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Rocafuerte, Vicente (1783–1847)

Rocafuerte, Vicente (1783–1847)

Vicente Rocafuerte (b. 1 May 1783; d. 16 May 1847), Ecuadorian independence leader, diplomat, and statesman. Born in Guayaquil to one of the region's wealthiest families, Rocafuerte studied at the Colegio de Nobles Americanos in Granada, Spain, and at the Collège de Saint Germain-en-Laye in France. Returning to Guayaquil in 1807, he devoted himself to family affairs; three years later he was elected alcalde ordinario (city magistrate) of Guayaquil. In 1812 he traveled to England, then to the Continent as far as Russia. Elected to the Cortes, he arrived in Madrid in April 1814 in time to witness the abolition of that parliament. Thereafter, he devoted his efforts and his fortune to the interests of the new American nations, serving Colombia, Cuba, and Mexico during 1820–1824.

An advocate of republicanism, Rocafuerte wrote extensively on its behalf and opposed the Mexican empire of Iturbide. From 1824 to 1830, he served as Mexico's representative to England and continental Europe. Returning to Mexico in 1830, he advocated social reforms and religious freedom as well as opposition to the conservative regime of Anastasio Bustamante. Upon his return to Guayaquil in 1833, he joined the opposition to President Juan José Flores, was elected to Congress, and led a revolt against the president. After reaching an understanding with Flores, however, he later served as president (1835–1839) and then as governor of Guayas (1839–1843), while Flores served another term. But when the president sought to retain power, Rocafuerte opposed him. After Flores's ouster in 1845, Rocafuerte served as president of the Senate in 1846 and accepted a diplomatic mission to Lima, where he died.

In addition to his political and diplomatic activities, Rocafuerte's writings on political systems, social reform, religious toleration, and economic development had significant influence on liberals in several Spanish American nations.

See alsoBustamante, Anastasio; Flores, Juan José.


Jaime E. Rodríguez O., The Emergence of Spanish America: Vicente Rocafuerte and Spanish Americanism, 1808–1832 (1975) and Estudios sobre Vicente Rocafuerte (1975).

Kent B. Mecum, Vicente Rocafuerte: El prócer andante (1983).

Mark J. Van Aken, King of the Night: Juan José Flores and Ecuador, 1824–1864 (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Cordero Aroca, Alberto P. Transcendencia histórica de don Vicente Rocafuerte. Guayaquil, Ecuador: Archivo Histórico del Guayas, 1997–1998.

Febres Cordero, Francisco. De Flores a flores y miel. Quito: Ojo de Pez, EDIMPRES, 1996.

                                    Jaime E. RodrÍguez O.

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