ).
  76. Volker Feser: Ecuador . M. Müller, Erlangen 2005, ISBN 3-89953-189-2 , pp. 14-16.
  77. USAid (2005): Microempresas y Micrifinanzas en Ecuador.
  78. -tfQJgFdkIzvbEb6Jpkyf-ap2
  79. Ecuador. (No longer available online.) Amazon Watch, archived from the original on March 14, 2016 ; accessed on March 13, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  80. Telepolis: South American governments defy oil companies from better conditions , May 2, 2006.
  81. ^ Rainforest Pact: Berlin blocks rescue of jungle paradise , SPIEGEL Online, Nov. 17, 2010.
  82. Larry Sawers: Nontraditional or New traditional Exports: Ecuador's Flower Boom. 2005.
  83. ^ Korovkin: Cut-Flower Exports, Female Labor, and Community Participation in Highland Ecuador. 2003.
  84. Central Bank export statistics ( Memento from March 18, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  85. a b Ecuador., accessed March 13, 2016 .
  86. a b The World Factbook
  87. ^ Report for Selected Countries and Subjects. Retrieved July 18, 2017 (American English).
  88. Peter Sonnenberg: On rails through the Andes (TV film). einsfestival, July 12, 2015, accessed on March 30, 2015 .
  89. International. US Energy Information Administration (EIA), accessed March 13, 2016 .
  90. ^ Nelson Gómez E .: Nuevo Atlas del Ecuador . Edugquias, Quito 2004, ISBN 9978-89-009-2 , p. 53; Atlas of the Earth
  91. Censorship with a difference , NZZ, April 29, 2017
  92. ^ Critical newspaper article from La Opción ( Memento from January 9, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  93. Spanish-language article in "El Telegrafo" about Camacho's participation in the 2020 Olympic Games

Coordinates: 1 ° 28 ′  S , 78 ° 49 ′  W