Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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ECUADOR. This state was formerly part of the immense colonial possessions of Spain, and afterward, till 1831, constituted, together with New Grenada and Venezuela, the republic of Colombia. Ecuador had to pass through many an ordeal of civil and foreign war before it was able to give itself a definite constitution. It has frequently modified its constitution of 1835, without ceasing, however, to be a republic. The attempts of Gen. Florés to establish a monarchy proved abortive. The legislative power is in the hands of an elective congress, and the executive power is in a president.


—The president exercises his functions through a cabinet of three ministers, who, together with himself and the vice-president, are responsible, individually and collectively, to the congress. There is no power of veto with the president, nor can he dissolve, shorten or prorogue the sittings of congress. By the terms of the constitution no citizen can enjoy titular or other distinctions, nor are hereditary rights or privileges of rank and race allowed within the territory of the republic.


—Ecuador forms a triangle, bounded by the lesser chain of the Cordilleras, which separates it from Colombia, by the Pacific ocean, and by the river Amazon. The area of Ecuador is estimated at 248,372 English square miles, and its population in 1875 was 1,066,137.


—The public revenue in the year 1876 was reported to have amounted to $1,655,000; and the expenditure to $2,400,000. About one half of the revenue is derived from customs duties on imports at the port of Guayaquil, which produced $838,615. At the commencement of 1877 the liabilities of the republic amounted, according to returns of that date, to about $16,370,000, made up of a foreign debt of $9,120,000, contracted in England in 1855, and internal liabilities, $7,250,000. The standing army is estimated to number 1,200 men, while the navy consisted in 1879 of three small steamers.


—The country is one of the most beautiful. Although situated under the equator, it has every variety of climate, the Cordilleras containing a large number of peaks covered with perpetual snow. Nowhere is the vegetation so luxuriant and so rich in valuable products; the country has minerals of various kinds, but as yet little attention has been paid to working them.


—The foreign commerce of Ecuador is mainly with the United Kingdom, and centres in Guayaquil. The total value of the exports of Ecuador to Great Britain, and of the imports of British produce into Ecuador, was as follows in the five years 1875-9:

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The chief articles of export from Ecuador to Great Britain in the year 1879 consisted of Peruvian bark of the value of $1,008,045, and cocoa, of the value of $1,271,365. Of the imports of British produce into Ecuador, cotton goods, to the value of $958,505, formed the principal article in 1879. (See Statesman's Year Book, 1881.)

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