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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Ecuador

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What is now Ecuador formed part of the northern Inca Empire until the Spanish conquest in 1533. Quito became a seat of Spanish colonial government in 1563 and part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. The territories of the Viceroyalty - New Granada (Colombia), Venezuela, and Quito - gained their independence between 1819 and 1822 and formed a federation known as Gran Colombia. When Quito withdrew in 1830, the traditional name was changed in favor of the "Republic of the Equator." Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999. Although Ecuador marked 25 years of civilian governance in 2004, the period has been marred by political instability. Protests in Quito have contributed to the mid-term ouster of Ecuador's last three democratically elected Presidents. In 2007, a Constituent Assembly was elected to draft a new constitution; Ecuador's twentieth since gaining independence. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

Ecuador is substantially dependent on its petroleum resources, which have accounted for more than half of the country's export earnings and one-fourth of public sector revenues in recent years. in 1999/2000, ecuador suffered a severe economic crisis, with gdp contracted by more than 6%, with a significant increase in poverty. the banking system also collapsed, and ecuador defaulted on its external debt later that year. in march 2000, congress approved a series of structural reforms that also provided for the adoption of the us dollar as legal tender. dollarization stabilized the economy, and positive growth returned in the years that followed, helped by high oil prices, remittances, and increased non-traditional exports. from 2002-06 the economy grew 5.5%, the highest five-year average in 25 years. the poverty rate declined but remained high at 38% in 2006. in 2006 the government of alfredo palacio (2005-07) seized the assets of occidental petroleum for alleged contract violations and imposed a windfall revenue tax on foreign oil companies, leading to the suspension of free trade negotiations with the us. these measures, combined with chronic underinvestment in the state oil company, petroecuador, led to a drop in petroleum production in 2007. palacio's successor, rafael correa, raised the specter of debt default - but ecuador has paid its debt on time. he also decreed a higher windfall revenue tax on private oil companies, then sought to renegotiate their contracts to overcome the debilitating effect of the tax. this generated economic uncertainty; private investment has dropped and economic growth has slowed significantly.

Environmental Issues

Deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the amazon basin and galapagos islands

Government Type



13,927,650 (july 2008 est.)


Western south america, bordering the pacific ocean at the equator, between colombia and peru


Total: 283,560 sq km land: 276,840 sq km water: 6,720 sq km note: includes galapagos islands

Slightly smaller than nevada

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: republic of ecuador conventional short form: ecuador local long form: republica del ecuador local short form: ecuador


Name: quito geographic coordinates: 0 13 s, 78 30 w time difference: utc-5 (same time as washington, dc during standard time)

Military Service

20 years of age for selective conscript military service; 12-month service obligation (2008)

International Disputes

Organized illegal narcotics operations in colombia penetrate across ecuador's shared border, which thousands of colombians also cross to escape the violence in their home country

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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