The Orellana provice is a new province. It was created in 1998 and named after Francisco de Orellana, the Spanish conquistador who became the first European to see the Amazon River in the year 1542 (historians have later identified Orellanas route into the lowlands as having followed the Payamino River, right through the heart of the community’s territory). The idea of creating the new province (a seperation from Napo Province) was initially proposed by the missionary Alejandro Labaca in 1987. Alejandro Labaca was later speared to death by the huaorani people and the province created 11 years after his death.
The Orellana Province has an area of 20,733 province km² and a population of almost 90.000 people, of which one third live in urban areas and the last two thirds in the rural areas and jungle. The province is divided up in four cantons, Loreto, Aguarico, La Joya de los Sachas and Francisco de Orellana and 33 parishes. Despite Orellana today is a mix of mestizo people from the highlands and black immigrants from the coastal areas, the original inhabitants of the province was the Kichwa and Huaorani people. San Jose de Payamino is located in the Loreto caton.
The main economic activities in the province is oil-production, oil palms, cattle ranching, timber extraction, tourism and small scale agricultural production.
There are several national parks in the province. The most famous is probably The Yasuni National Park. The park covers 983,000 hectares of rainforest and was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1989 and is home to abundant plant and wildlife as well as the huaorani people. Thers is also much tourism in the Cuyabeno Reserve. Other largs parks are Sumaco-Galeras National Park, Limon Cocha Biological Reserve, Some of the large rivers crossing the province is Napo, Coca, Payamino, Tiputini, Yasuní, Aguaríco, Jivino, Cononaco, Nashiño, Indillama and Suno.