José Modesto Espinosa

José Modesto Espinosa y Espinosa de los Monteros  (Quito, December 2, 1833 – December 21, 1915) was an Ecuadorian writer, polemicist, poet, and politician. In 1875 he was a founding member of the Ecuadorian Academy of Language and its first secretary. He held important posts during the rule of General José María Urbina. He was also State Councilor and Senator for the Tungurahua province. Since 1878, he was persecuted for his articles criticizing the government of General Ignacio de Veintemilla. After the Veintemilla distatorship was overthrown in 1883, he spoke at the University of Quito’s formal reinstatement on February 18, 1883, in his role as the Minister of the Interior and Foreign Affairs of the Pentavirate Provisional Government. He served in this capacity until 1887, during the Progressive era in Ecuador’s history. In 1888 he held the position of Minister of Government once more and was appointed Member of the Academy of Fine Arts of Seville (Spain) and two years later, Member of the Quito Athenaeum and Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice. In 1894 he was elected President of the Supreme Court of Justice, a position he held until the Liberal Revolution of June 5, 1895. The next year, the Revolution’s Leader, General Eloy Alfaro, accused him of being a right-wing conspirator and gave him eight days to leave the country. He returned to Quito in 1901 and in 1902 he was elected Senator for the Pichincha province.

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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

Eugenio Espejo, born Francisco Javier Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo (Royal Audiencia of Quito, February 21, 1747 – December 28, 1795) is regarded as one of the most important figures in colonial Ecuador. He was Quito’s first journalist, librarian and hygienist. His polemic writings inspired the separatist movement in Quito. As a journalist he spread enlightened ideas in the Royal Audiencia, and as a hygienist he composed an important treatise about sanitary conditions in colonial Ecuador that included interesting remarks about microorganisms and the spreading of disease. Espejo was noted in his time for being a satirist. His satirical works, inspired by the philosophy of the Age of Enlightenment, were critical of the lack of education of the Audiencia of Quito, the way the economy was being handled in the Audiencia, the corruption of its authorities, and aspects of its culture in general. Because of these works he was persecuted and finally imprisoned shortly before his death.

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