Ecuador – national flag
The flag has been in use since 1860, but the colors are already known from the country’s revolt against Spain 1806-09. The yellow color symbolizes sunshine, grain and wealth, the blue rivers, the sea and the sky and the blood of the red patriots, shed for freedom and justice.
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Ecuador – history
Archaeological finds suggest that Ecuador has been inhabited for at least 9000 years, and South America’s oldest pottery from 3200-1800 BC. is found here. From approximately 500 BC actual urban cultures emerged, including the Bahia culture.
In the late 1400’s. the Incas conquered the present-day highlands of Ecuador. Quito became the second capital of the Inca Empire, and Quechua spread as a common language. However, the power struggle that began in the 1520’s between Atahualpa in Quito and Huascar in Cuzco created internal divisions in the Inca Empire. After Atahualpa’s victory in 1532, the Spaniards, who had arrived the year before under Pizarro’s leadership, succeeded in capturing him. He was executed, and the few Spaniards were able to quickly subjugate the kingdom by alliances and superior military technology. The conquest was facilitated by the catastrophe that struck large parts of America during this period: in the Inca Empire, up to 75% of the population died of common epidemic diseases that Europeans brought with them.
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In 1534, Quito was captured and destroyed by Pizarro’s Lieutenant Belalcázar. On the ruins he founded a Spanish Quito, which became the administrative center of the province of the same name. Quito was subject to the Viceroyalty of Peru until the 1700’s, when it came under the rule of New Granada. The production of agricultural goods, especially cocoa, and textiles were the main interests of the Spaniards in the province, and for this purpose Native American forced labor was used extensively.
A junta declared Quito’s independence from Spain in 1809, but it was not until Bolívar’s General Antonio José de Sucre defeated the Spanish royalists in 1822 at the Battle of Pichincha that independence became a fact. The country then joined New Granada and Venezuela in Bolívar’s Greater Colombia and became known as Ecuador. Greater Colombia, however, fell apart in 1830, after which the Republic of Ecuador saw the light of day with Juan José Flores as president. Like the rest of Latin America, the country was in the following long period marked by the conflict between conservatives and liberals, from 1830-45 personified by Flores and Vicente Rocafuerte. The conservative, pro-church landlord, centered on Quito, wanted a protectionist economic policy, whereas the liberals in Guayaquil were anti-clerical and free trade advocates. Under the conservative Gabriel García Moreno, presidents 1861-65 and 1869-75, railways, roads, and the telegraph were built. Ecuador got a solid economy, but moved away from democracy; García Moreno trumped a constitution that gave the president autocratic power and removed the civil rights of non-Catholics.
A liberal revolution, funded by Guayaquil’s cocoa barons, gave power in 1895 to Eloy Alfaro. Now trade was internationalized, foreign investment attracted, and church property nationalized. Eloy Alfaro legalized divorce and abolished the death penalty, but the marginalization of the Indians continued.
In the first half of 1900-t. Ecuador was repeatedly at war with its neighbors. The conflicts were primarily about raw material areas, and especially the war with Peru 1941-42 had major consequences. Encouraged by forces in the international oil industry, Peru invaded the Eastern Province, causing Ecuador to lose not only potential oil revenues, but also access to the Amazon River and thus the road to the Atlantic Ocean. The defeat led to the overthrow of President Arroyo del Río in 1944 by a bloody coup. Ecuador has never recognized the new demarcation, and on a regular basis, border disputes have flared up, most recently in 1995, when hostilities threatened to develop into regular war.
After World War II, President Galo Plaza Lasso opened the country to the American United Fruit Company. A banana boom followed, and Ecuador, which until the 1920’s had had cocoa as its main export, became the world’s largest exporter of bananas.
|Heads of State (selected)|
|1830-35||Juan José Flores|
|1839-45||Juan José Flores|
|1861-65||Gabriel García Moreno|
|1869-75||Gabriel García Moreno|
|1876-83||José Ignacio de Veintemilla|
|1916-20||Alfredo Baquerizo Moreno|
|1920-24||José Luis Tamayo|
|1934-35||José María Velasco Ibarra|
|1940-44||Carlos Alberto Arroyo del Río|
|1944-47||José María Velasco Ibarra|
|1948-52||Galo Plaza Lasso|
|1952-56||José María Velasco Ibarra|
|1956-60||Camilo Ponce Enríquez|
|1960-61||José María Velasco Ibarra|
|1961-63||Carlos Julio Arosemana Monroy|
|1963-66||Ramón Castro Jijón|
|1966-68||Otto Arosemana Gómez|
|1968-72||José María Velasco Ibarra|
|1972-76||Guillermo Rodríguez Lara|
|1979-81||Jaime Roldós Aguilera|
|1981-84||Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea|
|1984-88||León Febres Cordero|
|1988-92||Rodrigo Borja Cevallos|
|1992-96||Sixto Durán Ballén|
|2003-05||Lucio Gutiérrez Borbúa|
|2005-07||Alfredo Palacio González|
According to a2zgov, the dominant political figure in the post-war period has been José María Velasco Ibarra. His great popularity, which went across traditional partisan divisions, secured him the presidency five times. The political development in the 1900’s. however, has generally been unstable; In 1931-95, Ecuador had 38 presidents, and the country has repeatedly been subject to military dictatorships. This was the case after 1972, when a nationalist military junta seized power and nationalized oil production, which was developing in the Amazon using foreign investment. Ecuador’s government has been civilian since 1979. In 1986, however, General Vargas Pazo revolted. in protest against President Febres Corderos’ alleged corruption and to get a coup from the Secretary of Defense in advance. The following year, a military purge followed. As a result of organized strikes and incipient guerrilla activity, a state of military emergency was introduced in 1988.
In 1996, a right-wing populist, Abdalá Bucaram (b. 1952), won the election, but he failed to keep his promises to the poor and was deposed six months later by Congress for “mental incompetence”. The following presidents sat only briefly. Jamil Mahuad (b. 1949), who was president 1998-2000, finally made peace with Peru, but later had to impose a state of emergency and was eventually deposed by the military; his vice president, Gustavo Noboa (b. 1937), took office. The crisis was worst in 1998-2000. In three years, 400,000 people emigrated, mainly to Spain and the United States. In the presidential election in 2002, the left-wing Lucio Gutiérrez (b. 1957) won, who took office in 2003. Despite better economic development, due to rising oil prices, political instability continued. In 2005, Gutiérrez was ousted by Congress after violent popular protests against his rule and the inadequate fight against poverty, and his vice president, Alfredo Palacio (b. 1939), took over the government. However, the Palacio has also been hit by popular protests, including in the spring of 2006 against the plans for a free trade agreement with the United States. The presidential election in the fall of 2006 was won by the left-wingRafael Correa, who thus continued the trend in South America, where the power of government in a number of countries has been taken over by the left.
When Colombian forces attacked and killed one of the leaders of the Colombian rebel movement FARC in Ecuador’s territory in early 2008, with the support of the ally Chávez in Venezuela, a diplomatic crisis in relations with Colombia arose. Later that year, a constitutional amendment giving the president more power was passed after a referendum. Correa was re-elected in 2009. A nationalization of Ecuador’s oil and gas reserves was carried out, but critics of Correa have argued that his government has authoritarian traits; Among other things, freedom of the press has been curtailed. Relations with the United States deteriorated sharply after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was offered asylum in Ecuador; he then sought refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Correa won a third term in 2013.