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Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador, is a country in South America, bordered by Colombia and Peru, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America (with Chile) that do not have a border with Brazil. The country also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 965 kilometers west of the mainland. Ecuador straddles the equator, from which it takes its name.

Many civilizations rose throughout Ecuador, such as the Valdivia Culture and Machalilla Culture on the coast, the Quitus and the Cañari. Ecuador became part of the Inca Empire in 1463 and fell under Spanish control in 1530. Ecuador gained its independence from Spain in 1822 and joined Gran Colombia soon after, then became a republic in 1830. Revolts and dictatorships followed; it had 48 presidents during the first 131 years of the republic. Conservatives ruled until the revolution of 1895 ushered in nearly a half century of Radical Liberal rule, during which the church was disestablished and freedom of worship, speech, and press was introduced. Although it was under military rule in the 1970s, the country did not experience the violence and repression characteristic of other Latin American military regimes.

Peru invaded Ecuador in 1941 and seized a large tract of Ecuadoran territory in the disputed Amazon region. In 1981 and 1995 war broke out again. In May 1999, Ecuador and Peru signed a treaty ending the nearly 60-year border dispute.