Guayaquil, Republic of

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Guayaquil, Republic of

Republic of Guayaquil (1820–1822). The city of Guayaquil moved toward independence in 1820 as a result of growing local dismay over ever more burdensome imperial war taxes and the weakening of Spanish sea power on the Pacific coast. Guayaquil city leaders declared independence on 9 October, followed by a cabildo abierto to ratify the action. José Joaquín Olmedo, poet, lawyer, cabildo member, and delegate at the Spanish Cortes in Cadiz, was the first governor of the republic. For Guayaquil several options but no clear consensus emerged: independence; joining Peru or Gran Colombia; or rejoining Spain. Given the continuing royalist military presence in the sierra, Olmedo sought the help of both José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar, hoping to avoid surrendering Guayaquil's independence to either. San Martín promised Guayaquil self-determination; Bolívar, however, saw Guayaquil as already comprising part of Gran Colombia. In May 1822 rebel general Antonio José de Sucre defeated the last royalist resistance in the sierra, forcing a decision on the disposition of Guayaquil. Quito quickly joined Gran Colombia and pressured Guayaquil to do likewise, fearing that the latter might become independent or, worse, might join Peru. Bolívar flatly rejected Olmedo's repeated assertions of a Guayaquileño right to self-determination. His liberation army entered Guayaquil in July 1822, and he placed the city under his authority. Three thousand troops surrounded the city. Given the uncertain loyalties of the greatly outnumbered city militia, Olmedo saw no choice but capitulation. San Martín met with Bolívar at Guayaquil in July 1822 and accepted Bolívar's deeds as a fait accompli. To some Guayaquileños, Bolívar's coup brought "the last day of despotism and the first day of the same." Guayaquil's brief experience as an independent state reflected a long-coveted autonomy and continues to inform the region's sense of separateness.

See alsoFlores, Juan José .


Roger Davis's Ph.D. dissertation, "Ecuador Under Gran Colombia, 1820–1830: Regionalism, Localism, and Legitimacy in the Emergence of an Andean Republic" (University of Arizona, 1983), provides an excellent extended discussion. For an overview of the period, see Fredrick B. Pike, The United States and the Andean Republics (1977).

Additional Bibliography

Dobronski Ojeda, Fernando, ed. El Ecuador: Los hechos más importantes de su historia. Ecuador: s.n., 2003.

González Palacios, Tonny. Fragmentos de nuestra historia. Manta Manabi, Ecuador: Editorial Mar Abierto, 2004.

Núñez, Jorge. El Ecuador en el siglo XIX: Ensayos históricos. Quito: ADHILAC, 2002.

Sierra Castro, Enrique. Ecuador, su pueblo: Raíces, drama y lucha: Síntesis. Quito: EDARSI, 2001.

                                           Ronn F. Pineo