First of all, the Iquitos people are an Amazon tribe who were the most populous indigenous group of a Jesuit mission founded in 1757. This mission grew into what we now know today as the city of Iquitos in the Loreto region of northern Peru. When the city grew, the natives left and settled in a few different places along the Rio Nanay. Now days, there are only a few people left from the Iquitos tribe and it is expected that the tribe will be extinct within 20 years.
People of Iquitos City
The rubber boom has probably had the greatest impact on the modern day demography of Iquitos. The bicycle craze among other demands drove a ravenous industry tapping rubber from Amazon cities. An influx of people hungry for profit came from all over the globe and especially from Europe and Asia. Iquitos is now the largest Amazon city in Peru and the Iquitos people reflect a mixed ancestry of indigenous, colonial, European and Asian descent; a hot pot of cultural and genetic diversity.
Generally, Iquitos people are fun, friendly and hardworking, and are known for their caring and affectionate nature. You are sure to find many friends among the local people of Iquitos city.
Indigenous People Near Iquitos
Unfortunately, as in other areas of the rainforest, the majority of indigenous groups have been “civilised” by missionaries, died as a result of European brought disease, or were enslaved and murdered by the rubber barons during the rubber boom. Understandably, indigenous groups lost a lot of their culture and identity. These threats have led to the extinction of many indigenous cultures throughout Amazonia and we have lost a vast amount of information as a result. However, traces of indigenous culture remain in Iquitos. Around the city live the somewhat missionary altered tribes of the Bora, Urarinas, Matses, Huitoto, Achua, Yaguas, Shipibos, and Jebero. To read more about these groups, head over to the Iquitos Times.
The Ribereño people of Iquitos
The name Ribereños (river people) refers to the local communities along tributaries of the Peruvian Amazon River. You are sure to see them as you travel to and from your Amazon Rainforest lodge or from an Amazon Cruises. Ribereños make travel by their small canoes look easy as you see young children as at home on the river as they are on land.
The Ribereño life is centered around the river, through fishing to feed their families or selling their catch at market. Fishing is the main source of protein for Amazon people and the main source of income. Ribereños also utilise small scale agriculture to supplement their diet. Their knowledge and main fishing techniques are thought to be tribal in origin and handed down to ribereño descendents. Techniques used by ribereños include fishing with either bow and arrows, spears, harpoons, hooks, nets, traps and even poison from Phyllanthus and other plant genera. These methods are thought to cause minimal environmental effect according to a Rainforest Conservation Fund study, which was carried out in 1999.