In Esmeraldas, the African slaves revolted and were able to overpower
their White captors. This small group of approximately 25 slaves subsequently
came ashore and escaped into the dense jungle characteristic of Ecuador's
In this rich and fertile zone, the first Afro-Ecuadorians founded
their villages. The geography of these early settlements was made
up of wide beaches, mangrove forests, crystal clear rivers and tropical
Life would have been relatively ideal for these early settlers if
it was not for the fact that these lands were already inhabited by
native peoples, including the Cayapas, Chachis, Niguas and Campaces.
However, with time, and after some fierce struggles, the diverse populations
were able to establish truces enabling them to coexist peacefully.
In the late 19th century, the people from Esmeraldas, were able
to buy the land upon which they lived from a liberal Ecuadorian government.
A group of Afro-Ecuadorians migrated eastward from Esmeraldas, over
the Andes mountains, and founded the town of Chota just north of what
is now the city of Ibarra. Chota is the only black enclave in the
Ecuadorian Andes. (This small and impoverished town has recently gained
notoriety because it is the home of Ecuadorian national team soccer
stars Agustin Delgado and Ulysses de la Cruz)
Afro-Ecuadorian culture is characterized by their lively, Caribbean
style music and their delicious fish-based cuisine.