Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador, is bordered by Colombia, Peru and the Pacific Ocean. Along with the mainland, the country also includes the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific, which are about 620 miles west of the mainland.
Ecuador has a very ethnically diverse population. As of 2014, the largest ethnic group remains Mestizos, descendants of Spanish colonists and indigenous people, who make up 71.9% of the population. Amerindians account for nearly 7% of the population, while Afro-Ecuadorians, who live mostly in Imbabura and Esmeraldas provinces, make up 7% of the population. White people of European descent make up 12.% of Ecuador's population.
Most of the ethnic groups of Ecuador descend from the Spanish colonists and South American Indians, as the mixture of these two groups created the Mestizo category. Afro-Ecuadorians are descendants of black slaves who arrived in the country to work on plantations in the 16th century. Until the 1950's, the geography of ethnicity in Ecuador remained very well-defined until a jump in migration.
Just decades ago, most Mestizos lived in small rural towns in the countryside, Indians made up the majority of the rural Sierra population, black residents lived in Esmeraldas, Carchi and Imbabura provinces while the white population resided mostly in the large cities. Due primarily to pressure on the Sierra land resources, Indians began migrating to the cities and many began switching their ethnic identity to Mestizo beginning in the 1980's.
Ecuador Religion, Economy and Politics
Ecuador has a long history with Christianity, and it remains the prominent religion today, but it is not the power that it once was. Catholicism was named the official religion in 1869, but in 1899 a revised constitution allowed for more religious freedom. Today 79% of the population is Roman Catholic, 11% are Protestant, and the majority of the remaining 10% of the population is atheist or agnostic.
Oil is by far the most prominent industry in Ecuador, and they experienced a significant economic boost during the 2007-2014, but have been struggling to find their feet in the years since. The economy is still growing slightly, but not at the rates of the boom. In March of 2019, the International Monetary Fund approved $10 billion US dollars in support.
Ecuador Population History
Ecuador has been its own nation, free from Spain, since 1830. This was followed by a long period of internal conflict due to conflicting ideologies within the newly forming government. However, Ecuador has managed to stay out of any major disputes with other nations, save a minor border war with Peru in 1981. The rate of growth was close to 3%, for most of the 1900s until it began to gradually slow during the 1908s, coming down to 2% around 2000.