9 things you didn't know about Ecuador
From a geographical, climatic and human point of view, Ecuador can be divided into four natural regions:
- The Costa (coast) is a coastal region with a humid tropical climate to the north, semi-arid to the south. It forms a plain 800 km long, stretching from the slopes of the Andes Cordillera to the Pacific Ocean. Costa is also an area where bananas are grown, mainly for export, as well as other tropical products (mango, sugar cane etc.). The main city in this region is Guayaquil, an important port on the Pacific and the most populated city in the country.
- La Sierra is the high part of the country, in the Andes mountain range. In Ecuador, the Cordillera is divided into two parallel ranges, each comprising several volcanoes near or exceeding 5,000 m. The highest point of the country is Chimborazo (6,310 m), in the Western Cordillera but Cotopaxi (5,897 m), the highest active volcano in the world, located in the Eastern Cordillera is also very emblematic. The Sierra stretches 600 km from Tulcán, on the Colombian border, to the Loja region in the south. The main cities are Quito, capital of the country, in the north, and Cuenca, in the south.
- L’Oriente (Amazonia) is a region difficult to access, sparsely populated, criss-crossed by different tributaries of the Amazon River (including the Napo). This region with a humid tropical climate, which is part of the Amazonian forest, concentrates almost all of Ecuador's oil resources.
- The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago considered as heritage of humanity for the diversity of its species. The origin of the islands is volcanic.
Language of EcuadorIn Ecuador, three forms of Spanish are spoken: Andean, Amazonian variations and Ecuadorian coastal Spanish. Ecuadorian Andean Spanish is similar to that spoken in Peru and Bolivia because of the influence of Quechua. The Amazonian variation also shows similarities with the indigenous languages of the region. Spanish spoken near the coast varies slightly from north to south.
Spanish, still called Castilian in Ecuador, is the mother tongue of 78% of Ecuadorians. The rest of the population are mostly indigenous people speaking their own languages. Here is a table showing the different majority languages by region.
Spanish Dialects and VariationsThere is a big difference between the dialect spoken in Quito in the mountains and the dialect spoken in the coastal region of Guayaquil.
The Spanish spoken in Quito is considered to be one of the most accurately pronounced.
Andean Spanish is characterized by the use of many words from Quichua.
The coastal region of Esmeralda has some African language influences as a large part of the population of African origin.
In Guayaquil, Spanish is spoken much faster. Frequently, the "s" is vacuumed into an "h" and the extensive use of local slang makes it more difficult for foreigners to understand.
In 2008, the Ecuadorian constitution made Quechua and Shuar official languages of the country. This is a big step forward for all indigenous communities, as their culture has been recognized by the government.
1.5 million people speak Quechua fluently in Ecuador. Quechua was the vehicular language of the Inca civilization (but not its official language, which was Aymara). The current territorial extension of quechua is due to the fact that it was promoted to the rank of lengua general by the Spanish colonizer.
During the first millennium A.D., the language first spread via trade between the Chinchas and neighbouring peoples, notably in Cajamarca and as far as Ecuador.
The Shuars are one of an ethnolinguistic group of Native American peoples living in the forests of the upper Amazon that were designated by the first Spanish invaders as Jivaros meaning wild.
Since the Second World War, the Shuar territory has been divided into two by the border separating Ecuador and Peru.
About 40,000 of them speak this language throughout the territory mentioned above.
The Amazonian populations do not have writing, their culture is based on the oral transmission of their History (myths, legends and shamanic rites).
Despite the strong penetration of Christian religions, shamanic animism is still very present and it is common to integrate an "Our Father" into a healing rite.
These two Amerindian languages are now an integral part of Ecuadorian culture. It is a great step forward for these peoples long persecuted by the colonizers.
Arms of the equator
In the upper part, you can see a sun in the center of a zodiac; you can see the signs of Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer. These signs refer to the historical months of March, April, May and June, which correspond to the struggle between the Ecuadorians and General Flores, who came to power by force. Since the snows of Chimborazo, the Guayas River has symbolized brotherhood among Ecuadorians.
A steamboat floats on the upper part of the river. He refers to the first steamboat built on the Pacific coast, on the Guayaquil shipyards, in 1831. Its mast is a caduceus, symbol of navigation and trade.
The coat of arms rests on the axe and beams of the lictors of the Roman Republic, emblems of republican authority. It is surrounded by four national flags housing two branches, one palm, which symbolizes glory, and the other laurel, which represents triumph.
Above the coat of arms stands an Andean condor, with its open wings, ready to throw itself at the enemy; it symbolizes the power, greatness and value of the Ecuadorians.
Flag of the equator
Yellow symbolizes gold, the abundance of agriculture and the natural wealth of the country.
Blue represents the ocean and the clear, clear sky (vision for the future) of Ecuador.
Finally the red symbolizes the blood shed by the heroes who bequeathed the Fatherland and Freedom (Patria y Libertad).
The flag of Ecuador resembles those of Colombia and Venezuela, all three deriving from the flag of Great Colombia. The Great Colombia is the name given to the Republic of Colombia from 1821 to 1831 to differentiate it from the present Colombia. The country was born from the independence of part of South America from Spain.
Galapagos IslandsThe Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of Ecuador located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, at the latitude of the equator. Isabela Island, the largest island, is some 1,102 km off the coast of Ecuador. A distance of 929 km separates the mainland from the most eastern of the islands, San Cristóbal. The archipelago is composed of about forty volcanic islands, it forms a province of Ecuador since 1832 with Puerto Baquerizo Moreno for capital. It is home to the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Galápagos Islands, in Spanish Islas Galápagos, are also called "Archipelago of Columbus", in Spanish Archipiélago de Colón. Unofficially, they are also called "the Enchanted", in Spanish Las Encantadas.
"Islas de los Galápagos" means "islands of sea turtles", in classic French Isles Tortoises.
In 1835, Charles Darwin, a British naturalist, studied the diversity of species.
Ecuador officially annexed the Galapagos Archipelago in 1832. About a century later, the islands were inhabited by only a few settlers and were used as prison colonies, which were closed in 1959.
The archipelago officially became a national park in 1959. Organized tourism began in the late 1960s; several tens of thousands of people now visit the islands each year.
Among the 48 eminences that make up the Galapagos archipelago, it should be noted that only 19 of them are islands. The other 29 are uninhabited one, with the entire local population concentrated on the islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, Isabela and Floreana.
The Galapagos Islands are islands of volcanic origin that emerged from a basaltic plateau.
The fauna is unique in the national park, each island contains its specific fauna. The archipelago is home to 58 species of birds of which 28 are endemic, unique varieties of reptiles and much more.
Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of EcuadorThe Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador, or CONAIE), is a general organization created in 1986, with the aim of bringing together a large number of communities and local or regional associations of indigenous peoples, to act on the Ecuadorian national political scene by relaying with its representatives their legitimate historical, economic and socio-cultural aspirations.
From the end of the 19th century, the acceleration in population growth became formidable: from about 150,000 inhabitants at the end of the 16th century, 500,000 at the end of the 18th, 1,000,000 in 1886, the population multiplied by 10 and was estimated at 10,500,000 inhabitants in 1989.
He is nicknamed Taita Chimborazo, that is Papa Chimborazo, the mother being Mama Tungurahua. It appears on the coat of arms of Ecuador.
Chimborazo can be defined as the highest peak in the world, considering it the farthest from the centre of the Earth2. Indeed, the earth has an ellipsoid shape, whose radius is about 21 km greater at the equator than at the poles, and the Chimborazo is closer to this equator, more than the peaks of the Himalayas. The summit of Chimborazo is therefore also the point on the Earth's surface at which the minimum distance to the Sun during a year is the smallest.
Mito y leyendasEL HUACAY - SIQUI
The reference of this zoomorphic being comes from the north of the province of Pichincha.
The half-breed and the indigenous peasants describe him as a bird that leaves the gorges at six o'clock in the afternoon and emits a lugubrious song similar to human tears. He attacks people on his roads, causing accidents, and when he finds clothes and diapers of children drying outside the house, he looks at them and the children become tears, they say.
For this reason, precautions are taken to ensure that these clothes are not left outside the house after this period. Moreover, it is said that the Chiflon is so small that, especially when it is cold, it becomes present, to possess the body of this man or woman who feels an extreme cold to make him or her a joke or two. That's why in Pichincha it's very common to hear grandmothers say, "Wrap yourself warmly, son, so you don't get caught by the Chiflon ».
It is a fabulous animal, typical of the Sierra of our country. In the central and northern areas of this region, it is described as the devil's dog, which has a star in the middle of its forehead and eyes of fire that paralyze anyone who sees it.
It sometimes appears in dark nights and solitary places.
The one who crosses this being can be favoured, since those who know this legend say that anthrax gives and vomits a golden ball encrusted with precious stones... but the one who receives these jewels must not be ambitious, because if he does - immediately - anthrax discovers it, removes the treasure and swallows it, disappearing immediately in darkness, while the one who has shown himself ambitious can be blind or paralysed.
There are a great number of Ecuadorian legends and myths, it would take too long to make you know all this folk culture. If you want a blog article dedicated to these creatures of legends do not hesitate to share it with me in the comments.
Equator pyramidA fact that is little known in the world, but that we are here to show it, to reveal a little of our hidden history, of what does not appear in any school book. I have always thought that the fact that pyramids exist all over the world is due to the simple fact of their logic and their relatively simple construction for ancient cultures, as the saying goes: "It is much easier to stack pyramid-shaped stones than parthenon-shaped stones. However, there are details that we cannot ignore are repeated tirelessly and share identical characteristics.
We will begin by talking about something popular in my country, but perhaps unknown in the rest of the countries: The Pyramids of Cochasqui.
The Pyramids of Cochasqui (located 52 km north of Quito) is a supposed pre-Inca astronomical complex, a legacy of the Quitu-Cara culture, supposedly built again in the 5th century AD. These pyramids, 15 in total, have the particularity of being "cut" at the top and having a "seal" instead of a tip. Cochas literally means'landing in the middle of the water' or'half the world', a concept that gives us many ideas to fly, could we speak of an Ecuadorian Atlantis, or a complex Egyptian Giza? Let us remember that the complex of the Giza plateau in Egypt was also called by the ancient Egyptians as the very center of the planet earth.
In BulkNo time change
You may not know it but Ecuador does not have a time zone like the others. It may sound silly, but here the debate of moving forward or back an hour for summer or winter time does not take place. Indeed, Ecuador as some other countries around do not change time. This means it won't be darker in winter (or summer depending on where you are). Isn't that beautiful?
Ecuador has many things to offer you thanks to its rich ancient culture and its many traditions. I've only done an overview of the previous themes, it would be far too long to detail everything in a single article.
If you want to know more about a specific topic, write it in the comments, I would be happy to create a more detailed blog post.