In English, the term "Ecuador" refers to the South American country bordered by Columbia and Peru. In Spanish, the term means "equator," the name given to the country because of its location on the imaginary line.
The republic of Ecuador rests in northwestern South America and gained its independence from Spain in 1822. The Spanish-speaking country is dominated by the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world. At more than 9,000 feet above sea level, Quito is the second-highest capital city in the world. As of 2014, an estimated 15 million reside in Ecuador, with more than 2.5 million in Guayaquil, its largest city.