The Ecuadorian People
Contemporary Ecuadorian culture has its roots in a rich and multi-ethnic history. The population of Ecuador is similar to the size of the Netherlands and very mixed in ethnic terms. The different people who have settled in Ecuador and the country’s many indigenous groups have all contributed to today’s Ecuadorian culture.
With a population reaching over 2 million, the Andes Quichua are by far the largest group. However, the Andes has many smaller groups such as the Caranqui, the Otavaleños and the Cayambi, to name just a few. The Amazon region is as rich in indigenous cultures as the highlands. In the rainforest Shamanic traditions are respected by the Huaorani and Zaparo, among many others.
In addition to the varied indigenous cultures, Ecuador has a flourishing Mestizo culture and a large Afro-Ecuadorian culture, descendants of African slaves who worked on the sugar plantations on the coast in the sixteenth century. They are known for their marimba music and dance festivals.