During the pre-Inca period, people lived in clans, which formed great tribes, some allied with each other to form powerful confederations, as the Confederation of Quito. But none of these confederations could resist the formidable momentum of the Tawantinsuyu. The invasion of the Inca in the fifteenth century was very painful and bloody. However, once occupied by the Quito hosts of Huayna Capac (1593-1595), the Incas developed an extensive administration and began the colonization of the region. The pre-Columbian era can be divided up into four eras: the Preceramic Period, the Formative Period, the Period of Regional Development, and the Period of Integration and the Arrival of the Incas.
The Pre Ceramic period begins with the end of the last ice age and continues through 4200BC. The Las Vegas culture and The Inga Cultures dominated this period. The Las Vegas Culture lived on the Santa Elena Peninsula on coast of Ecuador between 9,000-6,000 bc. The earliest people were hunter-gathers and fisherman. Approximately 6,000 bc the culture were among the first to begin farming. The Inga lived in the Sierra near present day Quito between 9000 and 8000 BC along an ancient trade route.
During the Formative Period, people of the region moved from the hunter-gather a simple farming into a more developed society, with permanent developments, an increase in agriculture and the use of ceramics. New cultures included the Machalilla culture, Valdivia, Chorrera in the coast; Cotocollao, The Chimba in the sierra; and Pastaza, Chiguaza in the oriental region. The Valdivia culture is the first culture where significant remains have been discovered. Their civilization dates back as early as 3500 B.C. Living in the area near The Valdivias, they were the first Americans to use pottery. They navigated the seas and established a trade network with tribes in the Andes and the Amazon. Succeeding the Valdivia, the Machallia culture were a farming culture who thrived along the coast of Ecuador between the 2nd and 1st millennia BC. These appear to be the earliest people to cultivate maize in this part of South America. Existing in the late formative period the Chorrera culture lived in the Andes and Coastal Regions of Ecuador between 1000 and 300 BC.
Period of Regional Development:
The period of Regional Development is identified that for the first time the regional differences in the territorial or political and social organization of people that formed. Among the main towns of this period were the cultures: JambelĂ, Guangala, Bahia, Tejar-Daule, La Tolita, Jama Coaque in the coast of Ecuador, in the sierras the Cerro NarrĂo AlausĂ; and in the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle the Tayos.
The figurine of the Bahia Culture (300 BC - 500 AD) La Chimba is the site of the earliest ceramic northern Andes, north of Quito, and is representative of the Formative Period in its final stage. Its inhabitants contacted several villages on the coast and the mountains, keeping close proximity to the Cotocollao culture, located on the plateau of Quito and its surrounding valleys. The Bahia culture occupied the area that stretches from the foothills of the Andes to the Pacific Ocean, and from BahĂa de CarĂˇquez, to the south of Manabi. The Jama-Coaque culture inhabited areas between Cabo San Francisco in Esmeraldas, to BahĂa de CarĂˇquez, in Manabi, in an area of wooded hills and vast beaches of their immigrant who facilitated the gathering of resources of both the jungle and the ocean.
La Tolita Culture:
The La Tolita developed in the coastal region of Southern Colombia and Northern Ecuador between 600 bc and 200 dc. A Number of archaeological sites have been discovered and show the highly artistic nature of this culture. Artifacts are characterized by gold jewelry, beautiful anthropomorphous masks and figurines that reflect a hierarchical society with complex ceremonies.
Period of Integration and the Arrival of the Inca:
Tribes throughout Ecuador integrated during this period. They created better housing that allowed them to improve their living conditions and no longer be subject to the climate. In the mountains Cosangua-PĂllaro, the CapulĂ and Piartal-Tuza cultures arose, in the eastern region was the YasunĂ Phase while the Milagro, ManteĂ±a and Huancavilca cultures developed on the coast.
The ManteĂ±os were the last of the pre-Columbian cultures in the coastal region existing between 600-1534. They were the first to witness the arrival of Spanish ships sailing in the surrounding Pacific Ocean. According to archaeological evidence and Spanish chronicles the civilization existed from Bahia de Caraquez to Cerro de Hojas in the south. They were excellent weavers, produced textiles, articles of gold, silver spondylus shells and mother of pearls. The manteĂ±os mastered the seas and created an extensive trade routes as far as Chile to the south and Western Mexico to the north. The center of the culture was in the area of Manta which was named in their honor.
The Huancavilcas constitute the most important pre colombinan culture of Guayas. These warriors were noted for their appearance. Huancavilca of culture is the legend of Guayas and Quiles, which gives its name to the city of Guayaquil.
Los Shyris and the Kingdom of Quito:
The existence of the Kingdom of Quito was formed by the Quitus, the Puruhaes and CaĂ±ari who inhabited the Andean regions of Ecuador by that time. Their main settlement was located in the area now known as the city of Quito, and its inhabitants were called Quitus. The Quitus were militarily weak, and formed only a small, poorly organized kingdom. Because of this it could not raise a strong resistance against invaders, and were easily defeated and subjugated by the Shyris, ancient indigenous people who joined the Kingdom of Quito. The Shyris dominated for more than 700 years, and their dynasty saw the invasion of the Inca Tupac Yupanqui.
The Inca civilization expansion northward from modern-day Peru during the late fifteenth century met with fierce resistance by several Ecuadorian tribes, particularly the CaĂ±ari, in the region around modern-day Cuenca; the Cara in the Sierra north of Quito along with the Quitu, occupants of the site of the modern capital, with whom they had formed the Kingdom of Quito. The conquest of Ecuador began in 1463 under the leadership of the ninth Inca, the great warrior Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui. In that year, his son Tupa took over command of the army and began his march northward through the Sierra.
By 1500 Tupa's son, Huayna Capac, overcame the resistance of these populations and that of the Cara, and thus incorporated most of modern-day Ecuador into Tawantinsuyu, as the Inca empire was known. The influence of these conquerors based in Cuzco (modern-day Peru) was limited to about a half century, or less in some parts of Ecuador. During that period, some aspects of life remained unchanged. Traditional religious beliefs, for example, persisted throughout the period of Inca rule. In other areas, however, such as agriculture, land tenure, and social organization, Inca rule had a profound effect despite its relatively short duration.
Emperor Huayna Capac became very fond of Quito, making it a secondary capital of Tawantinsuyu and living out his elder years there before his death in about 1527. Huayna Capac's sudden death from a strange disease, described by one smallpox precipitated a bitter power struggle between Huascar, whose mother was Coya (meaning Empress) Mama Rahua Occillo and legetimate heir, and Atahualpa, a son who, borne to a Quitu princess, and reputedly his father's "favorite."
This struggle raged during the half-decade before the arrival of Francisco Pizarro's conquering expedition in 1532. The key battle of this civil war was fought on Ecuadorian soil, near Riobamba, where Huascar's northbound troops were met and defeated by Atahualpa's southbound troops. Atahualpa's final victory over Huascar in the days just before the Spanish conquerors arrived resulted in large part from the loyalty of two of Huayna Capac's best generals, who were based in Quito along with Atahualpa. The victory remains a source of national pride to Ecuadorians as a rare case when "Ecuador" forcefully bettered a "neighboring country."
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