Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America. The country also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 km west of the mainland. Ecuador straddles the equator, from which it takes its name, and has an area of 283,561 km2. Its capital city is Quito. The country's largest city is Guayaquil.
Ecuador is a presidential republic and became independent in 1830, after having been part of the Spanish colonial empire and the republic of Gran Colombia. It is a medium-income country with an HDI score of 0.695 (2010), and about 35.1% of the people living below the poverty line. (source)