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An Introduction to the Republic of Ecuador

Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador (Spanish: República del Ecuador, which literally translates to the Republic of the Equator) is a representative democratic republic in South America. Ecuador is bordered by Colombia to the north, Peru to the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Map of Ecuador

Map of Ecuador

Ecuador is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border with Brazil. The country also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland.

Ecuador straddles the equator, from which it takes its name, and has an area of 272,046 km2 (109,483 sq mi). Its capital city is Quito, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the 1970s for having the best preserved and least altered historic centre in Latin America.

The country’s largest city is Guayaquil. The historic centre of Cuenca, the third largest city in the country, was also declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 for being an outstanding example of a planned inland Spanish style colonial city in the Americas.

Ecuador is also home, despite its size, to a great variety of species — many of them endemic, like those of the Galápagos islands. This species diversity makes Ecuador one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world. The new constitution of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights.

Ecuador is a presidential republic and became independent in 1830, after having been part of the Spanish colonial empire and the republic of Gran Colombia. It is a medium-income country with an HDI score of 0.695 (2010) and about 35.1% of its population lives below the poverty line.

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Coat of arms of Ecuador

The coat of arms of Ecuador (Spanish: Escudo de armas del Ecuador) in its current form was established in 1900 based on an older version of 1845.

Blazon

Coat of Arms of Ecuador

Coat of Arms of Ecuador

In the background of the oval shield is the mount Chimborazo, while the river originating from its base represents the Guayas. They both symbolize the beauty and wealth of the respective regions (Sierra or Costa).

The ship on the river is named Guayas as well. In 1841 it was built in Guayaquil and was the first seaworthy steamship built on the South American west coast.

Instead of a mast it features a Caduceus representing trade and economy. On top a golden sun surrounded by the astrological signs for Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer representing the months March to July to symbolize the duration of the March Revolution of 1845.

The condor on top of thea shield stretches his wings to symbolize power, greatness and strength of Ecuador. The shield is flanked by four flags of Ecuador. The laurel on the left represents the victories of the republic. The palm leaf on the right side is a symbol of the martyrs of the fight for independence and liberty. The Fasces below the shield represents the republican dignity.

Usage

The coat of arms is used by the President, the parliament, the ministries and several other authorities and public institutions. It is part of the flag, and used on many coins and bills of the former currency Sucre and the coins used today, Centavos del dólar of Ecuadorian mintage.

History

The shield was introduced after the victory of the liberal revolution of 1845, but then flanked by white-blue-white flags; which where then replaced in the reintroduction of the Tricolor flags. The coat of arms in its current form was approved by congress on October 31, 1900.

Free Province of Guayaquil 1820

Free Province of Guayaquil (1820)

Gran Colombia (1821-1830)

Gran Colombia (1821-1830)

Ecuador (1830 - 1835)

Ecuador (1830 – 1835)

Ecuador (1835 - 1843)

Ecuador (1835 – 1843)

Ecuador (1843 - 1845)

Ecuador (1843 – 1845)

Ecuador (1845 - 1900)

Ecuador (1845 – 1900)

  1. Flag of Ecuador