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Reyes, Oscar Efrén (1894–1966)

Reyes, Oscar Efrén (1894–1966)

The Ecuadoran pedagogue, journalist, and historian Oscar Efrén Reyes was born June 13, 1894, in Baños, Tungurahua Province, one year before the Liberals came to power. He died in Quito several decades after the Liberal Radical Party had ceased to be a major force in national politics. Reyes, however, remained a Liberal all his life. An influential pedagogue—his disciples are legion—he began his teaching career in Ambato. Subsequently he also taught in Guayaquil before establishing permanent residency in Quito, where he taught at several of the capital's more prestigious high schools and normal schools and at the Universidad Central, where he was associate dean of the Facultad de Pedagogía y Letras. Reyes was also a newspaperman and a quasiprofessional, albeit self-taught, historian. As a journalist he contributed to the Quito dailies El Guante, El Universo, El Ecuatoriano, and La Nación. His first major book was Los últimos siete años (The Last Seven Years, 1933), a classic eyewitness account of the July Revolution of 1925 and the Isidro Ayora years (1926–1931). His most important books, however, are his Vida de Juan Montalvo (Life of Juan Montalvo, 1935) and his Breve historia general del Ecuador (Brief General History of Ecuador, originally published in 1938 and which has since appeared in multiple editions and printings).

Reyes's general history of Ecuador was the standard high school text in the country for many years. It was also used at the university level, for want of anything more appropriate at the time. And his life of Montalvo is one of the better biographies of the would-be assassin of Gabriel García Moreno. Reyes's other books include the posthumously published Baños del Tungurahua desde sus orígenes al cabildo (2001), and with Francisco Terán, Historia y geografía del Oriente ecuatoriano (1939). Reyes died December 1, 1966.

See alsoAyora Cueva, Isidro; Ecuador, Political Parties: Radical Liberal Party (PLR); Ecuador, Revolutions: Revolution of 1925; García Moreno, Gabriel.


Castillo Jácome, Julio. Oscar Efrén Reyes: Historiador y maestro. Ambato, Ecuador: Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, Núcleo de Tungurahua, 1995.

Pazos Barrera, Julio, ed. Acercamiento a la obra de Oscar Efrén Reyes, 1896–1996. Guayaquil, Ecuador: Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, Núcleo de Guayas, 1997.

Reyes, Oscar Efrén. Los últimos siete años. Quito: Talleres gráficos nacionales, 1933.

Reyes, Oscar Efrén. Vida de Juan Montalvo. Quito: Talleres gráficos nacionales, 1935.

Reyes, Oscar Efrén. Breve historia general del Ecuador, 12th edition. Quito: Maurilia Mendoza de Jiménez, 1982.

Reyes, Oscar Efrén. Baños del Tungurahua desde sus orígenes al cabildo. Ambato, Ecuador: Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, Núcleo de Tungurahua, 2001.

Reyes, Oscar Efrén, and Francisco Terán. Historia y geografía del Oriente ecuatoriano. Quito: Talleres gráficos de educación, 1939.

Reyes Torres, Marta. Oscar Efrén Reyes: Testigo de la historia: Biografía. Quito: Banco Central del Ecuador, 2004.

                                    Michael T. Hamerly

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