|National Republic of Equador|
|República Nacional do Equador|
|Government Type||Federal Republic|
|Languages||Portuguese (Official) Nheengatu or Língua Geral Amazônica (Official)|
Equador, officially the National-Republic of Equador (República do Equador) is a country located in northwestern South America. Equador is the largest country of the continent by area, and also shares the most number of borders with other countries: seven in total. It is bordered to the northeast by the Atlantic Ocean, to the east by Pernambuco and Bahia, to the south by Brazil, to the west by Peru, to the north by Colombia, Guiana and Palissandria. The majority of the country is inside the Amazon rainforest, which made it one of the 17 megadiverse countries.
Differently from its other Luso-American neighbors, Equador had a second widely spoken language along Portuguese: the Nheengatu or Língua Geral Amazônica, a language from Tupi language family and spoken is most of the country interior.
The region where Equador lies today was already inhabited by humans since 12,000 BC. Around 1000 BC to 1000 AD, complex societies developed along the Atlantic coast and in the Amazon river bank. It’s unknown how those societies ended, by the time of the European arrival they were long gone. In the early 17th century, the region was inhabited by many indigenous groups such as the Tupi, Jê and Caribs. The first Portuguese settlement in the region was the city of Belém built in 1616. During the colonial period, the main economic activity of the colony was the export of fruits and grains.
War for Independence (1875-1879)
In 1874, Portugal abolished slavery in the totality of its territories. At this time, the Portuguese colony of Equador and its agrarian economy was heavily dependent on slave labor. To appease the ex-slave owners, the Portuguese crown promised to pay a certain quantity of money proportional for each now free individual. After a year of negotiations not leading to a result, adding to other issues facing the colony such as: the monopoly of Lisbon over the economy, lack of political representation and high taxation lead to a revolt started by the economic elite.
The revolt quickly spread, and with the help of an discontent military, claiming that the class didn’t receive enough recognition from the government, took over the colony and proclaimed an independent republic. The city of Recife was chosen as the capital.
The newly formed Equadorian government declared the end of slavery in 1875. It was an move to prevent a low-class rebellion starting in the country weakening its forces. But although all former enslaved were free on paper, without public supervision, the practice still happened for decades more in the Amazon and the depths of the Sertão.
Fighting against Portuguese forces took place in various areas of the country, but the Equadorian forces managed of conquering the last Portuguese holding by late 1876. Peru and Colombia agreed to help supply Equador during the war in exchange to the country ceasing to claim some disputed areas in the Amazon.
Equador was finally recognized by Portugal in 1879, but conflict on the country were far from its closure, as a new revolt started two years prior on the eastern coast.
Pernambuco Secession War (1877-1882)
By 1877, the country was too unstable. there were power struggles and coalitions to rig local and regional elections. This led to a series of protests in the capital Recife. Later in the same year, it evolved to full scale revolt when protesters were shot (allegedly) by order of the government.
The rebels took control of the eastern side of the country in the period of five years, obligating the Equadorian government to flee to Belém. The Republic of Pernambuco was born and established Recife as its capital. The Pernambucans received help especially from Bahia. South Tussenland also had a minor role in the conflict on the Pernambuco behalf. In 1882, the border between Equador and Pernambuco was decided to be between the states of Maranhão and Grão-Pará.
Equador in the late-19th Century
The Roraima border dispute
A decade after Equador independence, expedition missions started to be made to the interior of the nation. At that time, the deep Amazon was little known, and the Equadorian government was interested in finding new resources in its territory. In the late mid to late 1880s, explorers arrived in the northern tip of the Roraima region, and to their surprise, the place was already explored by the British.
Since the 1840s, missionaries and explorers from the colony of Guiana traveled south searching for resources and converting natives. Due to the uncertainties about the border in the region, a territorial dispute started.
In 1888, the government of Equador sent a direct message to York demanding which to order the dismantling of the operations in Roraima. The demands were denied in a letter sent to Belém a few weeks later. In response to the denial, Equador started to build military outposts in the region claimed by Britain. This move raised the tension in the region. In 1889, Guiana started to arm its outposts as well. In the same year, a letter explaining the situation was sent to Britain. Not willing to deal with a minor dispute, the British government agreed to discuss the problem with Equadorian envoys in London. In may of 1890, was decided to end the dispute by dividing the region under litigation into two almost equal sized areas, therefore drawing the border officially.
The Amapá border dispute
Since the late 17th century, the Amapá region coastline was mapped and claimed as Portuguese, but due to lack of interest and difficulty establishing a permanent settlement in the region, the area was pretty much forgotten until the late 19th century, when this part of the Amazon rainforest became a diplomatic issue between Equador and the Tuscan colony of Palissandria.
The knowledge of the uncertain border started in 1891, when traders from both Equador and Palissandria started to encounter each other while trying to map and develop trading opportunities with the natives in Amapá. A year prior, Britain already had a draw with Equador for the northeastern region of Roraima, and this time, Equador wasn’t willing to give up once again its claim.
In 1892, negotiations started between the two nations in Florence. Tuscany claimed that the border should be much more south, on the Araguari river, while Equador claimed the border a little north of the Maracá Island. The 1892 didn't end up with a result to the issue, only a year later, 1893, the border was agreed with the mediation of Venice. At that period, Tusacny had interest in developing its South American holdings and wanted more area. Using the argument of Tuscan colonists arriving in the region first, and as there was no official document signed between Tuscany and Portugal to decide where the border should be, northern Amapá is meant to be Tuscan.
By the end of the negotiation, it was decided the lands should be recognized as Palissandria. In exchange for the lands, Tuscany paid 2 million Venetian Lira to Equador.
Equador in the 20th century
The rubber economic boom
The industrial revolution in Europe and North America was responsible for turning natural rubber, made from latex extracted from rubber trees in the amazon, a highly important material exported in the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century, especially by Equador, Colombia and Peru.
In Equador, where the rubber trees were found the most, the opportunity to raise income attracted many to move from the east of the country to the interior of the amazon, this way starting to construct villages that later became cities near the extractivism areas. The profit obtained by the export of rubber made a temporary sensation of ascension in the world scale for the amazonic nation, but this rapid growth didn't last long.
For some decades, these three nations were capable of holding a monopoly over the rubber, but in the early 20th century, seeds of rubber trees were already obtained by foreign powers such as Britain and France. These nations created plantations in their holdings in Guiana, Asia and Oceania, and when the trees became mature enough to produce latex, the South American monopoly over the rubber crumbled.
Participation in the Second Colombian-Peruvian War
In 1917, Equador had secret talks with the Peruvian government about attacking Colombia. At that time, the rubber economic boom was already over, the country faced the rubber prices going down due to the overproduction, thus reducing the profit. Unemployment and many political turmoils also soar over the country. With popularity on the down bottom, the Equadorian government appealed to patriotism to gain support, this way agreeing to join Peru.
Equador attacked Colombia through the Upper Rio Negro region, taking a few villages on the Amazon. But a year later, Colombia managed to turn the situation in its favor and took the occupied territories back. In 1919, after many losses and a manpower shortage, Equador asked for peace. In July of the same year, alongside Peru and Colombia, Equador signed the Treaty of Leonabelle, reestablishing peace in the region. Equador didn’t lose territories like Peru, but needed to pay war reparations to Colombia.
The conflict with Colombia only worsen the public view over the government in Belém. The country faced a shameful defeat, the economy was strangled by a British boycott over Equadorian exports. Britain also ceased economic relations with Equador, thus resulting in a hyperinflation over a series of products, overproduction and devalue of the currency.
1920 Presidential renounce
Some months after the defeat in the war against Colombia, Equador started to face dozens of popular protests across every major urban center. The protesters demanded better living conditions, the end of the high unemployment rate, control of the inflation and agrarian reform.
By 1920, none of the protesters' requirements were solved. This made some see the pacific demonstrations ineffective, thus violent protests and riots soon started to occur, especially in Belém, where protesters gathered in the thousands in front of the government palace. In the western regions of the country, much of the land was owned by rubber tree plantations that now were mostly out of use due to the lack of demand. Because of the end of the Rubber Economic Boom, many lost their jobs after the plantations began to lose workforce demand, and with most of the arable land already owned, much of the population needed to pay atrocious amounts to cultivate in those lands.
This situation culminated in the rise of rebellious groups across western Equador. These groups usually invaded and occupied plantations, later dividing the unused land among each other. They didn’t have a name or a main leader, and consisted of various independent groups.
In august 1920, facing riots on a monthly basis in Belém, Manaus, Santarém and other urban centers, along the troubles on the west of the country, the unpopular president Alberto Nunes renounced his post as president in a nationwide radio broadcast. Nunes soon left the country and took exile in Bahia, where lived until his death in 1953. The vice-president Mário de Sousa was recognized as president on the same day.
Economic struggles and national republican coup
The Great War (1935-1939) hit South America heavily. Since Europe was responsible for most of industrial goods in the raw materials based economy of most countries, the reduction in production for exportation due the war affected directly the south american economies. Countries started to suffer from shortages and started migrating to other markets, such as the growing north american economies.
Among the nations suffering indirectly from the war, Equador was among the ones which suffered the most. Facing political issues since the 1920 Presidential Renounce, investor took away their money from the country, the Equadorian currency lost value, and inflation grew wildly.
The Lima-Belém Conspiracy
Since the end of the Great War, communardism presence decreased in South America, and the continent saw the rise of National Republicanism ideology. In Peru and Equador, part of the military started to discuss in secret talks the installation of a National Republican government in both countries, as a way to restore the prosperity of the countries. From 1940 to 1943, generals from both nations worked together to convince most of the forces to join the cause. In Equador, the head of the national republican conspirators was the general Magalhães Almeida.
1944 National Republican Coup
On the October 2nd, 1944, Equador suffered a national republican coup, only a week after Peruvian nationalists did the same in the neighboring country. Around 02:00pm, military headquaters in Belém started to revolt, later in the day, heavy veiclhes drove towards the government palace. The Equadorian government didn't try to fight back, and surrendered shortly after the nationalist forces threatened storm the building.
Two days later, on the October 4th, president Alberto Carneiro left the country along many other political figures in flight to Rio de Janeiro. The Kingdom of Brasil was the country to receive the most people escaping national republicanism in Equador. The majority of them were former political figures and small porceatages of communards.
Equador under National Republicanism
When National Republicanism was established through the 1944 coup, Equador was facing economic and political disarray for decades. After the flee of the Equadorian president along with the rest of the most relevant political figures, a unipartidary regime was established. The National Republican Party was the most powerful institution in the country. Legislative and judiciary powers were subjugated to the party will and, outside the politics, the party president enforced their interests as being the sole commander of the armed forces.
On November 07th 1944, Russian envoys met in Belém to discuss future partnerships between the two nations. Economically, Russia became the major Equadorian partner. Since the coup, many western nations have established embargoes over Equador, therefore, Russian economic aid was responsible for the country's economic survival through this period. Russia also became the sole provider of industrialized goods, and main investor.
During the first decade, Equador saw a rapid increase in life quality, especially in urban centers, such as Belém, Manaus, Santarém and Boa Vista. This development boosted the process of urbanization of the population. Education, healthcare and infrastructure also received lots of investments. This period also was marked by a rapid population growth.
Acknowledgment of Nheengatu (Amazon General Language)
The Nheengatu, or Língua Geral Amazônica (Amazon General Language) became an official language. The language was persecuted by the Portuguese Crown during colonial times, and later unrecognized by the late 19th to early 20th century independent governments, being widely spoken only in small towns and villages in the depths of the rainforest.