Jaime E. Rodríguez O.

Early Life and Education

Jaime Edmundo Rodríguez Ordóñez was born on April 12, 1940, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. His early life was marked by the military service of his father, Colonel Luis Rodríguez Sandoval, a prominent figure in Ecuadorian military history. His mother, María Beatriz Ordóñez Córdova, came from Cuenca. At the age of eight, Rodríguez Ordóñez moved to the United States with his mother, where he would eventually settle permanently.

Rodríguez Ordóñez’s academic journey began at the University of Houston, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1965. He furthered his studies in History, earning a master’s degree from the same university. His master’s thesis focused on the Peru-Ecuador war. Rodríguez Ordóñez then completed his Ph.D. in History at the University of Texas, Austin, in 1970. His doctoral thesis, guided by Nettie Lee Benson, delved into Vicente Rocafuerte’s role in the development of Hispano-American identity.


Jaime Rodríguez Ordóñez embarked on his academic career at California State University, Long Beach, teaching there from 1969 to 1973. He then joined the University of California, Irvine, as a professor in the Department of History, a position he held until his retirement. From 1980 to 1986, he served as the Dean of Graduate Studies and Vice Chancellor for Research at the university. Rodríguez Ordóñez was also a founding editor of the journal ‘Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos’ and held visiting professorships at institutions such as the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar. His memberships included the National Academy of History of Ecuador and the Mexican Academy of History.


Rodríguez Ordóñez’s writing predominantly focused on the historiography of New Spain, Mexico, and the broader Hispanic American region during its transition from colonial rule to independence. His notable works, such as “Nosotros somos ahora los verdaderos españoles,” “The Forging of the Cosmic Race,” and numerous others, explore themes of sovereignty, revolution, and the emergence of national identities. His writing is characterized by a deep analysis of the political and social changes during the independence era, highlighting the influence of external events like the Atlantic Revolutions and internal dynamics within the Spanish colonies.

Personal Life

Rodríguez Ordóñez married Linda Alexander Rodríguez, a fellow historian. His personal life was marked by a deep commitment to his academic work and a profound connection to his dual Ecuadorean and American identities. His experiences in both Ecuador and the United States profoundly influenced his scholarly work and perspective on historical events.

Death and Legacy

Jaime Rodríguez Ordóñez passed away on June 27, 2022, in Los Angeles, United States. His death marked the loss of a significant figure in the field of Latin American historiography. Rodríguez Ordóñez’s legacy lies in his substantial contributions to the understanding of the historical processes that shaped modern Latin America. His reinterpretations of colonial and post-colonial history have left an indelible mark on the study of Hispanic American history. His works continue to inspire and inform students, historians, and scholars interested in the complexities of Latin American independence, national identity formation, and the region’s place in the broader context of world history.


  • The Emergence of Spanish America: Vicente Rocafuerte and Spanish Americanism, 1808-1832 (1975)
  • The Forging of the Cosmic Race: A Reinterpretation of Colonial Mexico (with Colin M. MacLachlan) (1980, 2nd ed. 1990)
  • Down with Colonialism. Mexico’s Nineteenth-Century Crisis (1983)
  • The Mexican and the Mexican American Experience in the Nineteenth Century (1989)
  • The Independence of Mexico and the Creation of the New Nation (1989)
  • The Revolutionary Process in Mexico: Essays in Political and Social Change, 1880-1940 (1990)
  • El proceso de la independencia de México (1992)
  • Patterns of Contention in Mexican History (Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources) (1992)
  • Five Centuries of Mexican History/Cinco siglos de historia de México (2 vols.) (with Virginia Guedea) (1992)
  • The Evolution of the Mexican Political System (1993)
  • Mexico in the Age of Democratic Revolutions, 1750-1850 (1994)
  • The Origins of Mexican National Politics, 1808-1847 (1997)
  • Myths, Misdeeds, and Misunderstandings: The Roots of Conflict in U.S.-Mexico Relations (with Kathryn Vincent) (1997)
  • Common Border, Uncommon Paths: Race, Culture, and National Identity in United States Mexico Relations (with Kathryn Vincent) (1997)
  • The Independence of Spanish America (1998)
  • “Rey, Religión, Yndependencia, y Unión”: la Independencia de Guadalajara (2003)
  • The Divine Charter: Constitutionalism and Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Mexico (2004)
  • Revolución, independencia y las nuevas naciones de América (Madrid: Fundación Mapfre-Tavera) (2005)
  • La revolución política en la época de la independencia: El Reino de Quito, 1808-1822 (Quito: Corporación Editora Nacional) (2006)
  • Las Nuevas Naciones: España y México (Madrid: Fundación MAPFRE—Instituto de Cultura) (2008)
  • Monarquía, constitución, independencia y república: La transición de Vicente Rocafuerte del viejo al nuevo régimen, 1783-1832 (Mexico & Zamora: Instituto de Investigaciones José María Luis Mora & El Colegio de Michoacán) (2008)
  • “Nosotros somos ahora los verdaderos españoles”: La transición de Nueva España de un reino de la Monarquía Española a la República Federal de México, 1808-1824 (2 vols.) (Zamora & Mexico El Colegio de Michoacán & Instituto Mora) (2009)
  • El pensamiento de Vicente Rocafuerte (2 vols.) (Quito: Banco Central del Ecuador & Corporación Editora Nacional) (2010)
  • “We are now the True Spaniards”: Sovereignty, Revolution, Independence and the Emergence of the Federal Republic of Mexico, 1808-1824 (Stanford: Stanford University Press) (2012)

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