Title: The Republic of Ecuador

Population: 17,093,159

Population Change: 1.55

National Average Age: 28

Urban Percentage: 63

Christian Population: 14,099,000

Christian Percentage: 94

Introduction: Ecuador is a country straddling the equator on South America’s west coast. Its diverse landscape encompasses Amazon jungle Andean highlands and the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands. In the Andean foothills at an elevation of 2850m Quito the capital is known for its largely intact Spanish colonial center with decorated 16th- and 17th-century palaces and religious sites like the ornate Compañía de Jesús Church.

Overview: What is now Ecuador formed part of the northern Inca Empire until the Spanish conquest in 1533. Quito became a seat of Spanish colonial government in 1563 and part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. The territories of the Viceroyalty - New Granada (Colombia) Venezuela and Quito - gained their independence between 1819 and 1822 and formed a federation known as Gran Colombia. When Quito withdrew in 1830 the traditional name was changed in favor of the \"Republic of the Equator.\" Between 1904 and 1942 Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A border war with Peru that flared in 1995 was resolved in 1999. Although Ecuador marked 30 years of civilian governance in 2004 the period was marred by political instability. Protests in Quito contributed to the mid-term ouster of three of Ecuador's last four democratically elected presidents. In late 2008 voters approved a new constitution Ecuador's 20th since gaining independence. General elections were held in February 2013 and voters reelected President Rafael CORREA.