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Manta - Ecuador

Ecuadorian Coast: Culture and Characteristics

In Ecuador, it is a popular knowledge that the people that live at the coast are uncomplicated and have a cheerful personality. Their climate allows them to have a very free upbringing and this makes them very open and relaxed. In the coast of Ecuador, you can find diverse cultures that belong to the Chachi or Cayapas, the Montubios, the Cholo Pescador, the Epera, and the Tsachilas or generally known as Colorados. The latter owes their name to their particular appearance since men comb their hair with achiote (annatto) giving it a unique shape and red color. However, they reject this name given by the mestizo and claim the name Tsá Chila, which means «true people.»

The Montubios, mainly located in the province of Manabí, are very important in Ecuadorian history because they are considered to have played a protagonist role in the social, economic, political and agricultural development of the country. José de la Cuadra (1903-1941), a famous Ecuadorian writer, highlighted that the Montubios were part of the rural militias that fought in the wars of the independence against the Spanish, with Antonio Jose de Sucre and Simon Bolivar in the battalions of Yaguachi and Daule.

The Montubios are sometimes mistaken for campesinos (peasants), but they are not, they are an ethnic and cultural identity from the coast. They way in which they organized their lives comes from popular knowledge ranging from agriculture (crops of cacao, banana, rice) and livestock, to gastronomy and other expressions such as literature (amorfinos, legends, games), music, dances, and the rodeo.

This popular knowledge or traditions may even have its origins in the pre-Columbian archaeological cultures that can be found in this territory, which are:

  1. Chorrera (between the years 1,200 and 500 BC): This culture is very important for its artistic expression, represented especially in its pottery.
  2. Valdivia (developed between 3500 and 1800 years BC): located on the west coast of Ecuador, their most outstanding aspects are the female figurines made of clay called today «venus», which show a special cult to women and fertility.
  3. Guangala (corresponding to 500 years BC and 500 AD): Characterized by having had an intense agricultural activity that was complemented with the provision of sea foods and hunting.
  4. Manteña (developed approximately from 600 to 1534 AD): It is said, in the Spanish chronicles, that the manteños had knowledge of navigation and fishing, lived in small wooden houses, and possessed crafts of gold and emeralds.
  5. Huancavilca (between 800 and 1500 AD): Known in history because they extracted their teeth at an early age as a sign of sacrifice to their gods, which is why they called them «the toothless.» They developed agriculture and were excellent warriors.

Experience all these cultures first hand! Start living in Ecuador!

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Here in Start Living you will find all kind of information you need for traveling around Ecuador. We invite you to visit and discover this wonderful country and live ...

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