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Olmedo, José Joaquín de (1780–1847)

Olmedo, José Joaquín de (1780–1847)

An Ecuadorian statesman, neoclassical poet, and lawyer, Olmedo was born on March 20, 1780, in Guayaquil and completed a law degree at the University of San Marcos in Lima in 1805. One of the American deputies elected to the first Spanish Cortes in 1810, he served as secretary the deputies' assembly and participated in the writing of the Liberal Constitution of 1812. He returned to Ecuador in 1816 and was a deputy of the Peruvian Congress. Simon Bolívar appointed him diplomatic agent to the European courts (Great Britain and France), and Olmedo stayed in London until 1828.

He returned to Ecuador and headed the provisional government formed at Guayaquil in October 1820 that liberated the Audiencia of Quito in 1822. When the Republic of Colombia was disbanded he was elected vice president of the Republic of Ecuador. But he resigned to become prefect of Guayas province in 1830, president of the 1835 Constituent Congress, and member of the triumvirate of Liberals that ousted Juan José Flores in March 1845.

Olmedo was one of the great lyric poets of the nineteenth century. From 1802 to 1847 he wrote close to one hundred poetic compositions, the most famous of which are "La victoria de Junín: Canto a Bolívar" (1825) and "Al General Flores, vencedor en Miñarica" (1835). His complete works were published in Valparaíso (1848), Paris (1853), and Mexico (1862). He is considered, along with Andrés Bello, an outstanding member of the Spanish American Enlightenment. He died on February 19, 1847.

See alsoEcuador: Conquest Through Independence; Ecuador, Constitutions; Literature: Spanish America.


Andrade Reimers, Luis. Olmedo el estadista. Quito: Editorial Ediguías, 1993.

Conway, Christopher. "Gender, Empire, and Revolution in 'La victoria de Junín.'" Hispanic Review 69, no. 3 (Summer 2001): 299-317.

Espinosa Pólit, Aurelio. Olmedo en la historia y en las letras. Quito: Editorial Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, 1980.

Rosero, Rocío. José Joaquín Olmedo: ¿Patriota, político o desertor? 1800–1847. Quito: Eskeletra, 1994.

Smith, Carolyn F. "The Sacred-Historical Role of the Inca in Olmedo's 'Canto a Bolívar.'" Hispania 56 (April 1973): 212-216.

                        Linda Alexander RodrÍguez

                                        Will H. Corral

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