ECUADOR, a South American republic, bounded on the north and northeast by Co lombia, and on the southeast and south by Peru, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The area, including the Galapagos Islands, is about 120,000 square miles.
The cordilleras of the Andes traverse Ecuador, running nearly north and south, with elevated plains between the eastern and west ern mountains, some of the latter forming a sequence that has suggested to geographers two chains. Though there are not here the test single peaks in the world, or even in South America, there are nowhere else so many peaks of very great height,. forming a group. Their equatorial situation gives to these masses of granite, gneiss, schist, trachyte, por phyry, volcanic detritus wholly exceptional con trasts in temperature. This region has been in the past, and is probably to-day, more subject to volcanic disturbances than any other in South America. As an offset to the group of high peaks, the Andean ridges sink downward, forming the lowest pass at any point between Colombia and the southern division of the Andes. The principal rivers of the lowlands of western Ecuador, running from the central region of mountains and high plains to the Pacific, are the Guayas and the Esmeralda. The former empties into the Gulf of Guayaquil. In the eastern lowlands, the Napo and its tribu taries belong to the Amazon River-system. There are numerous small lakes.
The mean temperature of the coast at Guayaquil, etc., is 80° F., that of the interior ranges from 95° F. in the lower valleys to 65° F. or even F. on the plateaus, according to the altitude. The lower slopes of the mountains are torrid; the highest crests are snow-clad. The elevated valleys of the Andes have a very salubrious climate. They lie at an altitude of from 7,500 to 9,000 feet, where the temperature is moderate and fever unknown. The climate of the capital is temperate and springlike throughout the year, with little vari ation and it is said to be one of the best in the world for the cure of tuberculosis. There are two seasons only, the rainy lasting from Decem ber to May, and the dry from June to Novem ber. The first meteorological station in Ecua dor was established in 1915. It has since been in successful operation at the Quinta Nor mal (Agricultural School), near Ambato. Sub stations are now established at Sangolqui, Saquimalag, Latacunga, Pansaleo, Mulalillo, Pil laro, Palate, Pelileo, Banos, Pilahuin, La Vic toria and El Puyo. They are in charge of the director of the Quinta Normal, where the data are computed and reduced to tables each month, which are published in the Bulletin of the school.
Petroleum, sulphur, gold, platinum, coal, cop per, mercury, lead and iron are plentiful in Ecuador, but of these gold alone figures in the list of principal exports. The Zaruma mines, province of El Oro, are worked on an exten sive scale by an American company. That dis trict contains numerous gold-bearing quartz veins, which were worked by the Spaniards 100 years ago. Along the Santiago, Cochabibi and Uimbi rivers in the province of Esmeraldas there are placer deposits of gold and platinum is found in conjunction with gold in the Esmeraldas washings. Silver is exported to a small extent.
History.— The Quito Indians, who held the count near the present capital, were con perhaps in the 10th century, by a more warlike race led by chiefs called Scyris. These in turn yielded to the Incas of Peru. On the death of Inca Huayna-Capac, the empire was divided between his two sons, Atahualpa and Huascar. The former, whose mother was a Scyri princess, received the Quito kingdom; Cuzco and the southern empire were given to the latter. War broke out between the brothers shortly before the Spaniards under Francisco Pizarro arrived upon the scene, and this civil strife made possible the conquest of a great nation by a handful of foreign adventurers. (See FsRu). Benalcazar, the famous Spanish captain, completed the conquest of the Scyri kingdom and seized the city of Quito (1534).
Between 1564 and 1820 this region was ad ministered as a presidency; and 36 presidents exercised authority there as representatives of Spain before the series of of the republic') began. Quito's first demonstration in favor of independence, 10 Aug. 1809, was quickly and savagely repressed. Guayaquil was more fortunate in her belated attempt (9 Oct. 1820). A campaign which resulted in the cap ture of Quito, after the battle of Pichincha, was organized by a triumvirate whose mem bers were the poet, Jose Joaquin de Olmedo, the merchant, F. Roca, and the soldier, Rafael Jimena. The battle of Pichincha was won for the patriots by the Venezuelan general, An tonio de Sucre, Bolivar's lieutenant. The territory thus liberated was naturally drawn into the Colombian federation, which Bolivar dominated for a time. (See COLOMBIA). In 1830, after the dissolution of that greater Colombia, Ecuador became an independent re public. The convention of Riobamba placed Gen. Juan Jose Flores at the head of the government. His successor (1835-39) was Vicente Rocafuerte. Flores was again in power from 1839 to 1845 and, with the approval of many partisans, tried to secure a much lon ger term and dictatorial powers. A second triumvirate, composed of Olmedo, Roca and Noboa, carried on the government until a con vention was held at Cuenca. This convention elected Vicente Raman Roca, who served as President from 1845 to 1849. Vice-President Acisubi assumed the Presidency when Congress and the country could not agree upon a candidate; the country, however, continued to be disturbed until 1851, when Diego Noboa was chosen by a constituent assembly. In the fol lowingyear he was displaced by Gen. Jose Maria Urvina, at the head of a successful revolution. Urvina was President until 1856. Slavery was abolished during his term. Gen. Francisco Robles followed (1856-59). During the next two years the country had a varied experience : war with Peru, the dictatorship of General Franco and the provisional govern ment of Gabriel Garcia Moreno. The conven tion of Quito elected Garcia Moreno to the Presidency (1861-65). Geronimo Carrion, elected in 1865, retired in 1867. Javier Espinosa served from 1868 to 1869. Garcia Moreno, as the leader of an insurrection, took office again (1869-73), and in 1873 secured re-election by the use of force. He was assassinated 6 Aug 1875. Antonio Borrero, his successor, was driven from office by General Ignacio de Veintemilla in 1876. After the expiration of the legal period, President Veintemilla made himself dictator. Jose Maria Plficido Caamafio was President from 1884-88. He was suc ceeded by Antonio Flores 1888 to 1892; Luis Cordero from 1892 to 1895 — when he resigned to put an end to bloodshed. General Alfaro, at first "supreme chief," was legally elected in 1897. Gen. Leonidas Plaza Gutierrez succeeded him in 1901. In 1904 all religions were made equal before the law and eventually the nation was declared to be the owner of all church property. In 1905, the clericals elected their candidate for the Presidency, Lizardo Garcia, but he was overthrown in January 1906 by ex President Alfaro, who was himself assassinated in Quito, together with a number of leaders. The President elected in 1912 was Gen. Leonidas Plaza Gutierrez, who had been chief executive 1901-05. In 1913 contracts were made for the sanitation of Guayaquil. In 1914 gov ernment forces attacked the port of Esmeraldas, which the rebel leader, Colonel Concha, was holding, and a large part of the city was destroyed by fire. In 1915 difficulties of a serious financial character were discussed in connection with delayed payment of interest on bonds of the Guayaquil and Quito Railway and the lien on the entire customs receipts of the country held by European investors in that railway enterprise. Plaza was succeeded in 1916 by Alfredo B. Moreno, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs and president of the Senate.