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By: Troy Lavigne (General Info), Wes Friant (History), Krysta Zweifel (entertainment), and Hannah Claxton (Cuisine)
File:Flag of Ecuador.svg
Ecuador or The Republic of Ecuador is a country on the pacific coast of northern South America. The name Republic of Ecuador when translated means the republic of the Equator because the country lies on the Equator (Wikipedia). It is a smaller country with the area of about 99,000 square miles (CIA Factbook). The country is split into 3 regions the coast, the mountains, and the rainforest (Wikipedia). The coast is the western ¼ of the country and is the mainly populated part of the country. The Andes Mountains take up another ¼ of the country and run down the middle and western part of the country. The rainforest takes up a little under ½ of the country and is the eastern part of the country. The last region is the
located off the pacific coast.. The climate is a tropical climate and is warm year round except in the higher elevations of the Andes Mountains.
The People and Background
The population of Ecuador is about 14,573,100 people. The majority of the people speak Spanish and about 55% are of the Mestizo ethnic background. As for the other ethnic backgrounds 24% are Amerindian, 16% are white, and 5% are African (Wikipedia). The capital of Ecuador is Quito; it is the largest and second most populated city in Ecuador (Wikipedia). The majority of the people of the country are between 15 and 64 years of age. 91% of the population is able to read unlike most of their neighbors in Central America (CIA Factbook).
95% of the Ecuadorians are Roman Catholic. As for the other religions 4% are Protestants and there are about 500 members in the Jewish community.
The government of Ecuador is a democratic government.
The first president of Ecuador after the new constitution was Jaime Roldos Aguilera (Wikipedia). In 1972 the military junta over threw the government and remained in power until 1976. In1979 Ecuador was returned to democratic government and held their first elections under their new constitution. The government consists of an executive branch made up of 25 ministries, the governors and counselors are elected directly. The current president of Ecuador is
(CIA Factbook). He was elected in 2006.
Like the US, Ecuador is currently in an economic slump. Ecuador’s economy flourishes on their main exports of fish, petroleum, timber, and gold. Ecuador also has a rich
. This includes tropical fruits, corn, rice, bananas, sugar, coffee, and flowers (Wikipedia). Due to the decrease in value of the sucre, which is the national currency, in 2000 the Ecuadorian government decided to use the US dollar as a legal tender (CIA Factbook).
A majority of the people in Ecuador work as farmers. A majority of the rest of the people work in the oil industry. Oil is one of the top exports in Ecuador. Most of the imports going into Ecuador come from the US.
General Info Bibliogrpahies
The history of Ecuador is extended over a 9,000 year time period, and can be divided into five eras. There is the Pre-Colombian Era, The Conquest, The Colonial Period, The War of Independence and the Republican Era. (Wikipedia) Ecuador’s history starts off with a variety of cultures, followed by the Incan invasion. The Incas were followed closely by the arrival of the conquistadors, or the Spanish Conquests. Then the Spanish would found modern day Quito and Guayaquil as part of the Colonial Period which lasted until the war of Independence. (Wikipedia)
It is believed that Asian nomads reached the South American continent in 12,000 B.C. and they were joined by Polynesian colinisers. Warfare and alliances resulted in Duchicela lineage, which ruled for about 150 years untill the arrival of the
around 1450. (ecuaworld.com) With the help of strong leadership and policies of intermarriages, the conquering Incas soon held the region. War over the inheritance of the new Inca kingdom weakened and divided the region on the eve of the arrival of the Spanish Invaders. (ecuaworld.com)
The first Spaniards landed in northern Ecuador in 1526.
reached Ecuador in 1532 and spread terror among the Indians due to the conquistadors’ horses, armour, and weapons. (ecuaworld.com) The Inca leader Atahualpa was executed and the empire was demolished. Quito held out for 2 years but was demolished by Atahualpa’s general Ruminahui rather than lose it to the invading Spaniards. After the Inca Empire’s defeat in 1534, the Spanish colonists became the new ruling elite of Ecuador. (ecuaworld.com)
The city of Guayaquil liberated itself from the Spanish and achieved independence on October 9th, 1820 through the Venezuelan liberator
under the request of one of Bolivar's Generals Antonio Jose de Sucre who used the city as his main base. (The Best of Ecuador.com) It took a further 2 years for the complete liberation of the country through a battle in the hills of Pichincha volcano in May 24th, 1822 against the Spanish royalist army. Bolivar’s dream was to combine Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador to form a federation called Gran Colombia. However this only lasted 8 years until Ecuador split away and earned its own independence in 1830. (The Best of Ecuador.com)
The first years of the Republic were marked by instability and power struggles. History was made starting with the first President, Venezuelan born General Juan Jose Flores. During his rule the first constitution was written and Quito was chosen as the official capital of Ecuador. (ecuaworld.com) Discontent had become nationwide by 1845, when an insurrection in Guayaquil forced Flores from the country. Because their movement triumphed in March, the anti-Flores coalition members became known as marcistas. They were an extremely heterogeneous lot that included liberal intellectuals, conservative clergymen, and representatives from Guayaquil's successful business community. (Wikipedia)
The next fifteen years constituted one of the most turbulent periods in Ecuador's century and a half as a nation. The marcistas fought among themselves almost ceaselessly and also had to struggle against Flores's repeated attempts from exile to overthrow the government. However the most significant figure of the era was, General Jose Maria Urbina who first came to power in 1851 and remained in power until presidency until 1860. (Wikipedia) Urbina gave freedom to all the slaves of Ecuador and declared that all Ecuadorians have equal rights. In 1860 Gabriel Garcia Moreno changed the country and an era of conservatism arose with support from the catholic church which lasted until 1895. (Wikipedia) In order become a citizen you had to have been 21 years of age, married, and had to be literite.
Towards the end of the 19th Century under the guidance of Eloy Alfaro there was a liberal take over, mainly through cocoa exports which gave the country a large economic boost and movement into a more capitalistic approach and away from the more conservative rule of the church. (The Best of Ecuador.com) Throughout the 1900’s the main exports changed from bananas, to oil. Ecuador’s most recent period of democracy began in 1979, when President Jaime Roldos Aguilera was elected. But he died in a mysterious airplane crash in 1981 and his vice president Oswaldo Hurtado finished his time in office. (The Best of Ecuador.com) The election of 1996 election was very important for Ecuador, there were two firebrand politicians from Guayquil, both known for their brash, macho attitudes. However the populist Abdala Bucaram prevailed. He received about 54% of the vote and was nicknamed ‘El Loco’ (The Madman) for his fiery, curse-laden style of oration and his penchant for performing at rock concerts as part of his campaign. (Lonely Planet) After Bucaram was ousted, his vice president, Rosalía Arteaga, became Ecuador’s first female president, albeit for fewer than two days. Congress voted overwhelmingly to replace her with Fabián Alarcón, the head of congress. He led the government until elections were held again in 1998, when quiteño Jamil Mahuad of the Popular Democracy party defeated businessman Alvaro Noboa by less than 5% of the popular vote. (Lonely Planet)
Mahuad had his political savvy put to the test. The effects of a nasty El Niño and the sagging oil market of 1997–98 sent the economy into a tailspin in 1999, the same year shrimp exports dropped by 80% following devastating shrimp diseases. The sucre depreciated from about 6000 per US dollar at the start of 1999 to about 25,000 by January 2000. When inflation topped 60% – making Ecuador’s the worst in Latin America – the embattled president took drastic measures: he pinned Ecuador’s economic survival on dollarization, a process whereby Ecuador’s unstable national currency would be replaced by the US dollar. (Lonely Planet)
The current Government has to this day maintained the course of dollarization program and although inflation has doubled over the past couple of years since its conception it is fair to say the economy has maintained an equilibrium in comparison to some of the previous decades. In addition the Current Government has successfully negotiated a US $2B loan from IMF, financial sources while Noboa also in August 2000 successfully negotiated a bond exchange program against its international creditors. (The Best of Ecuador.com)
Just like every country, Ecuador has their favorite meals and cuisine customs. They may be different but Ecuadorians eat in nearly the same manner as Americans do. They have appetizers, main dishes, and deserts(Cultures of the World-Ecuador). The difference is what they eat. Mostly Ecuadorians eat fried food. Their favorite is rice or potatoes in which they eat with nearly every meal(Ecuador food - local cuisine - Galapagos Islands meals). Some traditional meals are humitas (sweet corn tomales),
(meat filled pastries), choclos (ears of corn toasted in fat), lechon (suckling pig), and cuy (guinea pig)(Favorite Dishes). Other than meals Ecuadorians eat yummy fruit like mangos, papayas, melons, tamarinds, custard apples and passion fruit, naranjilla, and bananas (yellow, mini, green, and red)(Country Information), or
pastel de tres leches
. Finally they make tasty drinks as far as boiled coffee, hot api made from ground corn, and
come y bebe
Ecuadorians have very different times of eating. They eat a very light breakfast; such as a white bread roll with white cheese, juice and coffee, and occasionally an egg(Cultures of the World-Ecuador-Mealtimes). The middle meal is the largest of the day and the most important. It includes at least three courses. They begin with a soup, followed by the main dish (a thick stew or a fish or chicken, also includes a light salad or a side dish of boiled broad beans or other vegetables) usually accompanied by rice and potatoes. The lunch then concludes with the dessert, serving of fruit, flan (caramel custard), or sweeten, fried plantains(Cultures of the World-Ecuador-Food). They finally end their day with a light evening meal which consists of no more than grilled cheese sandwiches, or flour or corn pancakes.
Ecuador has many delicious meals. Some popular ones are as follows: Pollo en salsa de almendras, which is chicken in egg and almond sauce. Fanesca, this is a spring soup. Other meals include, braised and pan-fried pork, Ecuadorian corn and purple potato salad, Sopa de tomates con platanos, which is tomato soup with bananas, lettuce and potato salad, and traditional black bean soup(Country Information). Most Ecuadorians love to eat all of those meals and more.
Not only do Ecuadorians enjoy eating in the comfort of their own home or even at restaurants, but also at parties. These parties usually start at about 8:00 P.M. with drinks and appetizers. Then dinner may not start until 11:00 P.M. or midnight. Because these parties run so late, breakfast may be served before the last guest leaves(Ediplomat-Dining and Entertainment). Dinner parties are considered social events and Ecuadorians surly enjoy their meal times.
Everyone likes to eat at a restaurant from time to time and Ecuador has some great choices(Exclusive Restaurants-Ecuador). One of which is Al Portico. This restaurant has a taste of Italy to it with a beautiful garden landscape(Al Portico-Exclusive Restaurants). Another wonderful restaurant is Café Cultura. This is a hotel and a restaurant which serves bistro style cuisine with freshly baked bread and homemade jam(Café Cultura-Exclusive Restaurants). La choza is also a good Ecuador restaurant. Here you will see ancient family recipes with modern taste(La choza-Exclusive Restaurants). Finally another delicious restaurant is Regine’s. This is an authentic German restaurant. Not only do you get a lot of Ecuador taste but other cultures too. Regine’s re-opened after the eruption of the Jungurahua Volcano. Regine’s also sits at the foot of the Chamana Waterfall(Regine’s-Exclusive Restaurants)
In Ecuador cooking doesn’t need any special preparations, other than preparing for meals. The most time consuming meal is complicated soups because they may boil for hours(Cultures of the World-Ecuador-Food). Also local sauces, mixtures, and herbs need time. In Ecuador the meats are usually roasted or fried in salt, garlic, or cumin(The Kole’s trip to Ecuador). Most of the methods used to cook Ecuadorian food are grilling, broiling, and frying; which don’t take much time(Ecuador Cusine).
People in Ecuador enjoy their many forms of entertainment. Some are devoted to playing or watching sports. The country’s national sport is futbol, also known as soccer. This is the most popular sport in Ecuador (Football in Ecuador). Ecuador qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup (Fascinating Facts About Ecuador). The locals are very enthused with their love for futbol. Some famous futbol athletes that have come out of Ecuador include
, Alberto Spencer, Jose Cevallos, Ariel Graziani, and many more (Football in Ecuador).
Tennis is also a popular sport in this country. Two of the best tennis players have come from Ecuador. Pancho Segura was one of the best players in the 40s and 50s. Andres Gomez was also one of the best tennis players. He was in the 1990 French Open final (Fascinating Facts About Ecuador). Gomez was also one of the Third World’s most famous athletes in the 80s and early 90s. Some other famous Ecuadorian tennis athletes include Miguel Olver, Giovanni Lapentti, Nicolas Lapentti, and Luis Morejon (Tennis in Ecuador).
Volleyball in Ecuador is played differently than it is in North America. In Ecuador the ball is heavier and there are only three players on a team (Volleyball in Ecuador). Ecuador also has a sport called Pelota National or paddleball (Ecuador Sports). This is usually played by older people. There are two teams that hit a ball back and forth and a third team tries to stop it.
Children in Ecuador have their own games for entertainment. They play with marbles, skip rope, hopscotch, and play card games (Art and Culture, Ecuador). The children also play a guessing game called Rayuelz. There is also a sing-along game called La Ronda.
Many of the sports in Ecuador also include basketball, bullfighting, mountain biking, motor biking, surfing, track and field, and swimming (Ecuador Sports).
Arts and crafts are also an entertainment for the people in Ecuador. Some of these arts include wood carving, painting, weaving, and bread figures (Ecuador Art). At first only churches used wood carving, but then it was spread throughout the country (Ecuador Arts & Crafts). Rich families used wood carving for chairs, benches, chests, and mirrors. San Antonio de Ibarra is considered the most important woodcarving center in South America (Ecuador Arts & Crafts).
Another form of art is weaving, which was brought to Ecuador by the Spanish (Ecuador Art). Weaving is used in making the
. This hat has been made in Ecuador for more than a hundred years (Ecuador Art). Weaving is also used to make bags like backpacks and tote bags.
One of the most unique and popular types of art are bread figures. This was started from a tradition on All Souls Day. On this day people would make small dolls made of bread called “guaguas de pan”. These dolls were made in shapes of men, women, and donkeys (Ecuador Arts & Crafts). The dolls were offered to the souls of the dead. Eventually these dolls were given to children and friends as gifts.
The music of Ecuador is one of the most accepted in Hispanic countries. Pasillo is one of the more popular music styles (Ecuador Music). You could find this music present at many parties. Pasillo originated along the Ecuadorian coast.
was one of the many artists that used this type of music style.
Another popular music style is Sanjuanito. This style has a more native tone (Ecuador Music). Sanjuanito originated as a cultural expression of the indigenous tribes in the Andes deserts. This music style has more of a happier tone, is very danceable, and is very old (Ecuador Music). Sanjuanito is still popular in house and street parties. Most of the time these type of songs are accompanied by traditional dancers.
Rockola music is another type of music style. His music style gains popularity everyday. Rockola makes a good representation of Ecuadorian life (Ecuador Music). These songs are about love, migration of relatives to other countries, and has a lot of social content. The people of Ecuador can relate more to Rockola.
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