Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean

Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

Ecuador - Comuna del Río Santiago (Santiago River Commune)

The lands of the Santiago River commune were bought by 64 afro descendants members of the commune who were part of the mine's slave gangs.The purchase was made in gold, at a public auction in Quito in 1885 (33 years after manumission from slavery). Estanislao Ponce and Nicolas Jimenez lead the process.

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Accessibility: Through the Santiago River by motorboats and also now through a secondary road.  
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Other data of interest


Historical name

Comuna del Río Santiago (Santiago River Commune)

Founding Date

Established in 1885 June 2. In 1952, the Town Council of the Santiago River-Cayapas commune was legally established, so that the 56 communities would act as forest rangers and protect the forests from future aggressions from illegal loggers.


Norte de Esmeraldas (North of Esmeraldas)

Links to social networks

Responsible entity

President of the Rio Santiago Commune, Joe Corozo

Management plan


Cultural landscape





Access level


Current Use

Population (ancestral) settlement

Original use

Population (ancestral) settlement

Property kind


Heritage documents under its protection

Land purchase-sale contract. The state of conservation of this document is good.

Expressions of intangible heritage associated

Memory of the significance of the Commune establishment, after working as slaves in the mines. Knowledge and know-how, oral tradition.


  • Ancestral settlement