Cara culture

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The Cara culture flourished in coastal Ecuador, in what is now Manabí Province, in the first millennium CE.


In the 10th century CE, they followed the Esmeraldas River up to the high Andean valley now known as the city San Francisco de Quito. They defeated the local Quitu tribe and set up a kingdom. The combined Quitu-Cara culture was known as the Shyris civilization, or the Caranqui civilization which thrived from 800 CE to the 1470s.[1]

For more than four centuries under the kings, called shyris, of the Caras, the Kingdom of Quito dominated much of highlands of modern Ecuador. The Caras and their allies were narrowly defeated in the epic battles of Tiocajas and Tixán in 1462, by an army of 250,000 led by Túpac Inca, the son of the Emperor of the Incas.[2] After several decades of consolidation, the Kingdom of Quito became integrated into the Incan Empire.

In 1534 the Quitu-Cara culture were conquered by the Spanish. They became extinct chiefly from exposure to new European infectious diseases, which took a heavy toll in fatalities. In addition, the Spanish conquerors married Quitu-Cara women, and descendants continued to intermarry, producing the mestizo population of the region.

Historians Jacinto Jijón y Caamaño and Alfredo Pareja Diezcanseco contested the existence of such Kingdom and pointed to the dubious existence of that date, having no evidence of Quitu remains. The Quitus existence does not prove the contested Kingdom of Quito, only gives credence, and partially supports its existence. [3]


The Caranqui language is preserved in place names, such as the city of Carán, and the martial term Shyri, still in use in the Ecuadorean Army.


  1. ^ "Ecuador Culture & Human History of the Northern Andes." Archived May 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Ecuador Travel Guide. (retrieved 3 May 2011)
  2. ^ Cevallos Alfredo Tinajero and Amparo Barba González Chronology of a Brief History of Ecuador. No date.
  3. ^ "Entre mitos y fábulas: El Ecuador Precolombino." Archived November 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Ernesto Salazar. (retrieved 30 Sep 2012)