Pre-Columbian and Inca Period
Advanced indigenous cultures such as the Chorrera, Jama Coaque, Bahia, Tolita, Machalilla and Valdivia (The oldest known culture in the Americas), flourished between 10.000 BC and 1.500 AD in the coastal territory of today’s Ecuador. In the highlands, many socially and economically organized tribes such as the Quitus, Cańaris, Puruhaes, Panzaleos and Paltas, were present since ancient times.
The Inca Empire extended from the territories of present day central Chile in the South to what today is Colombia in the North, advancing towards the North through wars with the independent established tribes. In 1460 AD the Inca ruler Tupac Yupanqui invaded present Ecuador from the South. Huayna Capac, son of Tupac Yupanqui, finished the conquest helped by a strong leadership and polices of intermarriage and resettlement.
The Incas spread the use of Quechua, the language of the Incas, which is still widely spoken in Ecuador. Before Huayna Capac died in 1526, he divided the empire between his tw
o sons, Atahualpa who ruled over the North part (Ecuador) while Huascar over the South part of the empire (Peru). The split inheritance was an unconventional move and the two brothers soon entered in a civil war for complete control, which was defined on the side of Atahualpa. When the Spanish conquerors arrived in Ecuador in 1532 the empire was still unstable, weakened and divided
Due to the arrival of the Spanish conquerors to the Pacific coast of South America, the Inca civilization occupied the present Ecuadorian territory during 70 years.