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Republica del Ecuador
Republic of Ecuador
Flag of Ecuador.svg
Coat of arms of Ecuador.svg
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 city Quito
form of government and government presidential republic
Head of state , at the same time head of government President Guillermo Lasso
surface 283,561 km²
population 17.4 million ( 66th ) (2019; estimate)
population density 69 inhabitants per km²
population development + 1.7% (estimate for 2019)
gross domestic product
  • total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP/pop. (nom.)
  • GDP/pop. (PPP)
Human Development Index 0.759 ( 86th ) (2019)
currency Ecuadorian sucre (ECS), since September 2000 US dollars (USD)
independence 1821 (of Spain )
national anthem Salve, O Patria
national holiday August 10 (Independence Day)
time zone UTC−5
License Plate EC
ISO 3166 EC , ECU, 218
Internet TLD .ec
telephone area code +593
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Location of Ecuador in South America
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Ecuador ([ eku̯aˈdoːɐ̯ ], German also Ekuador ; 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, located in the Andes highlands ( Sierra ) at 2850 m, is called Quito ; the largest city of Guayaquil lies in the Pacific Coastal Plain (called Costa ). The country is named after the equator line that runs through the northern part of the state. The Galápagos Islands , which belong to Ecuador , are located between 928 km and 1272 km west of the coast in the Pacific Ocean.

The Ecuadorian government has recently been trying to achieve a better separation of powers, for example by setting up an independent judiciary council. It also has a clear policy of supporting business and the private sector. However , civil society participation has been very limited to date.


Ecuador is located in northwestern South America and is one of the most diverse countries on earth geographically , topographically , climatically and ethnically . Ecuador borders with Colombia (590 km), with Peru (1420 km) and with the Pacific Ocean . The total length of the country's 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 western coastal area ( Costa ) consists of alluvial land and a low coastal mountain range and is dominated by the Río Guayas
  • the central Andean region ( Sierra ) includes two mountain ranges characterized by strong volcanism and the high valley in between
  • the eastern Amazon lowlands ( Oriente ) begins on the eastern slopes of the Andes and includes the sparsely populated Amazon basin
  • the Galapagos Islands lie 1000 km off the coast in the Pacific.
landscapes of Ecuador
Vicuna on the Chimborazo , the highest mountain in Ecuador
landscape of Ecuador; here: Lago San Pablo and Imbabura covered by clouds .
Tropical coastal region at Agua Blanca.
Malecon 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 in this quarter of the country. The Costa consists of fertile alluvial plains and undulating hilly landscapes about 500 km long and up to 200 km wide. The coastal mountain range Cordillera Costanera , which is up to 800 m high, 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 , with more than 36,000 km² the largest water catchment system on the South American Pacific coast .

The delta of the Río Guayas forms the largest natural harbor on South America's west coast. The annual discharge of the Guayas 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 extreme south the Río Jubones . In terms of climate, 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 diverts westward from the South American coast into the Pacific at about 1 degree south latitude.


The country's Andean region is called the Sierra (Mountains) and is more than 80,000 km² in size. In the past it was the most populated 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 ) and the high valley in between (sometimes called altiplano ). The Cordillera Occidental is generally lower, but is home to Ecuador's highest mountain, Chimborazo , at 6263 m . The highest mountain in the Cordillera Central is the almost 5900 m high Cotopaxi . The high valley is at an altitude of 1800 to 3200 m and is about 500 km long and 20-30 km wide and is home to a number of medium-high inter- Andean mountains. Because of the brisk volcanism, Alexander von Humboldt called the valley "Street of the Volcanoes". The high valley is divided into eight basins ( cuencas or hoyas ) by mountain blocks (nudos ); other authors count up to twelve such cauldrons.

With the exception of Guaranda , all the major cities in the region are 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 Yunguilla ) and the Río Catamayo . Located in the Guayllabamba Basin is Quito, the highest capital city in the world (ahead of Sucre in Bolivia ). In the south of Ecuador, the two cordilleras are less clearly distinguishable than in the center and in the north.


In the east of the country, the Oriente (East), lie the rainforests of the Amazon basin. The region is almost 100,000 km² in size, but very 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 country's area at the time) to its southern neighbor and lost access to the Amazon, although this area had never been under effective state influence before.

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 Galeras-Napo sub-cordillera , as well as the lower (less than 400 m) and flat Amazon plain. All the 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 Putumayo border river with Colombia and the Aguarico . At Agoyán , the Pastaza forms the largest waterfall in Ecuador with a drop of 60 meters. The climate of the region is hot-humid tropical climate .


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


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 topography and the Humboldt Current . Due to the proximity to the equator, the temperature distribution is relatively even over the year. Especially in the Sierra there are pronounced day-night temperature fluctuations.

The climatic differences are clear even within short distances. The north of the city of Quito is much warmer and drier than the south. The summit of Illiniza Sur is also glaciated, while the neighboring Illiniza Norte, which is practically the same height, is mostly snow-free. Along the elevation profile, a distinction is made in Ecuador 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 due to 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 distinct 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 rainiest. The rainy seasons are called "winter" and the dry seasons "summer", despite the slightly above-average average temperature.

In the southern coastal strip, rainfall is less than 250 mm per year. Up to 5000 mm of precipitation occurs on the Andean western slopes of the Costa, and even more than 6000 mm on the eastern slopes of the Oriente. In the Sierra, basins receive only 250–500 mm of rainfall a year, while elevations often exceed 2000 mm. Except at extreme altitudes above 15,000 feet (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 Province Chimborazo
Cotopaxi 5897 m Cordillera Central Sierra Cotopaxi province Cotopaxi
cayambe 5790 m Cordillera Central Sierra Pichincha Province Pichincha
antisana 5758 m Cordillera Central Sierra Province of Napo Napo
El altar 5319 m Cordillera Central Sierra Chimborazo Province Chimborazo
Iliniza Sur 5263 m Cordillera Occidental Sierra Cotopaxi province Cotopaxi
Sangay 5230 m Cordillera Central Sierra Province of Morona Santiago Morona Santiago
Iliniza Norte 5116 m Cordillera Occidental Sierra Pichincha Province Pichincha
Tungurahua 5023 m Cordillera Central Sierra Tungurahua Province Tungurahua
Carihuairazo 5018 m Cordillera Occidental Sierra Tungurahua Province Tungurahua
reventador 3562 m Cordillera Real Oriente Province of Sucumbios Sucumbios

The Andes were formed by the collision of two tectonic plates . The Nazca Plate is moving eastward from Colombia to Patagonia at about three inches per year, while the South American Plate is moving westward at two inches per year, pushing across the Nazca Plate. The entire Andes 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, 18 of which are classified as active.

The only active volcano in 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 in Ecuador are currently being actively monitored, of which Cotopaxi, Guagua Pichincha and 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 risk of earthquakes. 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 1000 lives. Due to the subduction zone, earthquakes often raise the sea floor, so there is also a risk of tsunamis . At least 659 people died in a nationwide earthquake on the night of April 17, 2016 with a magnitude of 7.8 on the moment magnitude scale .

administrative division

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 had a total of 24 provinces. These are:

Amazonia (Oriente)

province capital city surface Residents 2017 Population per km²
Province of Morona Santiago Morona Santiago maca 25,690 km² 183,700 7.2 inhabitants/km²
Province of Napo Napo Tena 13,271 km² 125,500 9.5 inhabitants/km²
Province of Orellana Orellana Puerto Francisco de Orellana 20,733 km² 155,500 7.5 inhabitants/km²
Province of Pastaza Pastaza puyo 29,520 km² 105,500 3.6 inhabitants/km²
Province of Sucumbios Sucumbios Nueva Loja 18,612 km² 215,500 11.6 inhabitants/km²
Zamora 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 city surface Residents 2017 Population per km²
Azuay province azuay Cuenca 8,639 km² 838,900 97.1 inhabitants/km²
Bolívar Province (Ecuador) bolivar Guaranda 3,254 km² 205,100 63.0 inhabitants/km²
Canar Province Canar Azogues 3,142 km² 267,600 85.1 inhabitants/km²
Province of Carchi Carchi Tulcan 3,908 km² 182,700 46.8 inhabitants/km²
Cotopaxi province Cotopaxi Latacunga 6,569 km² 470,200 71.6 inhabitants/km²
Chimborazo Province Chimborazo Riobamba 5,287 km² 510,900 96.6 inhabitants/km²
Imbabura Province Imbabura ibarra 4,599 km² 457,700 99.5 inhabitants/km²
Loja province Loja Loja 11,027 km² 506,000 45.9 inhabitants/km²
Pichincha Province Pichincha Quito 9,494 km² 3,060,000 322.3 inhabitants/km²
Province of Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas Santo Domingo de los Colorados 3,857 km² 434,800 112.7 inhabitants/km²
Tungurahua Province Tungurahua ambato 3,334 km² 570,900 171.2 inhabitants/km²

coast _

province capital city surface Residents 2017 Population per km²
Province of El Oro El Oro Machala 5,988 km² 689,800 115.2 inhabitants/km²
Province of Esmeraldas Esmeraldas Esmeraldas 15,216 km² 617,900 40.6 inhabitants/km²
Guayas province Guayas Guayaquil 17,139 km² 4,207,600 245.5 inhabitants/km²
Los Rios Province Los Rios Babahoyo 6,254 km² 888,400 142.1 inhabitants/km²
Manabi Province Manabi Portoviejo 18,400 km² 1,524,000 82.8 inhabitants/km²
Province of Santa Elena Santa Elena Santa Elena 3,763 km² 375,600 99.8 inhabitants/km²
Galapagos Galapagos Puerto Baquerizo Moreno 8,010 km² 25,000 3.1 inhabitants/km²


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

By far the two largest agglomerations in Ecuador 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 the two cities. Guayaquil is the country's traditional economic center 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.

environmental and nature protection

Tourist lodges in the rainforest sanctuaries are a billion dollar business. Nature tourism can save large areas from destruction, but it also has a number of harmful “side effects” on the ecology

As a country with large areas of tropical rainforest , intersected by the two globally important 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 rates of deforestation, Ecuador is the focus of global environmental protection interests. Although the political will to protect the biosphere is evident, like most developing countries, it lacks the financial means and effective methods to effectively implement such goals. Therefore, in the past, economic interests were given priority when there were conflicts between nature conservation and economic use.

Among other things, this led to the oil spill in the northern Amazon lowlands of Ecuador , since the oil company Texaco (today Chevron Corporation ) in particular did not take adequate precautions to protect the environment and worked largely unmolested by state bodies. There was a significant contamination of soil and water, which to this day has caused serious consequences for the environment and the health of the local population.

Since 2007, the Ecuadorian government has been making headlines with the proposal to forego oil production in the important Yasuní National Park (Amazon lowlands) if it would receive half of the expected profit from the international community for forest protection. The proposal became known as the Yasuní-ITT initiative . In 2008, the forward-looking state forest protection program "Programa Socio Bosque" (PSB) was launched: the state pays money to indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian communities as well as private forest owners who commit to long-term forest protection, thus offering them an alternative to illegal timber harvesting . The demand for the contracts that are currently being concluded for 20 years is high. Several countries (including Germany) had originally signaled their approval. Dirk Niebel , Development Aid Minister from 2009 to 2013, withdrew the promise and ignored any calls on the subject.

Since 2010, the first successes of the appeal to the global community have become apparent: Some industrialized countries had agreed to provide the country with money for the protection of forests as part of the climate protection instrument REDD+ . This is subject to strict conditions, which Ecuador was willing to meet. In 2011, 600,000 ha of forest could already be protected with funds from the PSB, but the need is around 4 million ha.

Despite global encouragement from environmentalists and human rights activists, President Rafael Correa had to declare the initiative a failure in 2013 because not even a fraction of the compensation amount was collected. In the same year, parliament decided to release oil production. At the beginning of October 2013, parliament approved the government's proposal to allow oil drilling subject to conditions by a vote of 108 against 25.

Since 2000, Ecuador has been exploiting the mineral resources in the south-eastern rainforest province of Morona-Santiago, which, despite the huge areas of primary rainforest that are worthy of protection, has not yet had any major protected areas. The interventions in nature provoked the resistance of the indigenous population groups, in particular the Shuar resistance movement , which escalated in 2016. The government did not respond to the attempts by the indigenous umbrella organization CONFENIAE and the environmental organization Acción Ecológica to clarify the matter . The conflict has not yet been resolved; further large-scale interventions in the ecosystem are to be feared.

Flora and fauna

The second highest megadiversity on earth can be found in the cloud forests of the eastern slopes of the Andes in Ecuador
Bone-headed tree frog from the tree frog family : Ecuador ranks 3rd in the world's amphibian diversity
Marine iguanas in Galapagos: Ecuador - especially in Galápagos - is home to a large number of endemic species that are found nowhere else

Ecuador is considered to be the most biodiverse country on earth. In relation to the size of the country, there is an above-average number of species. This is due to the geological conditions and the ocean currents. The Andes separate the country into different faunal zones. Together with Colombia, Ecuador is the only country in South America that also has tropical rainforest on the Pacific coast. The Pacific forests belong to the Chocò faunal region, the center of which is in Colombia. Plants and animals in the Chocò are fundamentally different from those of the Amazon region. The large Central American or Baird's tapir (up to 300 kg) is found only on the Pacific side of the Andes. In other respects too, the fauna and flora in the Chocò is more closely related to Central America and less to Amazonia. Among the snakes there is B. the prehensile-tailed lance viper ( Bothriechis schlegelii ) only on the Pacific side. Above the forests there is a special zone in the mountains called Páramo. Their character plants are giant ragweeds (Espeletia), which are locally called "Frailejones". This plant has a palm-like habit and grows up to 4 meters high. It can snow in the Páramo and at night temperatures always fall below zero degrees, in warm weather 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 conservation in continental Ecuador. There are also condors, pumas and spectacled bears. About 100 condors, the second largest flying bird on earth after the albatross, are said to still live in Ecuador. In the deep valleys of the Andes and in southern coastal provinces there are thorn bushes and dry vegetation. Typical animals of these zones are coati, ocelot and deer. The fauna and flora in the Oriente, the Amazonian part of Ecuador, does not fundamentally differ from the creatures in the primeval forests of Peru and Brazil. The lowland tapir is found there as a third species of tapir. There are said to be around 100 jaguars left and freshwater dolphins can be found in the rivers. The rare giant armadillo is hunted by the indigenous jungle dwellers, but their main prey are the larger monkeys, such as howler monkeys and spider monkeys.

The wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, on the other hand, is species-poor (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 are found in large populations on some islands.

biosphere reserves

UNESCO has declared four areas of Ecuador Biosphere Reserves :

national parks

There are 14 national parks in Ecuador:

Other protected areas

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

sea ​​region

coastal region

mountainous region

Amazon region


Population pyramid Ecuador 2016

Ecuador has 17.4 million inhabitants in 2019, making it one of the medium-sized countries in South America. Around 30% of the population is under the age of 15 and only around 7% over 65. The median is 26.3 years (45.7 in Germany). Life expectancy for women is 78 years and for men 73 years, which is three years less than in 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 inhabitants per km², giving 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 figure relatively meaningless: in the Oriente, the population density is only 4 inhabitants per km². Population growth has declined in recent decades from about 3 percent a year - one of the highest rates in Latin America - to 1.5 percent, still one of the highest rates in South America.

Since the middle of the 20th century, the population migration from Sierra to Costa, which has been going on since the 1880s, has been superimposed by a second phenomenon: migration from rural areas to urban centers . The Sierra provinces' share of the total population has fallen from 58% to 38% since 1950, while that of Pichincha (whose capital is Quito) has risen from 12% to 17%. The population share of the Costa provinces increased from 40% to 51%, but Guayas (with Guayaquil) was solely responsible for the increase, whose share jumped from 18% to 31%; the other Costa provinces lost relative population. Despite rapid urbanization, Ecuador's urbanization rate is one of the lowest in South America at 61%, with only Paraguay and Guiana being 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

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

Very different population groups live in Ecuador, but it is difficult to specify the size of each. As in the other Andean countries, the proportion of the indigenous population is very high. On the one hand, this can be explained by the dense settlement of indigenous populations under the rule of the Incas . On the other hand, only Spaniards immigrated to Ecuador, but hardly any other Europeans - unlike in Argentina , Uruguay , Brazil or Chile .

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

According to the 2010 census, 7.0% of the population is indigenous (the majority belonging to the Kichwa groups of the Andes and Oriente), 71.9% mestizo , 6.1% of European descent, 7.2% Afro-Ecuadorian and 7. 4% Montubio (coast people of mixed race). According to the Indígena organization CONAIE , the proportion of Indígenas is up to 50%. Others put the indigenous population at 40%, mestizos at another 40%, people of European descent at 10–15%, and Afro-Ecuadorians at 5–10%.

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

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

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

In 2017, 2.4% of the population were foreigners. The largest groups were individuals from Colombia (200,000), the United States (30,000), Peru and Chile (10,000 each). Because of the pleasant climate and low cost of living, many US and Canadian retirees choose Ecuador as their retirement home. 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 introduced by the Incas after conquering the region in the 15th century. In addition, some local indigenous languages ​​and dialects are spoken in the northern Costa and in the Oriente. Of these, the Shuar spoken in the southern Oriente is the most widespread, with around 100,000 speakers. A few Barbacoan languages are also spoken, but no other indigenous language reaches the number of 5000 speakers. A total of 23 different languages ​​and idioms are spoken in Ecuador.


72.3% of the population states that they are Roman Catholic . There is also a Protestant minority. Traditional Indian religions have also survived among parts of the indigenous population . The supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church in Ecuador as the state church was abolished by the religion law of 1907, since then all religions have been legally equal. The modus vivendi of 1937 regulates relations between the church and the state.


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

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

Bless you

Life expectancy in Ecuador in the period from 2010 to 2015 is about 75.7 years (men: 72.8 years, women: 78.4 years). A significant part of the population does not have access to clean water . In Ecuador there are 686 cases of malaria per 100,000 people.

Like all countries in northern South America, Ecuador is also affected by the spread of the Zika virus - albeit to a much lesser extent than, for example, Brazil or Colombia. At the end of March 2016 there were officially 84 registered cases - mainly in the lower 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 territory of Ecuador prior to colonization . The Incas only conquered the entire country at the end of the 15th century, but were conquered again by the Spaniards at the beginning of the 16th century . During the colonial period, the Real Audiencia de Quito occupied what is now Ecuador. The country gained independence from Spain in 1821 under Simón Bolívar and Antonio José de Sucre and belonged to Greater Colombia until 1830 . Its further independent historical path was characterized by high political and territorial instability. The incessant succession of numerous coups and coups extends to the present day. In the 19th century there were repeated short episodes of civil war , a development that was interrupted for a few years after the middle of the century during the reign of Gabriel García Moreno . In the counter-reaction, Eloy Alfaro succeeded in establishing the first radical liberal government at the end of the century.


Political system

Presidential Palace in Quito

Ecuador is a presidential republic with representative democracy and a multi-party system. The president and parliament, the 137-seat Asamblea Nacional ('National Assembly'), are directly elected on the same day. The President is the head of state and government and thus the head of the executive branch . Legislative power is exercised jointly by the government and the National Assembly . The independence of the judiciary from the other two branches of state power is guaranteed in the constitution.

In the 1929 constitution, women were declared citizens and thus women's suffrage was introduced. Ecuador was the first Latin American country to give women limited suffrage, but it wasn't until 1946 that all women were allowed to vote. Between March 3, 1929 and 1967, however, voting was compulsory for men, while participation in the election was voluntary for women; From 1967 voting was compulsory for everyone and the conditions were the same for both sexes for the first time. A prerequisite for both sexes was that one had to be able to read and write in order to exercise the right to vote. In 1925, an Ecuadorian went to the polls for the first time, becoming the continent's first female voter, Matilde Hidalgo .

Ecuador's political system is centralized, with political power resting primarily with the President and thus in the capital, Quito, although efforts at decentralization have been made in recent years. The political system is tailored around the president, who appoints a governor for each province and, at the next level, a "political head" for each Ecuadorian canton . The people of the provinces themselves elect a prefect, who is primarily responsible for infrastructure measures in rural areas and has roughly the functions of a senior mayor, as well as provincial and cantonal parliaments. Mayors are elected in cities. In the course of decentralization, parroquiales (municipal councils) were introduced, which are also regularly elected and participate in political decisions at the lowest level in cities and in the countryside. In addition to the municipal councils, there are neighborhood councils.

Political Indices

Political indices published by non-governmental organizations
Index name index value World Rank interpretation aid year
Fragile States Index 69.4 out of 120 89 of 178 Country stability: 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 out of 100 --- Freedom status: partially free
0 = not free / 100 = free
Press Freedom Index 32.83 out of 100 96 out of 180 Recognizable problems for press freedom
0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 39 out of 100 92 out of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

domestic policy

The long-time president until 2017, Rafael Correa

In practice, the political power structure at the national level shows clear elements of a consociational democracy : political power in the country has to be constantly balanced between the two major regions of Costa and Sierra , with their centers in Guayaquil and Quito. In presidential elections, all parties that think they have a chance of winning the election nominate a pair of presidential and vice-presidential candidates, one from one Greater 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 2006 elections , two parties founded in 2002, the PRIAN of the extremely 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, like the two up-and-coming ones, were 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 primarily elected in the rural provinces with a high percentage of indigenous populations and strives to curtail the power and decision-making volume of individuals in favor of the general public in the party in the interests of organizing indigenous village communities. 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 the Movimiento PAÍS , which was only formed in 2006 .

Political life at the national level is characterized by great instability, stable coalitions are rarely formed in the National Congress, and laws are often passed after extensive negotiations between individual government and opposition parties. The parties and parliaments enjoy a relatively low reputation in Ecuador due to the concessions that are often necessary and constant negotiations between the parties and individual members of parliament, since "package solutions" often result in suspected 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 formed and had neither experience in parliamentary work nor significant representation in parliament, which further destabilized political life and ultimately to Gutiérrez ' Fall contributed only two years later. His successor, former Vice-President Alfredo Palacio , did not have a stable parliamentary majority of his own either. His successor, President Rafael Correa , who was elected in November 2006, even won the elections without his political movement PAÍS putting him up as a candidate for 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 leaders in leading positions, on the other hand because it can withdraw support from the ruling president during protests and uprisings, as was the case in the cases of the ousted Jamil Mahuad (2000) and Lucio Gutiérrez (2005).


On April 15, 2007, the Ecuadorian electorate decided in a referendum with 81.7% of the votes that a new Constituent Assembly should be convened. In the elections to the Constituent Assembly on September 30, 2007, a quota law was applied for the first time in the country's history , according to which male and female candidates must always alternate on the list places. According to the official final result, PAÍS, President Correa's list, received the overwhelming majority of 80 of the 130 seats, the next largest parties by 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 recess for the National Congress on the first day of its session. In July 2008, the drafted text was approved by the Constituent Assembly by a vote of 94:36 and in a referendum on September 28, 2008 by about 63% of the electorate. The new constitution came into effect on October 20, 2008. It is the 20th in the country's 178-year history.

The new constitution contains important constitutional innovations. It refers to the concepts pachamama (“mother earth”) and sumak kawsay (“good life”, Spanish “buen vivir”) , which are rooted in the indigenous culture . The economic form should be social and solidary (previously: social and market economy ) and committed to 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 estate" in the state. As a novelty in constitutional history, nature is defined as a legal subject. In addition, indigenous cultures are more widely recognized and the principle of gender equality is expanded.

The first presidential, legislative and regional elections based on the new constitution were held in April and June 2009, and Rafael Correa was confirmed in office with 51.99% of the votes on the first ballot. His party Movimiento PAÍS achieved 59 of the 124 seats in the parliament, 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 run-off election in the second ballot in 2017, Correa's preferred candidate, Lenín Moreno , was able to assert himself against the opposition by an extremely narrow margin. Vice President has been Otto Sonnenholzner since December 2018.


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

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

In recent years, Ecuador's economy has boomed thanks to the country's oil reserves and progress has been made in the fight against poverty. In 2016, however, Ecuador experienced a recession due to the low oil price and an economic slowdown throughout South America.

In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Ecuador ranks 97th out of 137 countries (as of 2017–2018). The country ranked 160th out of 180 countries in the 2017 Economic Freedom Index .

Social situation

Across the country, a number of 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 high: while the top 20% earn about 58% of national income, the bottom 40% have only 13%.

According to the World Health Organization , life expectancy for men at 75 years is in the middle of the South American range (Bolivia is at the bottom with 67.7 years and Chile is at the top with 78.8). The same applies to infant mortality (less than 1) and child mortality (less than 5) at 23 per thousand and 25 per thousand, respectively – although the gap here is larger with both Bolivia (52/65) and Chile (8/10). 15% of the population live on less than one dollar a day – the highest value on the subcontinent after Bolivia and Paraguay . Conversely, Ecuador is only surpassed by Uruguay for access to clean drinking water (89% in rural areas) and sanitation (82%) . A possible explanation is the high population density combined with low urbanization , which makes development more urgent and cheaper at the same time (see Geography of Ecuador ).

With 5.5% of GDP for health expenditure , Ecuador is in the lower midfield: bottom of the table, Peru spends 4.1%, Argentina 9.6% – but Chile also only 6.1%. With 12 deaths a year per 100,000 people, HIV / AIDS does not play a major role in Ecuador, as in most South American countries - sad exceptions are Guyana and Suriname with more than 150 deaths per 100,000. In some sub -Saharan African countries , this number is in the four-digit range (in Germany it is "under 10"). Amazingly, according to WHO data, Ecuador has the second lowest rate of underage pregnancies after Chile at 5.6% – but this may also be due to outdated data. Neighboring Colombia is the leader here with 9.2%. Economic underdevelopment is also reflected in the fact that only 4.2% of Ecuadorians use the Internet (only Paraguay and Bolivia are fewer) and that there are just 11 landline telephone lines per 100 inhabitants - less than half as many as in Chile, Argentina or Brazil (although here again the high population density should help). Significant progress was made under the Correa government in expanding the telecommunications infrastructure. 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 step 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)
13 16 16 48 31 28 23 30 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 18 13 8th 3 2 3 3 8th 5 4 4 5 3 4 4 2
Current account
as % of GDP
5 −3 −5 −1 −1 0 4 4 0 −3 −1 0 −1 −4 −5 −5 −8

The most severe economic crises in recent history are easy to read from the historical economic data. In 1983, the debt crisis in Latin America caused negative growth, followed by the collapse of the OPEC cartel in 1986–87 and the subsequent fall in oil prices . A serious banking and currency crisis followed in 1999-2000. One consequence of the permanent economic crises is that in 2000 per capita income was below the 1980 level. Ecuador's share of global economic output has fallen from 1.1‰ in 1980 to 0.9‰. The high inflation rates are also striking, especially between the debt crisis and dollarisation. 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 trans-Andean pipeline .

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

Monetary policy and currency reform

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

After several economic shocks (the war with Peru in 1995, El Niño in 1997, the Russian and Asian crises in 1997/98) and an all-time low in the price of oil , the country's foreign debt amounted to 13 billion dollars in 1998. 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, after which the Ecuadorian Sucre depreciated sharply. The central bank visibly lost its foreign exchange reserves as a result of foreign exchange market interventions , which were only able to slow down the devaluation to a limited extent . For two years, Ecuador sank into economic chaos. Inflation was more than 60% in 1999 and almost 100% in 2000. The Sucre continued to depreciate - 30% in 1998 and another 67% in the following year. The Ecuadorian state lost access to the international credit market and domestically bank accounts were frozen to prop up the banking system. The central bank had lost control of all monetary variables - inflation, the exchange rate and the money supply. It is said that around 200,000 Ecuadorians emigrated between 1998 and 2000 alone. In 2000, The Economist described the country as the “most unstable in Latin America”. 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 therefore announced that he would abolish the Ecuadorian currency, the Sucre, and introduce the US dollar as the country's official currency. 22 days later, under pressure from the military and indigenous organizations such as CONAIE , he was overthrown, not least because of this decision, and replaced by his deputy Gustavo Noboa . However, the decision to dollarize Ecuador was maintained.

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

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

labour market

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


According to an extensive study by USAid , there are about 700,000 micro-enterprises in Ecuador employing more than a million people (other estimates range from 950,000 to 1.7 million people). More than a third of all urban lower and middle class families run a micro-business. 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 manufacturing. Half of all retailers sell food and beverages. Female micro-entrepreneurs in the service sector in particular have restaurants (68%) or hairdressing salons (17%), men run bus or taxi companies (35%), garages (17%) or restaurants (17%). Women in production mostly produce textiles (52%), men furniture (24%).

Unlike in many other countries, Ecuador's microentrepreneurs sell almost exclusively to end customers; only 0.2% of microenterprises produce 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 Oriente . Since a pipeline to the Pacific was completed five years later, Ecuador has been a major oil producer. Ecuador produces 509,000 barrels of oil per day (25 million tons per year). It produces about 0.6% of world production, ranking 30th in the world and fourth in South America after Venezuela , Brazil and Argentina. Ecuador consumes around 160,000 barrels a day and exports almost 70% of its production. The secured reserves are 4.5 billion barrels, the theoretical production range is about 25 years. In terms of reserves, Ecuador ranks 25th in the world and 3rd in South America (ahead of Argentina). Ecuador was a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries until January 2020 .

Oil is transported to the Pacific via two pipeline systems totaling 3,346 km in length. 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 across 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 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 parallel to the SOTE all the time. The capacity of the OCP is 450,000 bpd, the total length is 503 km. It also uses, on a smaller scale, the Oleoducto Transandino de Colombia (or TransAndino), which brings oil to the Pacific Ocean via Tumaco .

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

However, oil production in Ecuador is also leading to increasing environmental pollution due to oil leaking from defective pipelines and other lines. There are also reports of numerous human rights violations against the indigenous people in connection with oil production. Secret contracts between most oil companies and the Ecuadorian army became known in 2005, in which they undertook to protect the private companies and to arrest indigenous Amazonians in the vicinity of the production facilities.

Model proposals have recently been discussed, the large oil deposits under the species-rich rainforest of the Yasuní National Park - approx. 900 million barrels of oil - in exchange for a compensation payment from the international community in the amount of 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 world's fourth largest exporter after the Netherlands , Colombia and Kenya . Flowers are Ecuador's sixth most important export after petroleum, bananas, fishery products, metal goods and shrimp. Since the flower industry emerged in Colombia in the late 1960s, the world market for flowers is now largely globalized . More than 60 countries export cut flowers. After the export share of cut flowers was already 6% in 2002 and flowers were the third exported after oil and bananas, today it has fallen again to 3%. In 2006, 114,000 tons of flowers were exported for 400 million dollars. Roses have by far the most important share of production, accounting for about three quarters of all exports. 70% of all exports go to the USA - 70% of all cut flowers there come from South America, almost half of which come from Ecuador, the rest almost exclusively from Colombia. Ecuador is also the most important flower supplier for Russia, where the extraordinarily long-stemmed roses are particularly popular, Japan and numerous countries in the Middle East, but not for Europe. Export is by plane only via Quito Airport .

Flower production in Ecuador is based on the favorable production factors of land, water and labour, 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 allow perfectly coordinated conditions for each flower variety. The main growing areas are in the north of the province of Pichincha around the city of Cayambe and in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Chimborazo. Production is very labour, capital and technology intensive. The flowers are produced in foil greenhouses, some of which have complex irrigation systems and use a lot of pesticides , artificial fertilizers and fungicides . About 10 workers are needed per hectare of cultivated land. The flowers are grown by about 400 Ecuadorian hacendados , or international companies, many of them from Colombia. A typical plantation has about 25-50 ha 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. The payment according to a piecework system ensures extremely unsolidarian working conditions. Child labor, on the other hand, is hardly to be found.

foreign trade

Ecuador's exports are mainly based on petroleum . 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 was bananas , $0.7 billion was fishery products, $0.6 billion was petroleum derivatives, $0.6 billion was shrimp , $0.6 billion was metals, and machinery, $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 play an important role. Non-traditional exports such as hardware, shrimp and cut flowers, while growing strongly since the 1980s, are still largely irrelevant 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 capacity, it has to import petroleum derivatives such as gasoline and diesel . In 2006, these accounted for almost a fifth of all imports . The main suppliers are the USA (25%), Colombia (15%), Venezuela (8%) and Brazil (7%).

Between 1989 and 1994, Ecuador experienced a period of radical trade liberalization. Under President Rodrigo Borja , the average tariff has been reduced from over 40% to under 12%. The maximum duty fell from 290% to 20% (only cars , especially used cars, were taxed higher). Furthermore, numerous non-tariff barriers to trade were removed, Sucre was drastically devalued and foreign direct investments 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 branch of the economy, also because Ecuador is considered to be one of the countries with the highest biodiversity in the world. Ecuador also offers a variety of landscapes that is second to none. Mention should be made of the Galapagos Islands , the Avenue of the Volcanoes, Baños in the cloud forests of the eastern slope of the Andes and the tropical rain forests. Travel offers in natural areas are generally referred to as ecotourism in Ecuador , even if the strict criteria of 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 List .

state budget

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

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


The simple bridge on the pass road near Papallacta between Quito and Tena became unnecessary and, like in many places, is bypassed on upgraded roads
A new section of the Oriental Expressway 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 cirques presented great difficulties. As late as the early 20th century, Guayaquil was supplied with maize and potatoes from Peru and Colombia , and imports for Quito were brought in by porter and mule . As late as 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 railway 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 completed at the beginning of the 20th century, there was and still is no rail connection to Peru, Colombia or the Oriente. In 1998, the most important route between Guayaquil and Quito was badly damaged by El Niño , so that it could no longer be fully used for 15 years. Only a few sections of the entire 965-kilometer route network were still in operation for tourists. Under President Rafael Correa , the entire network was restored from 2009 and the previously privately organized railway was transferred to the public Ferrocarriles del Ecuador Empresa Publica (FEEP). After the routes were repaired in sections, continuous operation was resumed in January 2013 on the main route from Guayaquil.

As is usual in South America, long-distance passenger transport is largely handled by buses , but in contrast to other countries, mainly with daily rates, which represents a significant difference for the travel experience (and perceived safety). The buses are the lifeblood of the country and run regularly even in the most remote parts of the country. They're also the only thing that hasn't gone up in price since the dollar was introduced as the national currency; One dollar fare is to be expected per hour on the bus.

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 little used. A total of 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, which has probably doubled or even tripled the proportion of paved roads. In principle, this makes traveling by bus even cheaper, as the buses sometimes reach their destinations twice as quickly on newly constructed roads.

There are two international airports, Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre in the Tumbaco Valley near Quito and Aeropuerto Internacional José Joaquín de Olmedo in Guayaquil. In addition to passenger transport, the export of cut flowers also plays a major role at Quito Airport. There are also a number of regional airports and numerous easy airstrips across the country. The country's main airline is TAME .

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

Oil exports are handled via two transandean 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 Panamanian -born Counter-Reformation artist , decorated various buildings in Quito. Eduardo Kingman depicted the rural life of the indigenous people in his work. The most important visual artist of the 20th century was Oswaldo Guayasamín .


Until November 28, 2007, the television landscape in Ecuador consisted exclusively of private television stations, which are still by far the best known and most watched today. The best-known national television channel is Ecuavisa , which also has an international channel that feeds primarily to US cable networks.

Ecuador TV logo

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

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

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


The logo of the Ecuadorian Football Federation

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

By 2021, Ecuador had only one Olympic champion, Jefferson Pérez , who won the 20 km walk at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and took a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Games. In this respect, the 2020/21 Olympic Games in Tokyo were historic for Ecuador: Richard Carapaz won the gold medal in road cycling. Neisi Dajomes took the second gold medal in the light heavyweight weightlifting event and Tamara Salazar won a silver medal in the same heavyweight event.

According to the Ecuadorian version of the TV show Our Best , Pérez is the "second best" Ecuadorian of all time , behind ex-President Eloy Alfaro .

Since 2015, the BMX athlete Jonathan Camacho , who comes from General Villamil , has gained increasing international fame through his sustained success. He is now considered one of the world's best freestyle BMX riders. He will represent his country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In 2019, Richard Carapaz won the overall classification of the Giro d'Italia .

The most famous football teams in the country's Serie A are LDU Quito , which to date is the only Ecuadorian club to have won the Copa Libertadores , as well as CD El Nacional , Barcelona SC Guayaquil , CS Emelec and Deportivo Quito . Among the country's most notable players are Liga de Quito 's Edison Méndez , CS Emelec's Agustín Delgado , currently clubless Iván Kaviedes , Birmingham City 's Cristian Benítez and Manchester United 's Antonio Valencia . In addition, Carlos Gruezo has also gained 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 carnival carnival
March April Jueves Santo Maundy Thursday
March April Viernes Santo Good Friday
1st of May Dia del Trabajo Labor Day
May 24th Batalla de Pichincha Battle of the Pichincha (1822)
24th July Nacimiento de Simon Bolivar Birthday of Simon Bolivar
July 25th Fundacion de Guayaquil Founding of Guayaquil
August 10th El primer grito de la Independencia "First Proclamation of Independence" (1808/09 in Quito)
9th October Independence of Guayaquil Independence of Guayaquil
November 2 Dia de los Difuntos All Souls
November 3rd Independence of Cuenca Independence from Cuenca
6th of December Fundacion Quito (Conquista) Spanish (re)establishment of Quito
25 December Navidad Christmas
December 31 Año viejo (Noche Vieja) New Year's Eve

See also

Portal: Ecuador  – Overview of Wikipedia content related to Ecuador



  • Rafael Sevilla, Alberto Acosta (eds.): 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 . Seasons Publishing House, 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), focus on 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 affairs

  • 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 p.).

web links

Wiktionary: Ecuador  – explanations of meaning, word origin, synonyms, translations
Commons : Ecuador  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Ecuador  – Travel Guide
Wikimedia Atlas: Ecuador  Geographical and Historical Maps


  1. Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador from 2008 ( Memento des Originals from January 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) 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. (PDF; 507 kB). Article 2, paragraph 2. @1@2Template: Webarchiv/IABot/
  2. a b population, total. In: World Economic Outlook Database. World Bank , 2020, accessed 31 January 2021 (English).
  3. Population growth (annual %). In: World Economic Outlook Database. World Bank , 2020, accessed 31 January 2021 (English).
  4. World Economic Outlook Database October 2020. In: World Economic Outlook Database. International Monetary Fund , 2020, accessed 31 January 2021 (English).
  5. Table: Human Development Index and its components . In: United Nations Development Program (ed.): Human Development Report 2020 . United Nations Development Programme, New York 2020, ISBN 978-92-1126442-5 , pp. 344 (English, [PDF]).
  6. Ecuador. In: Bertelsmann Transformation Index . Bertelsmann Stiftung, retrieved 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. 16 April 2016, retrieved 17 April 2016 (English).
  9. ↑ State of emergency: Hundreds dead in Ecuador earthquake . In: Mirror Online . 17 April 2016 ( [accessed 17 April 2016]).
  10. ^ a b c Ecuador: Provinces, Major Cities & Towns - Population Statistics in Maps and Charts. Retrieved November 24, 2017 (English).
  11. as of January 1, 2005
  12. Forest conservation and development in the Intag region, Ecuador . In:, retrieved on September 17, 2014.
  13. Daniel Lingenhöhl: RAW MATERIALS. The Next Oil Crises . In:, retrieved on September 17, 2014.
  14. Philip Franz Fridolin Gondecki: We defend our forest. Dissertation at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Bonn , 2015. urn : nbn:de:hbz:5-38749 . pp. 489, 704-719.
  15. ^ "Ready for REDD" information brochure – REDD activities of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as of August 2011 ( memento of 20 March 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 3.1 MB).
  16. Amazon: Ecuador allows oil drilling in national park. In: Mirror Online . 16 August 2013, retrieved 9 June 2018 .
  17. Ecuador: Parliament allows oil production in 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 14 October 2013 in the Internet Archive ) -, 5 October 2013
  19. Jan Christoph Wiechmann: Poison arrows against a great power - an indigenous people in South America takes on China , Stern of January 10, 2019, online version , retrieved on April 1, 2019.
  20. a b Silvia Ribeiro: Ecuador's government against indigenous people and environmentalists , La Jornada/poonal, Mexico City, January 7, 2017, in [ Collection2010-2016.pdf Amnesty Ecuador, Article Collection 2010 -2016], pp. 1–3.
  21. The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved August 3, 2017 (English).
  22. 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 .
  23. ^ a b c d CIA World Factbook
  24. ^ a b World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved January 13, 2018 .
  25. .  ( page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@2Template: Dead link/
  26. Censo revela aumento de población afro e indígena. El Universo, October 12, 2011, retrieved September 22, 2018 (Spanish).
  27. See, for example, the statement of Blanca Chancoso, Director of the School for the Formation of Female Leaders of CONAIE in Actualidad Étnica , September 25, 2007 ( Memento of April 30, 2008 at the Internet Archive ) (Spanish)
  28. David W. Schodt: Ecuador: an Andean enigma . Westview Press, Boulder 1987, ISBN 0-8133-0230-7 , pp. 3 .
  29. 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] , retrieved 31 July 2020
  30. 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.
  31. ^ See Lois Roberts, The Lebanese In Ecuador: A History Of Emerging Leadership. Westview Press, Boulder (CO) 2000, ISBN 0-8133-3718-6 .
  32. Migration Report 2017. UN, accessed September 30, 2018 .
  33. 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]).
  34. The Issues. In: Education for Ecuador. Archived from the original on January 12, 2011 ; Retrieved 10 March 2010 (English).
  35. The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved July 18, 2017 (English).
  36. ^ a b Ecuador. Archived from the original on October 26, 2007 ; retrieved March 13, 2016 .
  37. Cinco embarazadas entre los 84 infected by the Zika virus in Ecuador. In: El Comercio . March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016 (Spanish).
  38. Source: UN World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved July 18, 2017 .
  39. ^ María Victoria Juárez, Xiomara Navas: Ecuador. In: Dieter Nohlen (ed.): Handbook of election dates in 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.
  40. 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.
  41. Mart Martin, The Almanac of Women and Minorities in World Politics. Westview Press Boulder, Colorado, 2000, p. 116.
  42. - New Parline: the IPU's Open Data Platform (beta). In: Retrieved September 30, 2018 (English).
  43. Jad Adams: Women and the Vote. A World History. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2014, ISBN 978-0-19-870684-7 , pages 315–316
  44. Fragile States Index: Global Data. Fund for Peace , 2020, accessed 23 January 2021 (English).
  45. The Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index. The Economist Intelligence Unit, accessed 6 February 2021 .
  46. Countries and Territories. Freedom House , 2020, accessed 23 January 2021 (English).
  47. 2021 World Press Freedom Index. Reporters Without Borders , 2021, accessed 1 May 2021 (English).
  48. Transparency International (ed.): Corruption Perceptions Index . Transparency International, Berlin 2021, ISBN 978-3-96076-157-0 (English, [PDF]).
  49. Los datos oficiales del TSE confirman el triunfo del Sí ( Memento of January 22, 2013 at web archive ), El Universo (Guayaquil), April 17, 2007 (Spanish)
  50. Leonie Fuhrmann, Ecuador: First cracks in the radiant picture , Telepolis , July 8, 2007.
  51. Tribunal Supremo Electoral, Asambleístas electos ( Memento of 3 March 2008 at the Internet Archive ), retrieved 21 November 2007 (Spanish)
  52. La Asamblea Constituyente de Ecuador suspende el Congreso de forma indefinida , El País , November 30, 2007 (Spanish)
  53. RedGlobe: Constituent Assembly approves text of new Basic Law , July 25, 2008. Ecuador gets new constitution , baz online , September 29, 2008.
  54. 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 3 February 2010 .
  55. Eduardo Gudynas: Political Ecology: Nature in the Constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador. (PDF; 435 kB) In: juridicum 4/2009. April 2009, pp. 214–218 , retrieved 24 January 2010 .
  56. Michael Langer: A new constitution for Ecuador? An Analysis of the Draft Constitution. (PDF; 180 kB) In: Short reports of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation. September 25, 2008, retrieved January 24, 2010 .
  57. La partidocracia y el reciclaje marcan la futura asamblea ( Memento of 22 July 2009 at the Internet Archive ), El Universo, 19 July 2009, pp. 10–11.
  58. TeleSur: Ecuador's Lenin Moreno Defeats Bankers in Presidential Election. ,, April 4, 2017, Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  59. Otto Sonnenholzner – Vicepresidente constitucional de la República del Ecuador , December 11, 2018, accessed December 14, 2018.
  60. CIA Worldfactbook - Ecuador Retrieved November 16, 2017
  61. CIA Worldfactbook - Bolivia Retrieved November 16, 2017
  62. CIA Worldfactbook - Peru Retrieved November 16, 2017
  63. CIA Worldfactbook - Colombia Retrieved November 16, 2017
  64. CIA Worldfactbook - Germany Retrieved November 16, 2017
  65. At a Glance: Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018 Rankings . In: Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018 . ( [accessed 6 December 2017]).
  67. Ecuador: Statistics. UNICEF, retrieved March 13, 2016 .
  68. WHO Statistical Information System (WHOSIS). WHO, accessed 13 March 2016 .
  69. Internet Users by Country (2016) - Internet Live Stats. Retrieved July 18, 2017 (English).
  70. Ecuador officially defaults on part of its foreign debt
  71. a b World Economic Outlook Database for September 2006. International Monetary Fund , accessed 13 March 2016 .
  72. Report for Selected Countries and Subjects. Retrieved March 3, 2018 (US English).
  73. 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, p. 57–60 ( paid online ).
  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 ( paid online ).
  75. Volker Feser: Ecuador . M. Müller, Erlangen 2005, ISBN 3-89953-189-2 , pp. 14–16.
  76. USAid (2005): Microempresas y Micrifinanzas en Ecuador.
  78. Ecuador. (No longer available online.) Amazon Watch, archived from the original on March 14, 2016 ; retrieved 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:Webarchive/IABot/
  79. Telepolis: South American governments defy oil companies for better terms , May 2, 2006.
  80. Rainforest pact: Berlin blocks rescue of jungle paradise , SPIEGEL Online, Nov. 17, 2010.
  81. Larry Sawers, Nontraditional or New Traditional Exports: Ecuador's Flower Boom. 2005
  82. Korovkin: Cut-Flower Exports, Female Labor, and Community Participation in Highland Ecuador. 2003
  83. Central Bank Export Statistics ( Memento of 18 March 2009 at the Internet Archive )
  84. ^ a b Ecuador., retrieved 13 March 2016 .
  85. ^ a b The World Factbook
  86. Report for Selected Countries and Subjects. Retrieved July 18, 2017 (US English).
  87. Peter Sonnenberg: On rails through the Andes (TV film). einsfestival, 12 July 2015, retrieved 30 March 2015 .
  88. International. US Energy Information Administration (EIA) Retrieved March 13, 2016 .
  89. Nelson Gómez E.: Nuevo Atlas del Ecuador . Edugquias, Quito 2004, ISBN 9978-89-009-2 , p. 53; Atlas of the Earth
  90. Censorship with a difference , NZZ, April 29, 2017
  91. Critical newspaper article from La Opción ( Memento of January 9, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  92. Spanish-language article in "El Telegrafo" about Camacho's participation in the 2020 Olympic Games

Coordinates: 1° 28′  S , 78° 49′  W