Oriente (Ecuador), the eastern slopes of the Andes and the tropical rainforest lowlands of Amazonia, covering some 56,000 square miles, and including the provinces of Napo, Pastaza, Morona-Santiago, and Zamora-Chinchipe. The most thinly populated zone in Ecuador (about 3 percent of the total), the region is home to several independent Indian groups (the Shuar, Cofan, Waorani, and lowland Quechua), hunter-gatherers who have never been effectively subjugated by Europeans. Despite the region's remoteness and lack of European settlement, Ecuador and Peru have repeatedly fought over ownership of it. In 1967 a significant oil strike in northern Oriente brought dramatic changes. Settlers from the crowded sierra followed the highways cut into the oil-producing zones. Oriente oil is now Ecuador's leading export.
See alsoEcuador-Peru Boundary Disputes .
On the history of Oriente oil, see John D. Martz, Politics and Petroleum in Ecuador (1987). On boundary disputes in the Oriente, see David Hartzler Zook, Jr., Zarumilla-Marañón: The Ecuador-Peru Dispute (1964).
Tapia, Luis. Territorio, territorialidad, y construcción regional amazónica. Quito: Abya-Yala, 2004.
Trujillo Moncalvo, Patricio. Salvajes, civilizados y civilizadores: La Amazonia ecuatoriana: El espacio de las ilusiones. Quito, Ecuador: Fundación de Investigaciones Andino-Amazónicas: Ediciones Abya-Yala, 2001.
Ronn F. Pineo