(Republic of Ecuador, República de Colombia)
- Location: South America
- Capital: Quito
- Language: Spanish
- Population: 14,790,608
- Total Area: 283,561 sq km
- Currency: U.S. dollar
- Curious Alcohol Fact: A fermented drink made of maize, bananas, and Quinua called “chicha” is popular particularly in the Amazon region and is considered to help kidney stones, constipation, and colic.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption per Capita: 9.38
- Most Popular Drink: A drink made of fermented sugar-cane called “burning punta” is quite popular along with beer, particularly brands called Pilsner and Club.
The Republic of Ecuador, or Republica del Ecuador, literally means “The Republic of the Equator” and is a representative democratic republic that straddles the equator. Comprised of 24 provinces with respective administrative capitals and including the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador has three major geographic regions and an insular region on the Pacific Ocean. La Costa is made up of low lands in the west and includes the Pacific coast. The second region is called La Sierra and includes the highlands of the Andes Mountains where plateaus and volcanoes can be found. La Amazonia, also called the Oriente, is the part of the country made up of thick tropical forests and many rivers. La Amazonia makes up half the total surface area of Ecuador, but it is home to less than five percent its population. The Insular Region is comprised of the Galapagos Islands west of the mainland. Most of these islands are actually volcano peaks.
The Incan Empire spanned the bulk of Ecuador until the Spanish colonized it in the late fifteenth century. This ethnically diverse country is home to descendants of these Spanish colonists and Incas or other natives, and they are called Mestizos. While Mestizos make up the majority of the population, Criollos (unmixed descendants of the Spanish), European immigrants, Afro-Ecuadorians (descendants of African slaves brought to the country by the Spanish), and the descendants of mixed African and Natives can also be found among the inhabitants of Ecuador. Ecuador’s constitution recognizes “pluri-nationality” which essentially means that it considers different native groups to be nationalities. This constitution is also the very first to acknowledge Rights of Nature, essentially meaning Ecuadorians protect their land and the creatures who inhabit it.
Ecuadorian culture is dominated by Spanish heritage with various Native and African influences. The most popular sport is football (American soccer), and tennis is also quite popular among the middle and upper classes. A common national sport called ecuavolley, a three person variation of volleyball, is also played in Ecuador. Professional bullfighting, a Spanish influence, is also practiced in various parts of the country.
A national dish called cebiche (raw seafood cocktail of shrimp and mussels or crawfish marinated in vinegar, oil, lime or orange juice) is popular and is served with sliced tomatoes and onions. A common hot sauce made of red chilies called aji can be found throughout the country. Other common foods include apanado (pork with fries, rice, and vegetable salad), seco de pollo (chicken with rice and avocados), and locro (potato and cheese soup). The most important meal of the day is lunch.
Fruit juices made with water or milk are consumed throughout the country. Popular juices range from orange to avocado milkshake. Common alcoholic beverages include beers such as clear Pilsner and Club, a local drink called burning punta (sugar-cane liquor), Cuba Libre (rum, cola, and lemon juice), and Caipiroshka (Vodka with lemon juice). At village parties and district parties in Quito, a spicy hot drink made of sugar-cane liquor and cinnamon called Canelazo is often served.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Rebecca Dimyan, Danbury, CT, USA.