The Republic of Ecuador took its name after the French Geodesic Mission visited the Royal Audience of Quito during the 18th century with the purpose of determining the real shape of the planet. The scientific team was directed by Charles Marie de la Condamine. After all the studies were completed, the name "Ecuador" was born from the word "equator". When the country received Independence, the name was chosen due to its fame. Since then this country in the middle of the world has been known as the Republic of Ecuador .
The population of Ecuador is around 13 million, about half of whom live in the cities. Population growth is fairly rapid at around 2,7 percent annually. Ecuador is a country that was declared multi ethnic and pluricultural with great contrasts of wealth and poverty. People are identified more with their region or village than with the country as a whole, although the government has identity. At a minimum the country may be divided into a dozen or so major folk-cultural regions: norteño mestizo, northern native groups (AWA, Otavalo, Cayambe-Pesillo), Negros del Chota, central highland mestizo, Quiteño urban, central native groups (Cotopaxi comunities, Salasaca, Chibuleo, Pilahuin), Chola Cuencana y Chazo, Saraguros, Esmeraldeño black, Cholo pescador, Montubio, Shuar, Ashuar, Cofanes, Sionas - Secoyas, Záparos, Hoaoranis and Amazonian Quechua. Numerous smaller or more localized cultures also exist, and there are two culturally mixed areas in the Santo Domingo (Colorados-Tsachilas) and northeastern Oriente frontiers. The most prominent and representative groups are the central highland mestizos and costal mestizo-mulato mixed culture.
The country is divided into 21 provinces. The Capital is Quito (Cultural Heritage for the World 1978), situated in the northern Sierra, at an altitude of 2,800 meters . Guayaquil is the largest city and its seaport is the economic nerve-center of the country. Cuenca is the third largest city and has recently been elected Cultural Heritage for the World by UNESCO.
Being right on the equator, Ecuador lacks the four seasons of the temperate zones. Even so, Ecuador possesses all the climates of the world, from permafrost to equatorial, thanks to the Andean ridge.
Weather patterns in the Sierra are complex. Each region has its own micro-climate. Generally, the central valleys are rainy between February and May, while the rest of the year they are drier, with a mild wet season in October. In Quito , gardens bloom all year long because of the perpetual spring climate.
Population: 13 million
Language: Spanish. Native people speak Quechua and many regional dialects. In some areas English is the second language.