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ECUADOR UNDER GRAN COLOMBIA, 1820--1830: REGIONALISM, LOCALISM, AND LEGITIMACY IN THE EMERGENCE OF AN ANDEAN REPUBLIC (SIMON BOLIVAR, JUAN JOSE FLORES, JOSE JOAQUIN DE OLMEDO).
AuthorDAVIS, ROGER PAUL.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study of Ecuador under Gran Colombia comprises more than a catalogue of the obstacles underlying the failure of Simon Bolívar's experiment in statecraft. While the distinct nature of the regional and local problems of the southern departments add to that diagnosis, they also stand apart as factors in the formation of the Republic of Ecuador. The Liberator's determination to maintain the territorial integrity of the audiencia of Quito as a part of the viceroyalty of New Granada prevented the potential partitioning of that region between Peru and Colombia. Colombian military assistance enabled the fleeting Republic of Guayaquil to play a crucial role in the liberation of the audiencia. This ensured a patriotic legacy for Guayaquil compatible with that of Quito in the formation of Ecuadorian national identity. The special treatment accorded the Southern Departments by Bolívar's use of his extraordinary faculties and his later authority as dictator maintained the regional identity of Ecuador. The inability of the Colombian government to effectively respond to the local problems of the Southern Departments undermined the legitimacy of that regime. In contrast, the efficiency of the military administration imposed upon the departments by Bolívar enhanced his personal authority. Also, at the expense of Gran Colombia, the Liberator fostered an embryonic administrative centralism around the leadership of one of his most loyal officers, General Juan José Flores. The era of Ecuador under Gran Colombia witnessed the continuation of the colonial economic system beneath the superstructure of republican politics. In recognition of the distinct nature of southern society, Bolívar formally sanctioned that continuity, ultimately replacing the few liberal reforms attempted in the south with a return to colonial institutions. Within this framework the local elites of Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca remained secure in their society. Within the decade of its existence as part of Gran Columbia, Ecuador demonstrated its own dynamic elements, both local and regional in nature, that gradually coalesced to form an embryonic national identity. The emergence of the Republic of Ecuador in May 1830 was an affirmation of that historical development.