Ecuador was inhabited by many native tribes such as the Timor before being annexed by the Inca Empire. Later, Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro claimed the area as part of the Viceroyalty of Peru for the Spanish crown, later separating it. After almost 300 years of colonial rule, Simón Bolívar made Ecuador a part of the Republic of Gran Colombia. Ecuador separated in 1830. In the late 19th century, demand for Ecuadorian cocoa beans suddenly arose, immensely helping Ecuador's economy. In 1895, revolutionary leader Eloy Alfaro decentralized the government. However, Ecuador fell back into military rule in 1925. Through the 1930's and 1940's, Ecuador was ruled by José María Velasco Ibarra.
In 1941, war broke out between Peru and Ecuador over control of the Amazon basin. Fighting ended with the Rio Protocol which was overseen by the United States. Ecuador suffered significant losses including its border with Brazil. In 1960, foreign investment in oil contributed to the Ecuadorian economy. However, that year, Ecuador slipped back into military rule, and this lasted until 1979, with the election of Jaime Roldós Aguilera. There were impressive indicators of economic growth between 1972 and 1979: the government budget expanded some 540 percent, whereas exports as well as per capita income increased a full 500 percent. Industrial development had also progressed, stimulated by the new oil wealth as well as Ecuador's preferential treatment under the provisions of the Andean Common Market, of which Ecuador was a founder in 1990.
When Roldós died in an airplane accident, Osvaldo Hurtado, his successor, was faced with immediate economic crisis brought on by the sudden end of the petroleum boom upon coming to power in 1981. He was unable to tame the economy before doomsday, facing immense hyperinflation and foreign debt.
Ecuador was not hit during Doomsday. However, Doomsday forced Ecuador to make significant economic reforms. Ecuador needed to reduce dependence on the oil industry. It was forced to stop all foreign borrowing. Hurtado, despite being highly unpopular for his socialistic economic policy, is credited for consolidating Ecuador's democratic political system under tremendously difficult conditions.
Hurtado was succeeded with the election of León Febres Cordero, who pursued a more laissez-faire economic policy, in addition to cracking down on drug trafficking and terrorism. His tenure was marred by bitter wrangling with other branches of Government and his own brief kidnapping by elements of the military. A devastating earthquake in March 1987 interrupted oil exports and worsened the country's economic problems. In addition, Ecuador was seriously affected by the economic crises of its neighbour to the south Peru.
In 1990, Ecuador becomes a founding member of the Andean Union. Despite decaying relations with the Republic of Peru, Ecuador wished to be a part of the countries that would soon become one of the most powerful economic forces in the world. This action was the only action that prevented Ecuador from falling onto among the worst economic crises in its history.
In 1996, Abdalá Bucáram was elected president of Ecuador. He was supported by many left-wing groups who felt threatened by Peru's growing economic power. Peru had found its way out of its economic crisis by 1992, but Ecuador remained as one of the Andean Union's poorest nations. Tension between the left wing in Ecuador and the right wing in Peru exploded when a group of dissidents attacked the former Japanese embassy in Lima. Bucáram responded by secretly backing the rebels, hoping to remove Alberto Fujimori from power and instate a left-wing government.
Ecuador's Civil War commenced in 1997, when the terrorist group Alianza de la Patria y la Liberdad (ALP) began guerrilla warfare in Quito. The ALP was a right-wing group led by Vladimiro Montesinos, Peruvian government leader in exile, who had connections to the Fujimori government. Both Peru and Ecuador complained to the Andean Union that the other party was waging war, but the complexity of the war and the inability of each party to prove the other's involvement caused the Andean Union to rule both parties as innocent.
Unlike in Peru, the conflict never became an ethnic struggle, leading to a short period of relative calm outside occasional guerrilla attacks during 1998. Ecuador took advantage of Peru's weakness to further polarize the conflict in Peru. An influential Chinese professor from the city of Piura was chosen by the Ecuadorian government to lead a struggle against the Chinese community in the rest of Peru, who supported Alberto Fujimori. This led to the creation of the state of Piura, which at different times was occupied by Ecuadorian troops posing as rebels.
After a few months, the conflict had reverted onto the political spectrum, and Ecuador was again faced with violent terrorist attacks that spread outside Quito to the majority of provinces of southern and coastal Ecuador. Infuriated, Abdalá Bucáram launched a massive invasion of Peru near Tiwintza Canton, where Peruvian troops had been clashing for years. Although Ecuador lost the fight, both sides found themselves in the spotlight of the Andean Union, which threatened to boycott both countries if they did not cease fighting. Bucáram and Fujimori signed an armistice, which failed to address the territory in question, but ceased all fighting and most secret activity.
Bucáram was removed from presidency after his wartime emergency powers expired, and replaced by Fabian Alarcón. Ecuador entered a slow recovery, and a cool-down of relations, before the war was officially ended after the creation of the South American Confederation. One sq km of Tiwintza was granted to Ecuador as private property, but still a part of Peru.
A New Era
After the resolution of the Andean Conflict, Ecuador sought to renew relations with SAC nations. With Alberto Fujimori out of Peru's presidency, the Ecuadorian president re-established diplomatic relations almost immediately. Ecuador decided to attempt to decrease poverty by opening much of its mountainous land to farming and tourism through massive irrigation projects funded through foreign investment. Ecuador built new cities along its coast, with factories outfitted in the latest technology. Ecuador's economic growth allowed it to compete with other SAC nations.
Ecuador was controlled by a succession of left-wing presidents, but due to outside pressure Ecuador kept capitalism as its favoured economic system. Álvaro Noboa, famous banana magnate, was elected as the first right-wing president in a long time.
In 2012, Jaime Nebot was elected as new President of Ecuador.
Ecuador is an emerging economy, and one of the poorest nations in South America. Despite this, it has recently experienced rapit economic growth following the end of the Andean Conflict. Liberalization and market reform have made it an integral member of the South American Confederation. Ecuador's economy is dependent on agriculture and crude oil. Crops grown in Ecuador include bananas, flowers, coffee, cacao, sugar, tropical fruits, palm oil, palm hearts, rice, roses, and corn. Other industries are petroleum, fish, shrimp, timber and gold. Ecuador, nevertheless, has a large service sector which accounts for the majority of its economy. It has opened up offshore banking to other nations, and built several resorts along the coasf. Quito has become a modern metropolis with many industrial complexes and office buildings, but it has been surpassed in economic importance by Guayaquil, an important centre of world trade.
Ecuador's culture is very diverse, and is based on the majority mestizo population, of mixed Spanish and indigenous descent. Small influences have come from the country's African minority, and, more recently, an Asian minority. In general, it is divided into three geographic regions: the coast, the Andes mountains, and the Amazon rain forest. Before the arrival of the Spanish, each had its own distinct culture. Ecuador's cuisine today varies by region, leading to a diverse array of foods. The official language of Ecuador is Spanish, but indigenous languages such as Quichua are commonly spoken in highland regions. Ecuador is the source of many famous works of art and literature.
Ecuador is a member of the League of Nations and the South American Confederation. It is one of the three permanent members of the five-nation committee that governs the Panama Canal Zone. The Canal Zone's current High Commissioner is the Ecuadorian Admiral José Noritz.
Association football (soccer) by far was the most popular sport in Ecuador pre-Doomsday and remains so to this day. Its domestic league is well-attended; its national team has qualified for every World Cup since the tournament's resumption in 1990, and made it to the semifinals in 2002 and 2006.
The indoor version of football, also known as futsal (or indor in Ecuador) is the most popular winter sport. Basketball is another popular indoor sport.
Tennis has taken on popularity in recent years among the middle and upper classes. Ecuadorians such as Nicolas Lapentti and Andres Gomez have done well in the South American-based ATP Tour.
Rugby union, heavily influenced by the growth of the sport in the United American Republic, has a rapidly growing fan and player base.