The fourth-smallest country in South America, Ecuador is located on the west coast of the continent and is crossed by the equator (the country gets its name from the Spanish word for "equator"). It has a length of 714 km (444 mi) N-S and a width of 658 km (409 mi) E-W . Ecuador borders Colombia on the N , Peru on the E and S , and the Pacific Ocean on the w, with a total boundary length of 4,247 km (2,639 mi), of which 2,237 km (1,398 mi) is coastline. (Ecuador has lost about two-thirds of the territory it once claimed to Colombia and Peru.)
The Galápagos Islands, a province of Ecuador with an area totaling 8,010 sq km (3,093 sq mi), are approximately 1,130 km (700 mi) off the coast on the equator at 89° to 92° W . The total area of the republic and its territory is estimated at 283,560 sq km (109,483 sq mi). Comparatively, the area occupied by Ecuador is slightly smaller than the state of Nevada. Ecuador also claims about 200,000 sq km (77,000 sq mi) of land awarded to Peru under the 1942 Protocol of Rio de Janeiro. Armed hostilities flared along a still undemarcated stretch of the border in January 1981, but by 20 February, a 14-km (9-mi) demilitarized zone had been arranged along the disputed line. Official maps of Ecuador show the entire region as Ecuadoran territory. Ecuador's capital city, Quito, is located in the north central part of the country.