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(República del Ecuador.)
Constitution and Government.
The Republic of Ecuador was constituted May 11, 1830, in consequence of a civil war which separated the members of the original Republic of Colombia, founded by Simon Bolivar, by uniting the Presidency of Quito to the Vice-Royalty of New Grenada, and the Captaincy-General of Venezuela, when they threw off the Spanish yoke. By its Constitution, dating 1884, with modifications in 1887 and 1896, the executive is vested in a President, elected for the term of four years, while the legislative power is given to a Congress of two Houses; the first consisting of two senators for each province (chosen for four years, one-half retiring every two years), and the second of deputies, on the basis of one deputy for every 30,000 inhabitants, chosen for two years; both elected by adults who can read and write and are Roman Catholics. The Congress meets on the 10th of June of every other year at Quito, the capital, without being summoned by the Government. The election of the President takes place in a direct manner by the people, and that of the Vice-President, whose term of office is also four years, by the same procedure, but two years after that of the President, so that he is a member of two distinct administrations. The Vice-President in certain cases may be called upon to occupy the Presidential chair. He also discharges the duties of President of the Council State.
President of the Republic.—General Alfaro.
The President, who receives a salary of 12,000 sucrés a year, theoretically exercises his functions through a Cabinet of five ministers, who, together with himself, may be impeached by Congress, and who, with other seven members, form a Council of State. Each minister receives a salary of 2,880 sucrés a year. The President has the power of veto, but if Congress insist on a vetoed bill becoming law, he has no alternative but to give his assent to it. He may summon an Extraordinary Congress for a specified purpose, but he cannot dissolve the Chambers or shorten their sittings. By the terms of the Constitution privileges of rank and race are not allowed to exist within the Republic, but most of the Indians are virtually in bondage. By an edict of the present (1896) Supreme Chief the Indians are, exempted from paying tribute, and are admitted to citizenship.
The Provinces are administered by Governors, appointed by the Government; their subdivisions, or cantons, by political chiefs; and the parishes by political lieutenants. The Galapagos Archipelago is under a territorial chief.
Area and Population.
The area of Ecuador is about 120,000 square miles, divided into sixteen provinces and one territory, with about 1,270,000 inhabitants—whites