Robles, Francisco (1811–1893)
Robles, Francisco (1811–1893)
Francisco Robles (b. 5 May 1811; d. 11 March 1893), president of Ecuador (1856–1859). Robles, born in Guayaquil, served as deputy from Manabí Province (1852) and as governor of Guayas Province (1854–1856) prior to assuming the presidency, the successor selected by departing president José María Urbina (1851–1856). In 1857 Robles moved to abolish Indian tribute but took no steps to make up for lost revenues. As a result, government revenues fell sharply. Not a strong leader, his presidency was further compromised by his serious illness in 1858. Later that year Peru threatened to invade Ecuador, and opponents in Congress, led by the Conservative Gabriel García Moreno and the Liberal Pedro Moncayo y Esparsa, refused to cooperate in establishing necessary defenses. Peru blockaded Guayaquil in 1858 and invaded in 1859, effectively cutting off Ecuador from its sole remaining source of revenue, the Guayaquil customs house. The nation quickly disintegrated into civil war: Loja and Cuenca declared their independence, Guayaquil annexed itself to Peru, and in Quito, Gabriel García Moreno selected former president Juan José Flores to battle Robles. Flores won, and Robles fled into exile in Peru. He died in Guayaquil.
On nineteenth-Century Ecuadorian politics, see Mark J. Van Aken's splendid study, King of the Night: Juan José Flores and Ecuador, 1824–1864 (1989); or consult Frank MacDonald Spindler's descriptive narrative, Nineteenth Century Ecuador: An Historical Introduction (1987).
Febres Cordero, Francisco. De Flores a flores y miel. Quito: Ojo de Pez, EDIMPRES, 1996.
Ronn F. Pineo
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