When those descended from indigenous or Afro–Ecuadorian parents or ancestors are added to these statistics, people who from an elite and upper–middle–class perspective carry the "taint" of ethnicity become the majority.
The Quichua– speaking people constitute the largest indigenous population of about two million, followed by the Jivaroans who number between 50,000 and 70,000. Spanish, called castellano , is the official Ecuadorian language.
In 1830, Ecuador took its name from the Spanish word for the equator, which crosses the entire northern sector.
The three mainland regions are referred to as the Coast, the Sierra, and Amazonia, or the Oriente ("east").
The Amazonian topography is highly varied, ranging from mountainous regions that tower well over 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) to Amazonian biotopes. The population of Ecuador is estimated as approaching fourteen million and is under–enumerated.
Spanish is the national language; thirteen indigenous languages are spoken, of which the principal ones are Quichua in the Sierra and the Oriente and Jivaroan in the Oriente.
The cultures of the indigenous people are rich and varied, but there are commonalities across languages and societies.
The Quichua (pronounced Kéechua) speakers of the Andes and Amazonia are differentiated from one another, but come together when common causes arise.
All of the nationalities identify in their own languages as both fully human beings and as Ecuadorians.
There is no word resembling indio ("indian") in indigenous languages, and the use of that term is deeply resented.