Ecuadorians

Ecuadorian people consist of a diverse collection of ethnic groups, almost all related to another group in one way or another. The great majority of Ecuadorians trace their origins to one or more of three geographical sources of human migrations: the pre-Hispanic indigenous populations who settled the region over 15,000 years ago, the Europeans (principally Spaniards) who arrived over five centuries ago, and ultimately the black sub-Saharan Africans whom they imported as slave labor during the same period. The mixing of two or more of these three groups established other mixed ethnic groups. Mestizos, the multiracial group of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry, are by far the largest of all the ethnic groups and comprise around 71.9% of the current population. Whites are estimated at 6.1% and consist largely of those of unmixed or predominant European descent. Most white Ecuadorans are of colonial-era Spanish origin, also known as criollos (literally meaning “local-born Spaniards”, as opposed to “Peninsulares”, which were Spaniards born in the Iberian Peninsula in Spain. They also include descendants of immigrants from Italy, Germany, and France, as well as other countries. The third most numerous group are the indigenous Amerindians, who account for approximately 7% of the population. Afro-Ecuadoreans make up most of the balance of the percentage and include mulattos (mixed European and sub-Saharan African) and zambos (mixed indigenous and sub-Saharan African).