(Redirected from Afro-Ecuadorian)

Afro-Ecuadorians or Afroecuatorianos (Spanish), are Ecuadorians of predominantly Sub-Saharan African descent.[2]

Danzantes afroecuatorianas.jpg
Afro-Ecuadorian girls in traditional clothing.
Total population
1,120,000 (7.2% self identified in 2010 census).[1]
Regions with significant populations
Esmeraldas, Guayaquil, Valle del Chota, Imbabura Province Sucumbíos Province Small minorities live in the U.S., and Spain
Spanish or English as a second language
Predominantly Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Other Afro-Latin Americans.

History and backgroundEdit

Los tres mulatos de Esmeraldas (1599) by Sánchez Galque.

Most Afro-Ecuadorians are the descendants of enslaved Africans who were transported by Spanish slavers to Ecuador from the early 16th century.[3] In 1553, the first enslaved Africans reached Ecuador in Quito when a slave ship heading to Peru was stranded off the Ecuadorian coast. The enslaved Africans escaped and established maroon settlements in Esmeraldas, which became a safe haven as many Africans fleeing slave conditions either escaped to there or were forced to live there. Eventually, they started moving from their traditional homeland and were settling everywhere in Ecuador.[4]

Portrait of a Quito Matron Lady with Her Black Slave (1783) by Vicente Albán.

Racism, on an individual basis and societally, such as Mestizaje and Blanqueamiento are deeply ingrained from the Spanish colonial era is still encountered; Afro-Ecuadorians are strongly discriminated against by the mestizo and criollo populations.[5][6] As a result, along with lack of government funding and low social mobility poverty affects their community more so than the white and mestizo population of Ecuador.[7][8] After slavery was abolished in 1851, Africans became marginalized in Ecuador, dominated by the plantation owners.[9]

A typical street scene in Esmeraldas (2005).

Afro-Ecuadorian people and culture are found primarily in the country's northwest coastal region. The majority of the Afro-Ecuadorian population (70%)[10] are found in the province of Esmeraldas and the Valle del Chota in the Imbabura Province, where they are the majority.[11] They can be also found in significant numbers in Guayaquil, and in Ibarra, where in some neighborhoods, they make up a majority.[12] Many Afro-Ecuadorians have participated in sports, for instance playing with the Ecuadorian national football team, many of whom hail from Valle del Chota.[13]


Afro-Ecuadorians at a convention to receive cultural recognition, traditional instruments can be seen in the background

Afro-Ecuadorian culture may be analysed by considering the two main epicenters of historical presence: the province of Esmeraldas, and the Chota Valley.[14] In Equador it is often said that Afro Equadorians live predominantly in warm places like Esmeraldas.[15] Afro-Ecuadorian culture is a result of the Trans-atlantic slave trade.[11] Their culture and its impact on Ecuador has led to many aspects from West and Central Africa cultures being preserved via ordinary acts of resistance and commerce.[16] Examples of these include the use of polyrhythmic techniques, traditional instruments and dances; along with food ways such as the use of crops brought from Africa, like the Plantain and Pigeon pea, and oral traditions and mythology like La Tunda.[17][18][19][20] When women wear their hair as it grows naturally, it is often associated with poverty, which is why successful or upwardly mobile women tended to straighten their hair.[21]


A typical marimba from Esmeralda.

Marimba music is popular from Esmeraldas to the Pacific Region of Colombia. It was considered an Intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2010.[22] It gets its name from the prominent use of marimbas, but is accompanied along with dances, chants, drums and other instruments specific to this region such as the bombo, the cununo and the guasá.[23]

An example of the Cununo in the semi-final round of a championship in Esmeraldas.

Sometimes this music is played in religious ceremonies, as well as in celebrations and parties. It features call and response chanting along with the music. Some of the rhythms associated with it are currulao, bambuco and andarele.[24]

Afro-Ecuadorian style drum from Esmeralda.

On the other hand, in the Chota Valley there is bomba music. It can vary from mid tempo to a very fast rhythm. It is usually played with guitars, as well as the main local instrument called bomba, which is a drum, along with a guiro, and sometimes bombos and bongos. A variation of it played by la banda mocha, groups who play bomba with a bombo, guiro and plant leaves to give melody.[25]


Religious practice among Afro-Ecuadorians is usually Roman Catholic. Catholic worship is distinctive in Esmeraldas, and sometimes is done with marimba[26][27]

Political frameworkEdit

Dr. Diana Salazar Méndez, Attorney General - Quito (2019)

Numerous organizations have been established in Ecuador to care for the needs of Afro-Ecuadorians. The Afro-Ecuadorian Development Council (CONDAE). Afro-Ecuadorian Development Corporation (Corporación de Desarrollo Afroecuatoriano, CODAE), institutionalized in 2002, Asociación de Negros Ecuatorianos (ASONE), founded in 1988, Afro-Ecuadorian Institute, founded 1989, the Agustín Delgado Foundation, the Black Community Movement (El Proceso de Comunidades Negras) and The National Confederation of Afro-Ecuadorians (Confederación Nacional Afroecuatoriana, CNA) are amongst some of the institutional frameworks in place in Ecuador.[9] The World Bank has funded Afro-Ecuadorian development proposals in Ecuador since 1998, loaning $34 million for related projects between 2003 and 2007, and USAID also overlooked the 2006 elections in Ecuador to see that Afro-Ecuadorians were fairly represented.[9]

Notable Afro-EcuadoriansEdit















An Afro-Ecuadorian in the national assembly.
Semifinal of the Encebollado Championship in Esmeraldas 2015
Semifinal of the Encebollado Championship in Esmeraldas 2015
"Together for our rights" March through the streets of San Lorenzo, Esmeraldas
Semifinal of the Encebollado Championship in Esmeraldas 2015
Semifinal of the Encebollado Championship in Esmeraldas 2015
Afro-Ecuadorian girls in traditional clothing.
An Afro-Ecuadorian artesian vendor.
Afro-Ecuadorians offer recognition to Foreign Minister.
Afro-Ecuadorians offer recognition to Foreign Minister.
Afro-Ecuadorians offer recognition to Foreign Minister.
Afro-Ecuadorians offer recognition to Foreign Minister.
An Afro-Ecuadorian marimba groups from Esmeraldas

See alsoEdit


  1. ^[dead link]
  2. ^ "MAR | Data | Assessment for Blacks in Ecuador". Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  3. ^ "Up from slavery, Afro-Ecuadorians continue the struggle for their place in society". CuencaHighLife. 2018-10-15. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  4. ^ "Afro-Ecuadorian - Afropedea". Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  5. ^ "Much work needed to 'target unacceptable levels' of racism in Ecuador: UN experts". UN News. 2019-12-23. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  6. ^ "Afro-Ecuadorians". Minority Rights Group. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  7. ^ "Poverty rates in Ecuador". Statista. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  8. ^ "Government should do more to reduce poverty among Afro-Ecuadorians, UN says". CuencaHighLife. 2019-12-26. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  9. ^ a b c "Assessment for Blacks in Ecuador". CIDCM. Archived from the original on June 22, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  10. ^ "Esmeraldas and its Afro-Ecuadorian Cultural Legacy". Sounds and Colours. 2015-06-19. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  11. ^ a b "How Afro-Ecuadorians shaped the country's culture". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  12. ^ "Afro Ecuador – Freedom Is Mine". Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  13. ^ "In Ecuador, a poor valley gets a kick start". Christian Science Monitor. 2006-12-27. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  14. ^ "Ecuadorian Culture: Customs, History, Society, Food | don Quijote". Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  15. ^ "Mónica, the first | Translation". Radio Ambulante. 2022-04-26. Retrieved 2022-05-28.
  16. ^ Ph. D., History; M. A., History; B. A., Rhodes College. "There Were 3 Major Ways That Enslaved People Resisted a Life in Bondage". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  17. ^ "A Botanical Story of Slavery and the Survival of the Wisdom of Africa". Hidden Garden. 2016-08-04. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  18. ^ "Pigeonpea". Crop Wild Relatives. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  19. ^ Breslin, Patrick (2007). "Juan Garcia and the Oral Tradition of Afro-Ecuador". hdl:10644/5940. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  20. ^ "La Tunda es un mito afroecuatoriano con fondo emancipador". El Comercio (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-05-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ Lago, Ivonne. "Paola Cabezas: "A la vida hay que ponerle tumbao"". Retrieved 2022-05-28.
  22. ^ "UNESCO - Marimba music, traditional chants and dances from the Colombia South Pacific region and Esmeraldas Province of Ecuador". Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  23. ^ Cornejo, Santiago Carcélen; Ordóñez, Fabricio Morales, The Guardians of the Marimba, the Cununo and the Guasa (in Spanish), retrieved 2021-08-12
  24. ^ "Discover the Afroecuadorian culture". This Is Ecuador. 2019-02-27. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  25. ^ Velasco, Estefanía. "La Bomba, símbolo musical de resistencia de la minoría afroecuatoriana". El Comercio (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2021-08-12. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  26. ^ "Marimba importance on the religious aspects of Afro-Ecuadorians" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-01-14.
  27. ^ Gonzalez, David; Alarcón, Johis (2019-05-31). "Afro-Ecuadoreans Maintain Identity Through Spiritual Practices". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  28. ^ "Paola Cabezas: "A la vida hay que ponerle tumbao"". 2020-12-21. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 2022-05-28.
  29. ^ Black Latin America
  30. ^ "Athletics VILLALBA Virginia Elizabeth - Tokyo 2020 Olympics". .. Archived from the original on 2021-08-10. Retrieved 2021-08-10.
  31. ^ "'We are one big heart' - how Ecuador's 4x100m women made Olympic history in Silesia | FEATURE | WRE 21 | World Athletics". Retrieved 2021-08-10.

External linksEdit