The Spanish conquest in this territory started in 1534, settling an European colony that lasted for almost 300 years. In 1809, a movement toward independence sparked, paving the way for an emancipation process which would last from 1820 to 1822. After the definite independence from the Spanish in May 24, 1822, part of the territory was quickly integrated to the Gran Colombia. However, in 1830 the Gran Colombian territories of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela separated, creating independent republics including the Republic of Ecuador. Ecuador is located in the south western portion of South America, bordering Colombia to the north, Peru to the south and east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is crossed by the Equatorial line, thus lying in both hemispheres. Ecuador has a total area of 283.561 km2. It is composed not only of continental territory for 1000 km from the coast in the Pacific Ocean lays the enchanting insular province of Galapagos. Each of its four regions - coast, highlands, amazon, and the insular region- has a specific weather which lasts almost year round, varying from cold to warm to tropical-humid.
Culture in Ecuador
Ecuador is a multiethnic and multicultural nation. Its population exceeds the 14 million inhabitants of which more than 5.5 million live in the highlands. In the Pacific coast, it amounts near to 6.5 million. In the Amazon and the Galapagos there are more than 600000 and around 17000 people respectively. To analyze the country's culture it is important to consider its ethnic and regional diversity.
Ethnic Groups of Ecuador
Ethnically, Ecuador is marked by the presence of mestizos, indigenous peoples, afro-Ecuadorians and whites. In the cities and towns live the mestizos, white, and afro-Ecuadorians: In the country, two main strong concentrations of African descent populations can be found. One of them in the northern coast in the Esmeraldas province and the second inhabiting the Chota Valley, which is located between the Imbabura and Carchi Provinces.
In its three continental regions coexist as well multiple indigenous nationalities with diverse cultures and traditions unique to each region. The most known amazon indigenous nationalities are: Achuar, Andoa, Cofan, Secoya, Siona, Shiwiar, Shuar, Zapara, Kixhwas Amazonicos, Tahomenani, Tagaeri and Huaorani which in turn is a people of declared by the Ecuadorian state as "intangible" in regards to their will to live isolated from civilization.
In the highlands, the Andes and the austral area you can find the: Kichwua, Natabuela, Cañari, Caranqui, Cayambi, Otavalo, Negros del Chota, Quisapincha, Quitu Kara, Chibuleos, Palta, Panzaleo, pasto, Puruha, Salasaca, Saraguro, Tomabela, Waranca.
In the Pacific Coast are the: Awa, Chanchis or Cayapas, Monteno Huancavilca, Afro-Ecuadorians, Eperas, Cholo Pescador, Montubios, and Tsachilas or Colorados.
Languages of Ecuador
Spanish is the most spoken language of the country. Several local Spanish variants can be found according to the ethnic group, social class or city/rural area. According to the 2001 census, 94% of the population speaks Spanish and 4.8% speaks a native language (3.7% speak both a native language and Spanish; 1.1% only speaks a native language). Of the 13 native languages counted by said census, Quichua, which is spoken by 4.1% of the population, is the most widespread. The second most popular native language is Shuar, spoken by 0.4% of the population.