Juan Félix Proaño Castillo

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Ángel Leónidas Araújo Chiriboga

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Alfredo Baquerizo Moreno

Alfredo Baquerizo Moreno (Guayaquil, September 28, 1859 – New York City, March 20, 1951) was a prominent Ecuadorian politician, author, and intellectual figure of the early 20th century. Baquerizo Moreno excelled in various fields throughout his life. He displayed his artistic talents through his poetry, influenced by Spanish author Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, and his novels, which showcased his imaginative storytelling. Baquerizo Moreno’s career in politics was equally impressive, serving as the President of Ecuador from 1916 to 1920. During his presidency, he implemented progressive reforms and prioritized social justice, advocating for the abolition of debt imprisonment and improving labor conditions. Baquerizo Moreno’s lasting contributions to literature and his dedication to public service have secured his place in Ecuadorian history as a multifaceted and influential figure.

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Carlos Carbo Viteri

Carlos Carbo Viteri (April 13, 1865 – August 13, 1922) was a distinguished Ecuadorian poet, translator, congressman, and diplomat, renowned for his substantial contributions to his country’s literature and politics. Influenced by classical Greek and Latin literature, his romantic poetry captured the nuances of everyday life, earning him recognition and acclaim. His poignant poem “A Guayaquil,” composed for the centennial birth anniversary of Vicente Rocafuerte, notably secured him the second prize in a 1883 poetry contest. He also translated foreign works, such as Alphonse de Lamartine’s “El Poeta Moribundo,” into Spanish, making them accessible to a wider audience. In his political career, Carbo Viteri served actively as a congressman while passionately advocating for conservative principles. His service extended to several important positions including the Secretary of the Guayas Governorate and the Municipal Syndic of Guayaquil. Additionally, he represented Ecuador internationally as its Chargé d’Affaires in Chile. His impactful work in both the literary and political spheres has left an enduring imprint on Ecuador’s cultural and political history.

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Juan Montalvo

Juan Montalvo, born Juan María Montalvo y Fiallos (Ambato, Ecuador, April 13, 1832 – Paris, France, January 17, 1889) was an influential Ecuadorian author, essayist, and formidable polemicist whose writings had a significant impact on the political landscape of his time. Known for his notable works such as “Las Catilinarias” (1880) and “Siete Tratados” (1882), Montalvo exhibited a fiery, unapologetic style, often challenging and criticizing the political status quo. As a political liberal, his beliefs were characterized by anti-clericalism and a fierce opposition to the authoritarian regimes of Gabriel García Moreno and Ignacio de Veintemilla. Despite facing exile multiple times, his penetrating critiques and commitment to democratic principles left a lasting legacy in Ecuador and beyond. Montalvo’s audacious spirit, combined with his eloquent prose, positioned him as a key figure in Latin American literature, while his life and works continue to symbolize the power of the written word as a tool for political change.

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Edward Whymper

Edward Whymper (London, England, April 27, 1840 – Chamonix, France, September 16, 1911) was an English mountaineer, explorer, author, and illustrator. Whymper is most famous for his exploration of the Alps and for being the first man to climb the Matterhorn in 1865. In 1880, he ventured on an ambitious expedition to Ecuador with a specific interest in studying the effects of altitude sickness and reduced pressure on the human body. Guided by the experienced Italian mountaineer Jean-Antoine Carrel, Whymper ascended several of Ecuador’s volcanoes, including the Chimborazo and Cotopaxi, making him the first to do so. Beyond the mountaineering feats, his exploration of Ecuador’s mountains resulted in “Travels Amongst the Great Andes of the Equator” (1891), a significant publication that offered deep insights into high-altitude physiology, the diverse biodiversity, and the breathtaking landscapes of the Andes.

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Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin (Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, February 12, 1809 — Downe, Kent, England, April 19, 1882) was a renowned English naturalist and biologist who is best known for his significant contributions to the science of evolution. His most famous work, “On the Origin of Species” (1859), drastically shifted scientific thought and proposed the idea of natural selection. Darwin’s time spent in the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador during his voyage on the HMS Beagle was instrumental in shaping his theories. Here, he meticulously observed and documented a variety of species, including the islands’ famous finches, which varied greatly in characteristics such as beak shape and size from island to island. The diversity and adaptability of these species in response to their unique environments led Darwin to conceptualize the principles of natural selection and evolution. His work, much of which was deeply rooted in the data gathered in the Galápagos, revolutionized our understanding of the natural world and has had an enduring impact on numerous fields of study, from biology to anthropology.

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Honorato Vázquez Ochoa

Honorato Vázquez Ochoa (Cuenca, October 21, 1855 – January 26, 1933) was an Ecuadorian diplomat, lawyer, educator, painter, grammarian, writer, and poet considered one of the most prominent figures of Cuencan lyricism in the 19th century. Vázquez’s literary works spanned different genres, including poetry, essays, and historical accounts. Notable among his works is the poetry book “Los sábados de mayo,” co-written with Miguel Moreno, which exemplified the tendencies of national romanticism in Ecuador. Vázquez’s poems, such as “Morenica del Rosario,” demonstrated his sentimentality and mastery of language, including the use of archaic Spanish. Furthermore, his contributions to the field of linguistics were notable, with regular essays on the Spanish language, Quechua, neologisms, and other language-related topics. In 1886, at the age of 31, he delivered his induction speech to the Ecuadorian Academy of Language, making him one of the youngest members to ever join.

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Manuela Sáenz

Manuela Sáenz Aizpuru de Thorne, commonly known as Manuelita Sáenz (Quito, Ecuador, during the Spanish Empire, December 27, 1797 – Paita, Peru, on November 23, 1856) was a noblewoman, political activist, and heroine in the fight for independence from Spain. Although she did not publish her writings during her lifetime, she did leave behind a significant amount of correspondence, including letters to Simon Bolívar, which provide valuable insight into her life and her role in the struggle for independence. Sáenz became involved in the revolutionary movement at an early age and was the lover and confidante of Simón Bolívar before and during the war for independence. She was instrumental in saving Bolívar’s life on at least one occasion, which led Bolívar to give her the title “Libertadora del libertador” [Liberator of the Liberator]. She accompanied him on many of his campaigns and was present at the Battle of Ayacucho, which marked the end of the Spanish presence in South America. After the war, Sáenz was granted the Order of the Sun or “Dame of the Sun” [Caballeresa del Sol] for her role in the struggle. However, her political activities and her unconventional personal life, which included several affairs, made her the target of criticism and condemnation by many in the conservative society of the time. She ultimately died in exile and poverty. Nevertheless, her legacy as a revolutionary and a feminist icon has endured, and she is remembered today as a symbol of the struggle for independence and women’s rights in South America. She has been the subject of many books in and outside of Ecuador.

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Mireya Romero Plaza

Mireya Romero Plaza de Bravomalo, aka Mireya de Bravomalo or Mireya Romero y Cordero (Quito, January 29, 1929 – July 2014) was an Ecuadorian poet, novelist, and feminist. In 1953, at the age of 23, she published a novel entitled, “La pena fuimos nosotras,” which was read by many women and that put her in the forefront of feminism in Ecuador in the 50’s. In 1956, she published a poetry book entitled, “Heliofina,” prologued by poet Francisco Granizo Rivadeneira. She sometimes used the pseudonym Marga del Río.

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José Peralta

José Peralta Serrano (Chaupi-Yunga, Gualleturo, present day Cañar, 1855 – Quito, December 27, 1937) was an Ecuadorian lawyer, politician, diplomat, educator, writer and journalist who founded several liberal journals in the 19th and early 20th century. He is considered the greatest ideologue of the Liberal Revolution. His works, such as “¿Ineptitud o traición?” (1904), “Tipos de mi Tierra” (1910), “El régimen liberal y el régimen conservador juzgados por sus obras” (1911), and “Eloy Alfaro y sus victimarios” (1951) are an invaluable part of Ecuadorian literature’s heritage. He was an ally of Eloy Alfaro (President of Ecuador from 1895 to 1901 and from 1906 to 1911) and held various diplomatic and public posts during Alfaro’s rule. He was one of the drafters of the 1906 constitution. He was proposed by Alfaro as a candidate to succeed him as president of the republic, which he declined in order to avoid violence from conservatives factions.

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Etelvina Carbo Plaza

Etelvina Carbo Plaza (Daule, March 18, 1834 – Lima, March 22, 1902) was an Ecuadorian poet. Her poems were well-regarded by her contemporaries and form part of some national poetry anthologies. A national poetry contest bearing her name is organized by Sociedad Literaria Etelvina Carbo Plaza, a Daule-based literary society founded in 2016 by writer Cecilia Corella Ramírez. This organization is affiliated with the World Academy of Literature, History, Art and Culture (Mexico). An elementary school in the city of Daule also bears the name Etelvina Carbo Plaza. In 2019, Charles J. García Plúas published a biography of her.

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Miguel Riofrío

Miguel Riofrío Sánchez (Loja, Ecuador, September 7, 1822 – Lima, Peru, October 11, 1879) was an Ecuadorian poet, novelist, journalist, orator, educator, lawyer, and politician. He is best known today as the author of “La Emancipada,” Ecuador’s first novel, which was published in installments in the newspaper La Unión in 1863. Many experts however argue that because the book is usually less than 100 pages long in print, it is really a novella rather than a novel, and that Ecuador’s first novel is in fact “Cumanda” (1879) by Juan León Mera. Nonetheless, Miguel Riofro’s “La Emancipada” has been accepted as Ecuador’s first novel, thanks to the arguments of the well-known and respected Ecuadorian writer Alejandro Carrión (1915-1992).

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Manuel Gallegos Naranjo

Manuel Gallegos Naranjo (Guayaquil, March 26, 1845 – Ibídem , 1917) was a prominent Ecuadorian chronicler, novelist, and poet during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1871, he founded the magazine Espejo, which provoked the ire of President Gabriel García Moreno, leading to Gallegos Naranjo’s exile to Chile. Upon his return to Ecuador, he supported General Ignacio de Veintimilla and established the newspaper Ocho de Septiembre, receiving a government salary. He eventually relocated to Quito. In 1878, he began publishing his initial works as a writer. Subsequently, he released a critical loose leaf targeting Juan León Mera, a supporter of García Moreno. Gallegos Naranjo contributed to the newspaper La Nación in his hometown and served as the editor of Diario Los Andes. In 1883, he published “El Almanaque Ecuatoriano” [The Ecuadorian Almanac] a comprehensive reference containing valuable information across its extensive 300-page content. In 1895, he suffered from thrombosis, leaving him wheelchair-bound. Gallegos Naranjo’s work “Celebridades Malditas” is a historical novel that delves into the lives of infamous characters from old Guayaquil who became entangled in criminal activities due to their ill-fated choices. This novel has been reprinted by the Editorial of the Municipal Library of Guayaquil. Additionally, six of his unpublished works are preserved in the Carlos Alberto Rolando National Authors Library in Guayaquil.

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Belisario Peña 

Belisario Peña Gómez (Zipaquirá, Colombia, August 5, 1834 – September 7, 1906) was a Colombian poet and educator in Ecuador. At the request of Miguel Riofrio, Ecuador’s Charge d’Affaires, he moved to Ecuador to help found a school with Riofro, Benjamn Pereira Gamba and Francisco Ortiz Barrera. The school, “Colegio de la Unión,” opened on July 20, 1857 at the Santo Domingo de Loja temple. At the beginning of 1860, the Provisional Government of Quito called on Peña and Barrera to found the Colegio de la Unión in Ecuador’s capital. The new Colegio de la Unión opened its doors in Quito on March 2, 1861. Then President García Moreno ordered the merger of the Colegio de la Unión of Quito with the “Nacional” recently created for the Jesuits, who renamed the combined school “San Gabriel.” In 1875 he was a founding member of the Ecuadorian Academy of Language. In 1889 he and Carlos Casares resigned from the Ecuadorian Academy of Language due to the political dispute between the conservatives led by José Modesto Espinosa, against the progressives. In 1912 his friend the Archbishop of Quito, Federico González Suárez, compiled his poems and published them in a volume entitled “Composiciones poéticas del Sr. Don Belisario Peña” [Poetic compositions of Mr. Don Belisario Peña] in 334 pages. preceded by a prologue by González in 62 pages. In 1932 Manuel María Pólit published 11 more poems, minor but not unworthy; among them a translation of Manzoni entitled “El día de la Primera Comunión.” An additional 16 poems are compiled in the Library of the Jesuits of Cotocollao, one of them of great interest, in honor of General Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera. Belisario Peña’s biography was written and published in Colombia by scholar Roberto M. Tisnés J. CMF.

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