Quito Revolt of 1809

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Quito Revolt of 1809

The collapse of the Spanish monarchy in 1808 and the revolt of the Spanish people on 2 May created a constitutional crisis in the Spanish Empire. In America, as in Spain, local leaders argued that in the absence of the king, sovereignty reverted to the people and therefore sought to form governing juntas.

In Quito, the elite established a Sovereign Junta on 9 August 1809 to govern in the name of the imprisoned king, with the Marqués de Selva Alegre as president and the bishop, José Cuero y Caicedo, as vice president. The movement found little support in other regions of the kingdom and considerable opposition from the viceroys of Peru and New Granada, eventually collapsing on 28 October 1809. Many participants were imprisoned by the authorities. A popular attempt to free them on 2 August 1810 failed when troops from Peru massacred more than seventy patriots in their cells.

The situation changed shortly thereafter when Carlos Montúfar, a Quiteño, arrived from Spain with instructions to resolve local issues. As a native, he sided with those who favored autonomy and reorganized the Quito junta in September 1810. The second junta established the "free" state of Quito, but, nonetheless, recognized the sovereignty of the king of Spain. The body drafted a constitution that was promulgated in February 1812. The new government still considered itself part of the Spanish commonwealth. But the forces of the viceroy of Peru eventually overwhelmed the second junta, restoring the area to "royal" authority in December 1812. Ecuadorians, however, consider the movement their first step toward independence.

See alsoWars of Independence, South America .


Torre Reyes, Carlos De La, La Revolución de Quito del 10 de agosto de 1809 (1961).

José Gabriel Navarro, La Revolución de Quito del 10 de agosto de 1809 (1962).

Michael T. Hamerly, "Selva Alegre, President of the Quiteña Junta of 1809: Traitor or Patriot?" in Hispanic American Historical Review 48 (November 1968): 642-653.

Additional Bibliography

Chacón Izurieta, Galo E. Las guerras de Quito, por su independencia: orígenes del estado ecuatoriano y su ejército. Quito: Centro de Estudios Históricos del Ejército, 2002.

Chiriboga, Angel I. El coronel Carlos Montúfar y Larrea: Prócer de la independencia ecuatoriana. Quito: Centro de Estudios Históricos del Ejército, 2003.

Garaicoa Ortiz, Xavier. Hacia la cumbre de la libertad: Abdón Calderón Garaicoa y la independencia quiteña. Guayaquil: Departamento de Publicaciones de la Facultad de Jurisprudencia y Ciencias Sociales y Políticas de la Universidad de Guayaquil, 2003.

Rodríguez O., Jaime E. La revolución política durante la época de la independencia: El reino de Quito, 1808–1822. Quito: Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar: Corporación Editora Nacional, 2006.

                                    Jaime E. RodrÍguez O.