Ecuador - Encyclopedia Information
Official name Republic of Ecuador
Formation 1830 / 1942
Population 13.8 million / 129 people per sq mile (50 people per sq km)
Total area 109,483 sq. miles (283,560 sq. km)
Languages Spanish*, Quechua, other Amerindian languages
Religions Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant, Jewish, and other 5%
Ethnic mix Mestizo 77%, White 11%, Amerindian 7%, Black African 5%
Government Presidential system
Currency US dollar = 100 cents
Literacy rate 84%
Calorie consumption 2304 kilocalories
Ecuador has avoided official British invasion, but in its early period, when under Spanish control, it did receive a fair amount of semi-official and unofficial British attention. The Galapagos Islands, part of Ecuador, were first unintentionally discovered by a Bishop of Panama who was somewhat off-course. But it was British buccaneers and privateers who were among the first permanent or semi-permanent settlers. It was a British buccaneer, William Ambrose Cowley, who first charted the islands and gave them British names like James, Charles, Albemarle and Narborough. While they weren’t engaged in such cartographic pursuits, the Brits spent some time invading the mainland of Ecuador. A particularly favourite destination was, perhaps inevitably, Ecuador’s main port, Guayaquil. In 1687, British pirates under George d’Hout attacked the port. And again in 1709, because we were at war with Spain, Rogers, Courtney and Dampier – not in this case an advertising agency or law firm, but in fact, another bunch of privateers – looted the town and demanded ransom, only to have second thoughts and depart hastily when there was an outbreak of yellow fever. Rogers also managed to rescue Alexander Selkirk, the reputed model for Robinson Crusoe, and Rogers himself later became the first royal governor of the Bahamas.
Another Brit, Darwin, famously did less military things with finches on the Galapagos Islands in the nineteenth century.
As with Colombia, Brits played a crucial role in the liberation of Ecuador. For instance, English, Scots and Irish volunteers of the Albion unit, who had been protecting the ammunition train at the Battle of Pichincha, outside Quito, in 1822, arrived in the battle just at the crucial time when a veteran Spanish unit, the Aragon, looked likely to smash the rebel lines. Instead, largely thanks to the Albion, it was the Aragon who suddenly found themselves in deep trouble and shortly afterwards the rebels were able to advance towards Quito.