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Ecuador Information - Page 2
History
"Ecuador" became a Spanish possession in 1534. Led by Francisco Pizarro, Spanish soldiers conquered the whole region.

In 1822 the Spanish were defeated by Antonio Jose de Sucre, a lieutenant of Simon de Bolivar who won independence for Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. These countries formed the Republic of Gran Colombia.

In 1830 Ecuador left Gran Colombia and became an independent country.

During the first half of the twentieth century, Ecuador lost territory during conflicts with neighbouring countries. Towards the end of the century, in 1995, a border dispute with Peru flared up and continued for a number of years.

Between 1963 and 1966 Ecuador was ruled by a military junta and in 1968 the former president, Jose Maria Velasco, assumed dictatorial power. Velasco was overthrown by General Guillermo Rodriguez Lara in 1972.

Ecuador returned to civilian government in 1979.

Economy
Since the 1970s oil extraction has been important to Ecuador's economy. Towards the end of the 1990s a world decline in petroleum prices added to economic problems. Depreciation of the currency led to the adoption of the US dollar as the country's legal tender.

Agriculture only provides a relatively small percentage of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Crops are bananas, plantains, potatoes, manioc (cassava), rice, sugarcane, cocoa and coffee. Cattle, sheep and pigs are reared. Shrimps, tuna and other fish are provided by the fishing industry.

Principal industries are petroleum, chemicals, wood products, textiles and food processing.

The services sector accounts for the largest percentage of the GDP. Tourism is a growing industry; the Galapagos Islands are a popular tourist destination. (2011)

Arts
The earliest known representational images in the Americas are small carvings of female figures from Valdivia, Ecuador, dated around 3500 B.C. Other early artefacts include tools and spears.

Today, examples of traditional pottery are produced for the tourist market. Carvings in wood, such as locally grown balsa, can be found throughout Ecuador. Woollens and hand-woven rugs in Inca designs are produced.

Oswaldo Guayasamin (1919-1999), the painter and sculptor, is one of Ecuador's most famous artists. The Guayasamin Museum in Quito contains pre-colonial, colonial and twentieth century art.

Cultural institutions include the National Dance Company, the Humanizarte Cultural Foundation, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonic Society.

Sport
Football is the favourite sport in Ecuador. Volleyball, basketball and pelota are also played.

Other sports include mountain climbing and fishing. Popular water sports are windsurfing and snorkeling.

Holidays
Easter, Christmas and New Year are celebrated. Other holidays include Labour Day (1 May), Independence from Spain (24 May) and the Foundation of Quito (6 December).

News
News from Ecuador is available from Newslink.

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