The Republic of Ecuador, which also includes the Galapagos Islands, is a presidential constitutional republic located in South America. Ecuador, which declared its independence in 1830, is the only country on the continent, alongside Chile, that does not share a border with Brazil.
The country’s capital is Quito, but the largest city is Guayaquil. Other large cities include Cuenca, Santo Domingo, and Machala.
The country’s current currency is the United States Dollar (USD), which was adopted in 2001. Prior to that, the Ecuadorians were using a currency called sucre, which is Spanish for sugar. Spanish is the main official language in Ecuador, as 94% of its 15 million people speak it. Nonetheless, there are other 13 official languages in the country, mainly used in the native communities.
For the past decade, Ecuador’s economy has been on a steady rise, while poverty rates have dropped significantly. Much of the country’s economy is sustained by oil exports. In addition, Ecuador is the world’s largest producer and exporter of bananas. Other major exports include cocoa, coffee, seafood, and sugar cane.
Ecuador features three main climates. The Pacific coast has a tropical climate, the Andes highlands have a more temperate climate, while the Amazon basin has a climate similar to that of other rainforests. According to Conservation International, Ecuador is the country with the most biodiversity per square kilometre in the world. In 2008, when its new constitution was enacted, Ecuador became the first country to declare that nature has rights.