The Caranqui Roots of Twentieth-Century Cayambe Identity in Highland Ecuador

Prepared for delivery at the 26th Annual Midwest Andean and Amazonian Conference, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, February 28-March 1, 1998.


The Inka conquest of northern Ecuador came only briefly before the onslaught of the Spanish conquest. As a result, Inka colonial institutions and cultural traditions have had much less of an impact in this region than in the central and southern Andes. This paper examines how twentieth-century constructs of identity in the Cayambe region of the northern highlands of Ecuador trace back to the pre-Inka Caranqui civilizations. It analyzes how the formation of identities, the social constructs of land, and the development of political protest actions have emerged in a unique manner in this region, and how that is a result of the historic development of cultural traditions in this area.

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