Among other Ecuador facts, in the early days of pre-Columbian America, modern Ecuador was home to several advanced indigenous cultures such as the Bahia, Chorrera, Tolita, Machalila, Valdivia, etc, that flourished in the country until the arrival of the Incas, in 1450.
They ruled for almost one century.
By 1534, the Spanish conquistadores led by Francisco Pizarro put an end to Inca's domination, marking the beginning of Ecuador's colonial history, a period characterized by brutality, forced labor and rampant disease brought along by the Spaniards.
During the following two centuries, Ecuador was first part of the Viceroyalty of Peru and later, the Viceroyalty of New Granada - from 1717 to 1819 - comprising modern Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Venezuela.
By 1822, when the winds of independence swept South America from North to South, Ecuador saw the end of colonial rule by the hands of Simón Bolivar, The Liberator, becoming part of the Republic of Gran Colombia, together with Colombia and Venezuela.
This association, however, didn't last long and, by 1830, Ecuador finally became the "Republic of the Equator" or Republic of Ecuador as we know it today.
To get a more comprehensive understanding of this historical facts about Ecuador, please visit The Northern Colonies and The Last Days of the Empire.
Bounded by Colombia to the North (590 km), Peru to East and South (1,420 km) and the Pacific ocean to the West - region known as La Costa - Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America and home to some of the highest and most active volcanoes in the world.
To the South of Quito, extending for over 300km, the "Avenue of the Volcanoes" is one of the greatest tourist attractions in Ecuador, a true paradise for climbers and a mecca for thousands of international visitors every year.
Named by explorer Alexander von Humboldt in 1802, the "Avenue of the Volcanoes" has nine of the highest peaks and volcanoes in Ecuador...
But the natural diversity that Ecuador has in store don't finish here in the least.
The Ecuadorian Amazon or the Oriente, as locals like to call it, boasts one the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. It's home to 50% of Ecuador’s mammals, 5% of the earth’s plant species and 1,500 of the world's known 9,000 bird species.
To complete the country's four unique regions, Archipélago de Colón, better known as Galápagos Islands is a wildlife sanctuary located around 1,000 km (600 miles) west of continental Ecuador. It's the country's first national park - founded in 1959 - both a biological marine reserve and a World Heritage Site listed by UNESCO in 1978. Read some Galápagos islands facts.
Ecuador's climate is mainly determined by altitude, however, other factors come into play as well. In practical terms, it only has to real seasons, the dry season and the wet season, but there are significant variations among the four geographical regions. Read more about the climate in Ecuador here.
Ecuador is the world's largest exporter of bananas and a major exporter of shrimp. Exports of non-traditional products such as flowers and canned fish have grown in recent years. Another fact perhaps little known is the country's worldwide fame as Panama Hat manufacturer.
Finally, the list of Ecuador facts shall include the country's easy access to the jungle.
If you are eco-tourism oriented and would like to experience wildlife, canopy walks and the comfort of its jungle lodges, you have an extra reason to make Ecuador part of your unique South America travel experience.