Flag of the Week: Ecuador

Author name
Danielle Ngo

Ecuador is a representative democratic republic located in the northwestern region of South America. It is bordered on the north by Colombia, on the east and south by Peru, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Interestingly, Ecuador is one of only two countries in South America that is not bordered by Brazil. Ecuador has an area of 283,560 square kilometers and a population of 16.1 million. Its capital city, Quito, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 in honor of its rich cultural heritage.

The official language in Ecuador is Spanish while numerous regional and indigenous languages are recognized, such as Quichua and Shuar. Over 90% of the population in Ecuador speaks Spanish as a first language and over 98% speaks it as a first or second language. There are two main divisions of speakers in Ecuador: the Costeños (from coastal areas), who speak quickly and often informally, and the Serranos (from mountainous areas), who speak softly and respectfully. Although Ecuadorian Spanish has features universal to the Spanish-speaking world, like most other Spanish-speaking countries, there are numerous idiosyncrasies.

Family is extremely important in Ecuadorian culture. Instead of being placed in care facilities like in some western cultures, elderly Ecuadorians will usually live with one of their children and his or her family. Godparents also have a more important role in Ecuadorian culture; they often provide advice and are expected to help provide financial and psychological support to their godchildren. In terms of marital roles, women have generally been responsible for raising the children while men played little to no part in this area. However, these roles have been changing as more women enter the work force, resulting in men beginning to help out with the housework and child upbringing.

Ecuador is one of the seventeen megadiverse countries in the world and is home to a rich ecology that includes endemic plants, animals, and the Galápagos Islands. In fact, Ecuador’s new constitution of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize and legally enforce Rights of Nature. Protecting the nation’s biodiversity is an explicit national priority and Ecuador recognizes the inalienable rights of ecosystems to exist and flourish. People also now have the authority to petition on behalf of ecosystems and the government must remedy violations of nature’s rights.   

Fun fact: Ecuador is the closest country to space! Ecuador’s highest mountain, Mount Chimborazo, is located along the equatorial bulge, which makes its summit the farthest point from the Earth’s core the point on the Earth closest to the sun.

Sources: Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica, Atlas and Boots



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