• The History of Ecuador extends over a 8,000-year period. During
this time a variety of cultures and territories influenced what has
become the Republic of Ecuador. The history can be divided into
five eras: Pre-Columbian, the Conquest, the Colonial Period, the
War of Independence and the Republican Era.
• The beginning of the history is represented by a variety of cultures
and finishes with the Incan invasion. The Incas were followed
closely by the arrival of the conquistadors, the Spanish conquerors.
The Spanish founded modern day Quito and Guayaquil as part of
the political-administration era which lasted until the war of
independence, the rise of Gran Colombia and Simón Bolívar to the
final separation of his vision into what is known today as the
Republic of Ecuador.
The First Inhabitants
• Paleo-Indians are agreed to have originated from Central
Asia, crossing the Beringia land bridge between eastern
Siberia and present-day Alaska. Humans lived throughout the
Americas by the end of the last glacial period, or more
specifically what is known as the late glacial
maximum, around 16,000 — 13,000 years before present.The
details of Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the
American continent, including the dates and the routes
traveled, are subject to ongoing research and discussion.
• Dates for Paleo-Indian migration out of Beringia are a matter
of current debate. Estimates range from 40,000 to around
16,500 years ago.
• The routes of migration are also debated. The
traditional theory is that these early migrants moved
when sea levels were significantly lowered due to the
Quaternary glaciation, following herds of now-extinct
pleistocene megafauna along ice-free corridors that
stretched between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice
sheets. Another route proposed is that, either on foot
or using primitive boats, they migrated down the
Pacific Northwest coast to South America as far as
Chile. Any archaeological evidence of coastal
occupation during the last Ice Age would now have
been covered by the sea level rise, up to a hundred
meters since then.
The First Inhabitants
• Ecuador's culture and history mirrors the diversity of its
landscape. Like much of South America, Ecuadorian culture
blends the influences of Spanish colonialism with the resilient
traditions of pre-Columbian peoples.
• Archaeologists trace the first inhabitants as far back as 10,000
BC, when hunters and gatherers established settlements on
the southern coast and in the central highlands. By 3,200 BC
three distinct agricultural-based civilizations had
emerged, producing some of the hemisphere's oldest known
pottery. They developed trade routes with nearby
Peru, Brazil, and Amazonian tribes.
Hunters and Gatherers
• A hunter-gatherer or forager society is one in which most or all food
is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural
societies, which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunter-
gatherers are a type of nomad.
• Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of
Homo. As The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunter-Gatherers says:
"Hunting and gathering was humanity's first and most successful
adaptation, occupying at least 90 percent of human history. Until
12,000 years ago, all humans lived this way.“ Following the
invention of agriculture, hunter-gatherers have been displaced by
farming or pastoralist groups in most parts of the world. Only a few
contemporary societies are classified as hunter-gatherers, and
many supplement, sometimes extensively, their foraging activity
with farming and/or keeping animals.