Tuesday, 3 April 2012



Ecuador is across the equator and has active volcanoes and the people and history are affected.
There is great evidence that Ecuador was inhabited well before the Incas and by people who had a great culture. They built stone palaces, temples and roads, The Incas invaded the country some time after 1450 AD from Peru. The Incas fought civil wars and that enable the Spaniard to move into Ecuador. Francisco Pizarro founded the capitol Quito in 1534.
Ecuador became independent in 1822 from Spain and with Venezuela they formed the Republic of Colombia. However, it only lasted till 1830 and Ecuador became a republic again. Till 1979 they had a military government and then a president was elected to lead the country.
In Ecuador the military governments were not as terrible as in other countries and therefore it is highly respected. One political problem Ecuador had which was a border dispute with Peru.
Ecuador is between two countries, Peru in the south and Colombia in the north. In the west is the Pacific Ocean. The Andes Mountains are right through the middle of the country for 720km. In some place they are as high as 6000m. The peaks covered with snow all year round. In the Andes are 30 active volcanoes and one of the highest is Cotopaxi with 5900m. It is the worlds' highest active volcano and destroyed the nearby town three times. These active volcanoes also mean that there is underground movement and Ecuador has regular earthquakes.
Between the two ranges of the Andes is a high plateau. It is divided into valleys and the climate is quite mild there. On the eastern side of the mountains is dense rainforest and there is also the start of the river Amazon. Between the foothills of the mountains and the coast are the plains with a hot climate all year round. Most of the population live there.
The rainforests have a great wildlife. They are home of brightly coloured birds, such as parrots, tanager finches and tiny hummingbirds. Big cats, such as pumas and jaguars, and tapirs, monkeys, Caymans and boa constrictors live there. In the mountains live Llamas and alpacas with the condor vulture flying high above.
The native South American Indians live mostly outside the cities. They speak their own tribal language. The one who live in the highland wear their traditional bright coloured blankets to keep out the cold.
In the cities live mostly the mestizos who are of mixed blood, Indian and Spaniards. You will find about 10% black people who are descendants of the African Slave and 9% white people who are descendants of Spaniards.
On the coastal plains coffee, sugar-cane, cacao, bananas and rubber are grown. Ecuador is the world's leading exporter of bananas but also export coffee, shrimps and cacao.
Oil is a very important export for Ecuador but, unfortunately, the pollution effects shrimp trade. In 1980 Ecuador was badly affected by the world-wide slum. In 1992 the country left OPEC to be able to produce as much oil as possible. The Indians wanting to sue one of the oil companies because they polluting their drinking water.
Panama hats are not made in Panama as the names suggests. They are made in Ecuador woven from the toquilla plant.
The Galapagos Islands lying 1100km off the coast of Ecuador but are part of the country. They also have volcanoes. A fascinating and unique wildlife exists there. The marine iguana is just one of the unusual species. Charles Darwin visited the island and with that their wildlife was highlighted. It is now a national park. The name derived from a Spanish word meaning giant tortoise which was seen when the first European visited the islands. 

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