Introduction / History Afro-Ecuadorians are descendants of black African slaves brought to South America by the Spanish during the times of conquest of the region. Afro-Ecuadorians make up a substantial percentage of Ecuador's population. They came to be located in Ecuador also by escaping from a slave ship that ran aground off the coast while heading toward Peru in the 1500s. After establishing a settlement, others from nearby regions migrated there to form a 'strength in numbers' type of society and went on to provide safe haven for escaped slaves who could successfully make the trip to their settlement.
Where are they located? The majority of Afro-Ecuadorians live in the northwest coastal region. About seventy percent live in the Esmeraldas and Imbabura Provinces. Their presence lent much to the development of the local culture with the marimba style music of the area being well known. Later, some of the people began to move throughout Ecuador and Afro-Ecuadorians populate many parts of Ecuador today.
What are their lives like? The economy of Ecuador struggles against fluctuation in the prices paid for its rich natural resources leaving most of the people battling poverty. Political and national economic instability have deeply injured the country's ability to climb to prominence. More than half the population was beneath the poverty line in 2000 and the Afro-Ecuadorians are especially hard hit. Despite the harsh economic adversity, some Afro-Ecuadorians have found a level of success participating on national sports teams.
What are their beliefs? Roman Catholicism influenced the Afro-Ecuadorians and many still practice a form of the belief system.
What are their needs? Like many in underdeveloped parts of the world, the Ecuadorian people need the economic stability and social cohesion brought on by responsible political leadership and sound economic policy. Like all peoples, they also need sound Biblical preaching and teaching challenging them to become exactly what God has called them to be.
Prayer Points * Pray that God will reach this people group with a desire for God's word and for fulfilling God's call in their lives for His glorification.