The Naso tribe, whose millennia-old royal inheritance system is recognised by the state, banished King Tito Santana for opening the kingdom to developers.
"Many of us are opposed to a king who, for us, is selling our society without any thought for tomorrow," Eduardo Santana, a nephew of Tito, told Reuters. The project risked cultural and environmental harm, he said. "We are part of nature and if we do not look after it, who will?"
Accused of putting his own interests ahead of the 2,500-strong tribe, the king and several hundred followers fled the capital, Seiyik, a village of palm-thatched huts on stilts accessible only by canoe, to a settlement near the village of El Silencio.