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Ecuador Essay, Research Paper

Ecuador, South America s second smallest country, is regarded as one of the most geographically and ethnically diverse countries on the continent. This culture-rich country is largely uncharted, making it an exciting and adventurous place to visit. Simply learning about this country is a remarkable experience.

The first civilized culture to arrive in Ecuador was the Incas. In 1532, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro landed on the coast and had gained power over the area within two years. Ecuador received its independence from Spain in the 1820 s and became its own country in 1830. Ever since, small rivalries have appeared in the country as well as several border controversies with Peru. In the 1970 s, the present constitution was put into effect as well as a new ruling system. Despite a still corrupt political system, the economy began to strengthen. As of January 22, 2000, attempts were being made to replace Ecuadorian sucres with United States dollars.

Ecuador is located in the northwest corner of South America. The equator runs across the country, a fact that gives Ecuador its name. The country is so geographically diverse that the climates can range from 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Ecuador s land makeup is truly a wonder.

The geography of Ecuador can be split into four regions: the Andes, the Amazon, the Coast, and the Galapagos Islands. The Andes, a mountain range that spans the entire length of South America, runs through the center of Ecuador and consists of one of the world s tallest volcanoes, Cotopaxi. Because of its year round ideal climate, the mountains are popular to travelers at all times of the year. The Amazon is located to the east of the Andes and covers over half the country. Here you will find most of Ecuador s indigenous people. To the west of the Andes is the Coast, which is a three hundred mile stretch of beautiful oceanfront. The main inhabitants here are Africans whose ancestors washed upon the shore after escaping slavery in Columbia. About six hundred miles west of the Coast are the Galapagos Islands, peaks of underwater volcanoes supporting the world s most assorted wildlife population. Charles Darwin used the islands as a laboratory to derive his theory of evolution.

Because of its variant geography, Ecuador has a wide range of natural resources that provide for a very diverse economy. Most people in the country are farmers working on larger plantations or haciendas. Some of their leading crops include rice, coffee, and potatos. Ecuador is the largest exporter of bananas in the world. Although the largest area of the economy is agriculture, Ecuador has experienced fast economic growth in other areas. Since the Amazon covers 40 percent of the country, the country produces various wood products such as furniture. The seafood industry is known for its high quality catches of shrimp and fish. Because of the long stretch of coast and the water encircling the Galapagos Islands, it is no wonder why this is true. Despite the protests of many native groups, the oil industry is becoming increasingly larger in Ecuador. This industry has accounted for most of the country s income since 1970.

Besides being famous for its extrinsic fruits and fabulous seafood, Ecuador boasts many local dishes. The country takes pride in its soups. Some of their soups can be as strange as tronquito, bull penis soup, or yaguarlocro, potato soup that contains drops of blood. Another strange dish is the roasted cuy, a plate consisting of guinea pig. Many dishes in Ecuador include avocado. One such dish is the seco de pollo, which contains stewed chicken, rice, and avocado. In the larger cities, one can find food that he or she is native to eating. The country s only McDonald s is located in Quito, Ecuador s capital city.

Ranging from Caucasians to Indigenous people, Ecuador s population is very assorted. The Caucasian s lives are very much like those of Americans. Most of them live in the large cities in Ecuador and also account for most of the country s wealth and importance. The indigenous people, also called Indians, make up 35 percent of the country s population. They can mostly be found in the Amazon. It is these people that are the holders of Ecuador s history and culture.

The Quichua, Huaorani, Shuar, and Achuar are among the 40 different indigenous groups residing in the country. They are by far the most exciting and mysterious aspects of Ecuador. Several of these nations refuse contact with outsiders, fearing the corruption and annihilation of their sacred culture. Other groups, however, welcome newcomers into their fascinating world. Even the larger cities keep the traditions and culture alive, giving Ecuador its distinct individuality.

One group who refuses contact with anyone are the Tagaeri, a sub-group of the Huaorani. These mysterious people stay in isolation, continuing the way of life which they have abided by for hundreds of years. When two Catholic missionaries attempted to confront the people in 1987, the result was fatal. For five years the group was not seen. The last sighting of the group was from a plane as it was flying over the jungle. Ethnic groups such as these make Ecuador the exhilarating and adventurous country it is today.

As one can see, Ecuador can easily be called one of the most diverse countries on the Earth. The sacredness of the culture and the adventurous geographical aspects make Ecuador a country like no other. Because of its variance, it seems as though God created the country as a mini model of the world, including wildlife and land forms that cannot be found in any other one place. Diverse is the greatest word to characterize Ecuador.

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