Following the arrival of the Spanish, the culture of Ecuador consolidated and moved towards Roman Catholic conversion.
Somewhere between 40-50% of the population is identified at MESTIZC, which is a blend of Indigenous and Spanish genes.
The official language is Spanish and there are two significant indigenous languages:
- QUECHUA – The language of the Inca’s which was prevalent in Ecuador prior to the Spanish settling.
- SHUAR – The language of the Indigenous people of Peru and Ecuador, members of the JIVAROAN who are an Amazonian tribe.
Surnames in Ecuador have a mix of origins – Spanish, Basque, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Italian and even Gaelic. In the rest of this post I will share some examples:
|Name||Surname Type||Information, Details or Meaning||Origin|
|Alvarez||Patronymic||Son of Alvaro||Spanish|
|Aguilor||Occupational||Hunter of eagles||Basque|
|Figueroa||Occupational||Seller and creator of statuettes||Spanish|
|Hernadez||Patronymic||Son of Hernan||Spanish|
|Palma||Topographical||Someone from Palma||Italian|
|Perez||Patronymic||Son of Pero||Spanish|
|Ruiz||Patronymic||Son of Roderick||Spanish|
|Sarmiento||Topographical||Grapevine (or someone from the town of the same name in Argentina||Spanish|
|Vega||Topographical||Lives on the plain||Spanish|
The range of surname types is consistent with other countries, likely the most common is Patronymic, indicating the son of…. In the case of illegitimate children, the child often takes the Patronymic format of his maternal grandfather.
Some surnames are in surname groups where it is easy to establish the type, if we look at the examples above there are some obvious Topographical ones, such as, Palma, Vega and Molina. Yet, some surnames are perhaps a reference to a location and another surname type. In this instance, Molina could also be an Occupational name, in this case, Mill is actually a reference to a Miller.
Traditionally in Ecuador, a father’s last name is taken as an individuals first last name and then uses their mother’s last name as the second last name, thus connecting the child to both parents and their cultural heritage.