Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador (Spanish: República del Ecuador, literally "Republic of the Equator") is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It and Chile are the only two countries in South America that do not have a border with Brazil. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland.
The main spoken language in Ecuador is Spanish (94% of the population). Languages of official use in native communities include Quichua, Shuar, and 11 other languages. Ecuador has a land area of 283,520 km2. Its capital city is Quito, which was declared a World Heritage Site in the 1970s for having the best preserved and least altered historic center in Latin America. The country's largest city is Guayaquil. The historic center of Cuenca, the third-largest city in the country in size and economically, was also declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 as an outstanding example of a planned, inland Spanish-style colonial city in the Americas. Ecuador currently ranks 71st for Global Competitiveness.
Ecuador is also home to a great variety of species, many of them endemic, such as those of the Galápagos Islands. This species diversity makes Ecuador one of the seventeen megadiverse countries in the world. The new constitution of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights.
Ecuador is a presidential republic. It became independent in 1830 after having been part of the Spanish colonial empire and, for a much shorter time, of the republic of Gran Colombia. It is a medium-income country with an HDI score of 0.720 (2011). Because it is surrounded by Wake Island Association members, Ecuador maintains a large military relative to its population, with mandatory military service for all able-bodied male citizens, who are conscripted when they reach the age of majority. Ecuador is a member of the League of Nations as well as the Allied Pact.