Due to the introduction of disease, abuse, and enslavement, more than 70 percent of the indigenous population died by the end of the century.Few Spaniards or other Europeans immigrated to Ecuador during the colonial era, which lasted until 1822.The arrival of a few English men, some Spanish traders, and a handful of other Europeans were exceptions.

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For an updated version of this profile, click here. Ecuador's geographical variety is nearly matched by its diverse migration patterns.

Although it is a small Andean country of approximately 13.3 million people, Ecuadorians are one of the largest immigrant groups in metro New York and the second largest immigrant group in Spain.

In the past 25 years, Ecuador has experienced two major waves of emigration, sending 10 to15 percent of Ecuadorians overseas, mostly to Spain, the United States, Italy, Venezuela, with a small but growing number in Chile.

While the country continues to experience emigration, the number of immigrants, particularly Peruvians and Colombians, has increased in the last five years.

The African slaves established a maroon society (freed slaves), and maintained autonomy during much of the colonial era.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, colonial authorities in Quito arranged for the shipment of African slaves, who were put to work in Ibarra, Guayaquil, and the gold mines of modern-day Colombia (Popayán).A smaller number of slaves were imported to Quito, Cuenca, and other urban areas.Most Peruvians are economic migrants, and the majority of Colombians are refugees, escaping an escalation of armed conflict since 2002 and the hardships created by drug eradication programs (spraying coca crops) in southern Colombia.The newly elected president, Rafael Correa, has reached out to Ecuadorian communities overseas and has promised to incorporate them into the economic and political life of Ecuador.Historical Background The population of what is now Ecuador witnessed considerable disruption between 14.The Inca invaded from Peru during the later half of the 15th century, and Spanish conquerors arrived in 1534.