Coordinates: 2°00′S 77°30′W / 2.000°S 77.500°W
Ecuador (i E-kwə-dawr, Spanish: [ekwaˈðor]), officially the Republic of Ecuador (Spanish: República del Ecuador, which literally translates as "Republic of the Equator"), is a representative democratic republic in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland.
What is now Ecuador was home to a variety of Amerindian groups that were gradually incorporated into the Inca Empire during the fifteenth century. The territory was colonized by Spain during the sixteenth century, achieving independence in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia, from which it emerged as its own sovereign state in 1830. The legacy of both empires is reflected in Ecuador's ethnically diverse population, with most of its 15.2 million people being mestizos, followed by large minorities of European, Amerindian, and African descendants.