Andrade, Roberto (1850–1938)

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Andrade, Roberto (1850–1938)

Roberto Andrade (October 26, 1850–October 31, 1938), intellectual and political activist, is most famous for committing an act of murder. Along with fellow conspirators Manuel Cornejo Astorga, Abelardo Moncayo, Manuel Polanco, Gregorio Campuzano, and Faustino Rayo, Andrade participated in the assassination of Ecuadorian leader Gabriel García Moreno, on August 6, 1875, in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito. After Rayo struck García Moreno across the head with a machete, Moncayo, Cornejo, and Andrade shot the fallen president at close range.

The assassination grew out of broader liberal disaffection with the conservative García Moreno dictatorship (1860–1875). Particularly influential was author and liberal critic Juan Montalvo, who actively encouraged violent opposition to García Moreno. The youthful Andrade was profoundly affected by Montalvo's writings, especially his La dictadura perpetua (The perpetual dictatorship). After the assassination Montalvo reportedly proclaimed, "my pen killed him."

Fleeing prosecution, Andrade spent more than two decades in self imposed exile. When he returned in 1894 he was arrested, tried, and convicted, but was released after the successful 1895 liberal revolt. He devoted much of his subsequent career to writing, serving as a deeply partisan advocate for liberal causes. Andrade produced a multi-volume Historia del Ecuador, which was published in Guayaquil in the 1930s in sixty-two pamphlets, or entregas. The more than two thousand pages of prose consisted exclusively of vituperative attacks on García Moreno and paeans to all things liberal. The work has no value as a study of history. As one reviewer, Richard Pattee, writing in the Hispanic American Historical Review in 1938 put it, Andrade's Historia del Ecuador was "a distorted history, marred by unbelievable reliance on flimsy evidence; gross manipulation of the facts, and often the most unreasonable conclusions…. The cause of historical scholarship," Pattee said, "[was] injured" by its publication (pp. 90-91).

See alsoGarcía Moreno, Gabriel; Montalvo, Juan.


Pattee, Richard. Review of Roberto Andrade, Historia del Ecuador, in Hispanic American Historical Review 18:1 (February 1938): 90-91.

Spindler, Frank MacDonald. Nineteenth Century Ecuador: An Historical Introduction. Fairfax, VA: George Mason University Press, 1987.

                                          Ronn Pineo

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Andrade, Roberto (1850–1938)

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