José Modesto Espinosa

José Modesto Espinosa y Espinosa de los Monteros (Quito, December 2, 1833 – December 21, 1915) was an Ecuadorian writer, politician, and founding member of the Ecuadorian Academy of Language. He held several important posts during General José María Urbina’s rule, including State Councilor and Senator for Tungurahua province. He was persecuted for his critical articles against General Ignacio de Veintemilla and served as Minister of the Interior and Foreign Affairs during the Progressive era of Ecuador’s history. He held other ministerial positions and was elected President of the Supreme Court of Justice in 1894. However, after being accused of being a right-wing conspirator by General Eloy Alfaro in 1896, he was exiled from Ecuador. He returned to Quito in 1901 and was elected Senator for the Pichincha province in 1902.

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Roberto Andrade

Roberto Andrade Rodríguez (October 26, 1850 – October 27, 1938) was a politician, historian, author and polemicist. He was a participant in the assassination plot against President Gabriel Garcia Moreno. On August 6, 1875, Garcia Moreno was beaten with a machete while three or four others shot revolvers at him. Andrade landed a deadly shot to Moreno’s forehead. Throughout his life Andrade was persecuted for his polemicist essays and political ideology. “Pacho Villamar,” his semi-autobiographical work from 1910, is widely considered Ecuador’s first political novel.

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Eugenio Espejo

Francisco Javier Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo (Royal Audiencia of Quito, February 21, 1747 – December 28, 1795) better known as Eugenio Espejo, was a prominent figure in colonial Ecuador, who made significant contributions to journalism, library science, and hygiene. He was a fearless journalist who advocated for enlightened ideas, and was an influential leader in the Quito separatist movement. As a hygienist, he authored a groundbreaking treatise on the health conditions in colonial Ecuador, with prescient observations on the role of microorganisms in the spread of diseases. Espejo was also a satirist who fearlessly exposed the corruption and lack of education in the Royal Audiencia, and the shortcomings of its culture, through his critical and witty literary works. Despite facing persecution and imprisonment during his lifetime, Espejo’s unwavering commitment to truth-telling has left an enduring legacy in Ecuadorian history.

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