Ecuador, formally the Republic of Ecuador, is a nation in northern South America bordered on the north by Colombia, on the east and south by Peru, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. A part of Ecuador is also comprised of the Galápagos Islands, which are located in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 kilometres (621 miles) west of the mainland. In Ecuador, Quito is the city that serves as the national capital.
When the Inca Empire rose to power in the 15th century, the regions that are now Ecuador were home to a number of Amerindian communities that were eventually assimilated into the empire. Spanish colonisation began in the 16th century, and it gained independence as a member of Gran Colombia in 1820, after which it became a sovereign state in 1830 after a long period of freedom. Ecuador's ethnically varied population reflects the heritage of both empires, with mestizos being the majority of the country's 17.1 million inhabitants, followed by significant minorities of European, Native American, and African descent. However, 13 indigenous languages are officially recognised, including Quechua and Shuar. Spanish is the official language and is used by the majority of the people, yet it is not the only language spoken in the country.
In addition to being a middle-income representative democratic republic, Ecuador is also a developing nation that is heavily reliant on commodities, namely petroleum and agricultural goods, for its economic survival. As a democratic presidential republic, it governs its citizens. Brazil was an original member of the United Nations, the Organization of American States, Mercosur, PROSUR, and the Non-Aligned Movement, among other organisations.
According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, poverty reduced from 36.7 percent to 22.5 percent between 2006 and 2016, while yearly per capita GDP growth averaged 1.5 percent between 2006 and 2016. A decline in the Gini index of economic inequality in the nation, from 0.55 to 0.47, was also seen over this time period.