Esmeraldas Province

The Esmeraldas (Spanish Provincia de Esmeraldas ) Province is a province in Ecuador. In it live on 15.2 thousand km ² 450,000 people. The provincial capital is also called Esmeraldas. The province flows through the water-rich Río Esmeraldas. Esmeraldas is the Spanish word for emeralds.

Location and geography

The Esmeraldas province located in north- western Ecuador. It is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the north by Colombia ( Departamento de Nariño ), to the east by the provinces of Carchi and Imbabura and on the south by the provinces of Pichincha, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas and Manabí.

The climate is tropical in Esmeraldas with intense sunshine and high humidity. The province is one of the most malaria -prone areas of the country, which is one less problem for tourists and for the local population. The province is known for its beaches, for example in Las Penas, Rio Verde, Atacames Súa and on the island of Muisne. The local cuisine is marked accordingly by a wide variety of fruits and legumes, as well as fish dishes. In Esmeraldas also the world's highest quality cocoa is grown ( cacao nacional fino de aroma ). Also mangrove swamps that have been destroyed by quasi- industrial shrimp farming for the most part, are found in the province. The tropical coastal rainforest is under severe threat from unchecked deforestation. Up to 80 % of the original forest have already been destroyed. This, and the spread of monocultures is the rich biodiversity - the province is referred to as a biological hot spot - at risk.

Economy and infrastructure

The capital city of Esmeraldas and the neighboring Puerto Balao are important port cities, especially for the export of subsidized in the Ecuadorian part of the Amazon lowlands oil. Puerto Balao is the end point of the 503 km long pipeline Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados ​​( OCP), which begins in Nueva Loja ( Sucumbios ). In Esmeraldas is also a large oil refinery plant. In the city of Esmeraldas itself is a commercial port, are shipped across the mainly agricultural goods. Furthermore Esmeraldas has a semi- international airport, from which there is a flight to Cali in Colombia. From Ibarra ( Imbabura province ) in the esmeraldenische port city of San Lorenzo ( e) wrong track, a railcar ( autoferro ), the route also passes through tropical forests.

Main products of the province are bananas, shrimp and palm oil from the African oil palm ( palma africana ) is obtained, and precious woods, tobacco and cocoa.


Esmeraldas is the province with the highest population percentage of Afro - Ecuadorians. The ancestors of most Afro - Ecuadorians arrived probably ( in small part ) as a castaway from slave transports floating off the coast of what was then largely undeveloped area or were ( mostly ) freed or escaped slaves (mainly gold prospectors from Colombia), which is called in the " palenques " hidden settlements along the rivers in the north, withdrew. In addition to them and the population of mestizos part of the province forms the settlement area of the indigenous ethnic group of Cayapa who describe themselves as Chachi, as well as for smaller groups of Epera and Awá Indians.

Since the last decades, many farm workers (mainly from Manabí ) move from the southern provinces in search of fertile land in Esmeraldas. This population pressure on the province is reinforced by the many Colombian refugees. Thus, the province of Esmeraldas has become a region with a high ethnic diversity.


The Esmeraldas province has been inhabited for thousands of years. The Tolita culture was between 500 BC and 400 AD on the territory of today's province resident. It is named in the northwest of Esmeraldas to the island of La Tolita.

The Cara in the 13th century, later conquered by the Incas area around Quito dominated (see also Shyri Empire ), also had their settlements in the province today ( Atacames ) and south of it in Manabí, where Bahía de Caráquez an important center had. The indigenous peoples of the Chachi and Tsáchila ( Colorado ) away still part of their culture.

The Esmeraldas region was in 1525 the first part of Ecuador, which was discovered by the Spanish, Bartolomé Ruiz traveled at the behest of Francisco Pizarro from Panama also to the south. 1529 was Diego de Almagro on the same path to the Río Esmeraldas. Probably in 1533 came the first blacks as slaves shipwrecked in the region. During the colonial period Esmeraldas was hardly developed, initially it was under the administration of the Mercedarians Order, and later became the province. Pedro Vicente Maldonado in the 18th century undertook the successful, but not sustained attempt to connect the coast of the province of Esmeraldas to Quito by a transport route. He was appointed governor of Atacames / Esmeraldas, explored the region and founded new settlements. After his death, the transport and its civilizing project fell progressively.

The area of present-day Esmeraldas declared itself independent of Spain in 1820. It became part of Gran Colombia. Through its territorial reorganization in 1824 the province of Esmeraldas was dissolved and the province of Imbabura as Canton first, then incorporated into the province of Quito ( Pichincha). 1861 Esmeraldas was re-established as a province.


Prefect of the province Lucía Sosa is from the left Movimiento Popular Democrático (MPD ), which includes the mayor of the capital city of Esmeraldas, Ernesto Estupiñán belongs. Esmeraldas is a stronghold of the MPD.

The governor appointed by the president of Ecuador is since November 2007 Victor Mendieta.


The Esmeraldas province is currently divided into seven cantons. These are ( in order of establishment ):

Is with the province of Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas or previously the province of Pichincha in 50 years there are disputes over a border area around La Concordia, which connected by claims of a State as the province of Esmeraldas, after claims of the other in Santo Domingo de los Colorados remain. Beginning of November 2007 was appointed as the province of Esmeraldas Canton La Concordia from the National Congress. After the provincial establishment law of the province of Santo Domingo (from October 2007), however, a referendum is about the province belonging.


  • Esmeraldas ' fine cocoa. Documentary, Germany 2012, 52 min, GEO, arte, Row: 360 ° - Geo documentary, first broadcast on 4 June 2012 in arte