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Ecuador:
Geography

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Background
Definition
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.
Location
Definition
Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean at the Equator, between Colombia and Peru
Geographic coordinates
Definition
2 00 S, 77 30 W
Map references
Definition
South America
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 283,560 sq km
land: 276,840 sq km
water: 6,720 sq km
note: includes Galapagos Islands
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Nevada
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 2,010 km
border countries: Colombia 590 km, Peru 1,420 km
Coastline
Definition
2,237 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 200 nm
continental shelf: 100 nm from 2,500-m isobath
Climate
Definition
tropical along coast, becoming cooler inland at higher elevations; tropical in Amazonian jungle lowlands
Terrain
Definition
coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Chimborazo 6,267 m
Natural resources
Definition
petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 5.71%
permanent crops: 4.81%
other: 89.48% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
8,650 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
432 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 16.98 cu km/yr (12%/5%/82%)
per capita: 1,283 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
frequent earthquakes, landslides, volcanic activity; floods; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution; pollution from oil production wastes in ecologically sensitive areas of the Amazon Basin and Galapagos Islands
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
Cotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in world


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