Ecuador is a democratic republic in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) west of the mainland.
What is now Ecuador was home to a variety of Amerindian groups many of which were gradually incorporated into the Inca Empire during the 15th century. The territory was colonized by Spain during the 16th century, declaring its independence in 1820 as part of the so-called ‘Gran Colombia’ Republic. Later on, Ecuador emerged as a sovereign state in 1830. The legacy of both empires is reflected in Ecuador's ethnically diverse population, with most of its 15,2 million people being mestizos, followed by large minorities of European, Amerindian, and African descendants.
The capital city is Quito, while the largest city is Guayaquil. Ecuador has a developing economy that is highly dependent on commodities, namely petroleum and agricultural products. The country is classified as a medium-income country. Ecuador is a democratic presidential republic. Ecuador is also known for its rich biodiversity, hosting many endemic plants and animals, such as those of the Galápagos Islands. It is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world.
In Ecuador, the Amazon region covers approximately 116.284 square kilometers, representing 46.7% of the national territory. It starts in the Andean-Amazonian forests of the Cordillera Real Oriental -at 1,300 meters above sea level along the foothills of the Andes- and expands towards the Amazon plains at approximately 300 meters above sea level, where the green forest is dominated by various
types of lowlands like flooded forests with white and black water, palm forest, tropical forest, etc. Further inland, it has a significant presence of wetlands and other forest ecosystems.