Santa Cruz y Espejo, Francisco Javier Eugenio de (1747–1795)

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Santa Cruz y Espejo, Francisco Javier Eugenio de (1747–1795)

Francisco Javier Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo (b. 21 February 1747; d. 27 December 1795), Ecuadorian writer. Born in Quito to a Quechua father and a mulatto mother, Espejo rose from humble origins to become one of Ecuador's leading intellects. Although mostly self-taught through firsthand observation at a women's hospital, he received the degree of doctor of medicine in July 1767 from the Colegio de San Fernando, and later obtained degrees in civil and canon law.

Espejo became most widely known for his diverse writings on economics, medicine, pedagogy, politics, sociology, and theology. In a frequently satirical tone he criticized the clergy and Ecuador's backwardness. His most famous works are El nuevo Luciano o despertador de ingenios (1779), which aimed at educational reform, and Reflexiones … acerca de un método seguro para preservar a los pueblos de las viruelas (1785), which proposed ways to prevent smallpox and received international recognition.

In 1788 Espejo successfully defended himself in Bogotá against charges of having written and circulated El retrato de Golilla, which ridiculed both Charles III and José de Gálvez, minister of the Indies. While in Bogotá, Espejo met such New Granadan firebrands as Antonio Nariño and Francisco Antonio Zea, who radicalized his thought. Upon returning to Quito, he helped establish the Sociedad Patriótica de Amigos del País de Quito on 30 November 1791. He also edited the society's newspaper, Ecuador's first, the short-lived Primicias de la Cultura de Quito in 1792. At the same time he became director of Ecuador's first public library and was founder of the National Library.

Espejo was tried and imprisoned on charges of sedition in January 1795. He became ill while in jail and died shortly after being released.

See alsoLibraries in Latin America; Nariño, Antonio.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Francisco Javier Eugenio Santa Cruz y Espejo, Escritos del doctor Francisco Javier Eugenio Santa Cruz y Espejo, edited by Federico González Suárez (1912).

Philip L. Astuto, "Eugenio Espejo: A Man of the Enlightenment in Ecuador," in Revista de historia de América (1957): 369-391.

Additional Bibliography

Albornoz Peralta, Osvaldo. Eugenio Espejo: El espírtu más progresista del siglo XVIII. Quito: 1997.

Breilh, Jaime. Eugenio Espejo: La otra memoria: Nueva lectura de la historia de las ideas científicas. Cuenca: Universidad de Cuenca, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas; Centro de Estudios y Asesoría en Salud; Consejo Internacional de Salud de los Pueblos, 2001.

Cacua Prada, Antonio. Antonio Nariño y Eugenio Espejo: Dos adelantados de la libertad. Guayaquil: Archivo Histórico del Guayas, 2000.

Freile Granizo, Carlos. Eugenio Espejo, precursor de la independencia: (Documentos 1794–1797). Quito: ABYA-YALA, 2001.

                                          Philippe L. Seiler

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Santa Cruz y Espejo, Francisco Javier Eugenio de (1747–1795)

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