July 6, 2022
Ecuador (pronounced in European Portuguese: [ekwɐˈdoɾ, ikwɐˈdoɾ]; pronounced in Brazilian Portuguese: [ekwaˈdoʁ]; in Spanish: Ecuador, pronounced: [ekwaˈðor]), officially the Republic of Ecuador (Spanish: República del Ecuador), is a republic representative democracy located in South America bordered on the north by Colombia, on the east and south by Peru and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. It is one of two countries in the region that do not share borders with Brazil, other than Chile. In addition to the mainland, Ecuador also has the Galápagos Islands, about 1,000 km from the mainland, being the closest country to those islands. Its territory of 256,370 km² is cut in half by the imaginary line of the Equator. The main language spoken in the country is Spanish (94% of the population). Among the official languages in native communities are Quechua, Shuar and eleven other languages. Its capital is the city of San Francisco de Quito, commonly known as Quito, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1970 for having the best preserved and least altered historic center in Latin America. The largest Ecuadorian city, however, is Guayaquil. The historic center of Cuenca, the third largest city in the country, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 as a remarkable example of a planned, colonial Spanish-style city in the American countryside. The country is home to a wide variety of species. endemic, many of them in the Galapagos Islands. This diversity of species makes Ecuador one of the seventeen megadiverse countries in the world, being considered the country with the greatest biodiversity in the world by unit of area. The new 2008 constitution is the first in the world to legally recognize the rights of nature, or ecosystems. Ecuador is a presidential republic. It became independent in 1830, after having been part of the Spanish colonial empire and, for a much shorter time, the Republic of Gran Colombia. The country has a medium income, with a human development index (HDI) of 0.724 (2012), a score considered high by the United Nations.