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Agenda Cultural del Ecuador

Ecuador Ethnicity & Culture
(page 1 of 9)


By any standards, Ecuador is considered ethnically diverse. The breakdown of the population is as follows: mestizo (mixed blood, 65%), Amerindians (25%), Euro-Americans (6%), Afro-Americans (3%), and Oriental (1%). Further, Ecuador's Amerindians are divided into 12 distinct indigenous nationalities.

Culturally, Ecuador is a breath of fresh air thanks to the indigenous communities. Each community, in its own way, struggles to distinguish itself from the cultural homogeneity of European-Spanish consumer culture. Conserving almost all of their traditions, today they astutely lean on the tenets of democracy and the rule of law to preserve their forebear's territories and beliefs.

With the arrival of the Spaniards onto the shores of the New World, two separate societies emerged-- the colonist and the native society. The former has historically tried to displace the latter, and it has only been recently that the state has made efforts towards stopping this cultural violation.

In the constitution of 1996, Ecuador's Amerindians finally received appropriate political recognition from the State. The official recognition designated Ecuador as a country that is pluri-cultural and multiethnic. Further, since 1998, ten languages that belong to these indigenous communities have been recognized by the state as offical languages.

Another group which is culturally and ethnically important for Ecuador are the Afro-Americans. Afro-Americans were brought to Ecuador in the 16th and 17th century as slaves. After achieving their freedom, Afro-Ecuadorians have carved out their own special culture as rich as any in Ecuador. However, their struggle for a fair share of the country's wealth and for their rights as citizens is not as well organized as the Amerindians. Unfortunately, deep-seeded prejudices still exist in Ecuadorian society.

In this section we will learn more about each of these ethnic groups and their struggles to survive in a globalized world.


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