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The Americas

South American States

 

Modern Ecuador
AD 1830 - Present Day
Incorporating Heads of State (1830-2022)

Located in the north-western corner of South America, the modern republic of Ecuador borders Colombia to the north, and Peru to the east and south. Its territory includes the distant Galapagos Islands. The country straddles the equator and its name reflects this location. The capital is at Quito.

The first Europeans arrived in the region in the early sixteenth century, through Spanish expeditions towards the western coast of South America from Hispaniola and the newly-conquered Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. The 'New Kingdom of Granada' (as opposed to the old kingdom of Granada in Spain) was created to encompass those Spanish Colonial territories which cover modern northern and central Colombia, almost all of Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Panama, northern Venezuela, and north-western Guyana.

Ecuador was initially part of New Granada, which was administered from colonial Peru until 1717. Then it became part of the newly created viceroyalty of New Granada, and then its successor, Gran Colombia. Internal dissention led to several civil wars between the various rivals for the leadership of Gran Colombia's territories, and the state broke up in 1830.

Ecuador and Venezuela both left, and the dissolution of Gran Colombia was made official on 21 November 1831 when Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela all formed new republican governments (Ecuador was officially formed as an independent state on 13 May 1830,and was officially the republic of Ecuador from 1835). The general, Juan Jose Flores, became Ecuador's first president.

It was natives from either Columbia or Ecuador around AD 1200 who came into contact with Polynesian islanders (of later French Polynesia). The location of the interaction is uncertain - whether it was on the South American coast or on the islands is impossible to tell without some archaeology to provide those clues - but DNA evidence (and the presence of the humble potato at both ends of the linking route) which was published in 2020 shows that the interaction took place around the given date.

Torres del Paine, Chile

(Information by Peter Kessler and the John De Cleene Archive, with additional information from Historia de la República del Perú, Jorge Basadre Grohmann (Ediciones Historia, Fifth Edition, Volume VIII, 1963, in Spanish), from Historical Atlas of the World, R R Palmer (Ed, Chicago, 1963), from Times Atlas of World History (Maplewood, 1979), from ABC TV News (broadcast 22 January 2000), from Washington Post (7 July 1996, 6 February 1997, 22 January 2000, 23 January 2000, Ecuadoran Congress Ousts President, 21 April 2005, & Ousted Ecuadoran Flown to Asylum in Brazil, 24 April 2005), and from External Links: BBC Country Profiles, and Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), and Contact with Polynesians (The Guardian), and Ecuador (Flags of the World), and Ecuador (Rulers.org), and Ecuador (Zárate's Political Collections (ZPC)), and Cartel violence escalates in Ecuador (The Guardian).)

1830 - 1834

General Juan José Flores

First president of an independent Ecuador.

1833 - 1834

Juan José Flores may be president of much of Ecuador during this period, but the department of the Guayas exists in a state of rebellion against that control. Vicente Rocafuerte leads its opposition in this short period, but it continues to oppose the capital at Quito until 1835.

1834 - 1839

Vicente Rocafuerte

President of Ecuador.

1839 - 1845

General Juan José Flores

Second term. Interim president between Jan-Apr 1843.

1845

José Joaquín de Olmedo

Chairman of the provisional government (Jun-Dec).

1845 - 1849

Vicente Ramón Roca

President of Ecuador.

1859 - 1860

Manuel de Ascásubi

President (and acting president in 1859-Jun 1860).

1850 - 1851

Diego Noboa y Arteta

President (Dec-17 Jul). Interim (Dec-Feb 1851).

1851

Having assumed the position of supreme chief between 13-17 July 1851, in opposition to the country's legitimate government, José María Urbina becomes Ecuador's virtual dictator.

Plaza de San Francisco in Quito
Ecuador's cobblestoned Plaza de San Francisco in Quito was laid down in front of the striking white towers of the Monastery of San Francisco, built between 1536 and 1580

1851 - 1856

José María Urbina

Dictator in all but name.

1856 - 1859

Francisco Robles

Military general (in office until Sep 1859).

1859 - 1860

Arguing that treaties which have been signed with Gran Colombia have been rendered void upon the dissolution of that federation, Peru fights another war over disputed territory bordering the Amazon, this time with Ecuador. Civil war erupts within the country, greatly hindering peace negotiations.

1859 - 1865

Dr Gabriel García Moreno

Military general. Supreme chief (Sep 1859-Jan 1861).

1860

Together with the Roman Catholic Church in a soon-to-be united Italy, Gabriel Garcia Moreno is slowly able to reunify the country. His opposite number, Guillermo Franco, supreme chief of Guayas and Azuay is no longer a threat. However, Garcia remains a dictator rather than an elected president.

1871 Plenipotentiary Conference in Rome
The delegates of the 1871 Plenipotentiary Conference in Rome pose for a group photo, shortly after Italy achieved full unification under the House of Savoy

1865

Rafael Carvajal

Acting president (Aug-Sep).

1865 - 1867

Jerónimo Carrión

President (from Sep 1865). Resigned.

1867 - 1868

Pedro José de Arteta

Acting president.

1868 - 1869

14. Francisco Xavier Espinosa

President (to Jan 1869). Deposed.

1869

Dr Gabriel García Moreno

Former dictator. Interim president (Jan-May 1869).

1869

Manuel de Ascásubi

Acting president (May-Aug 1869).

1869 - 1875

Dr Gabriel García Moreno

Now elected president. Assassinated (Aug 1875).

1875

Francisco Xavier León

Acting president (Aug-Oct).

1875

José Xavier Eguiguren

Acting president (Oct).

1875

Rafael Pólit

Acting president (Oct-Dec).

1875 - 1876

Dr Antonio Borrero y Cortázar

President. Opposed from Sep 1876. Deposed.

1876 - 1883

Ignacio de Veintemilla

Radical opposition. Seized office. Dictator. Overthrown.

1883

The country's dictator and nominal president, Ignacio de Veintemilla, is overthrown by a popular revolution. The fate of the old administration is sealed when the exiled José María Plácido Caamaño organises a revolutionary expedition which lands on Ecuadorian territory on 17 April. Guayaquil is besieged and falls in mid-May, and Caamaño is elected president of the government of the restoration.

Guayaquil in Ecuador
The Pacific coastal department of the Guayas was troublesome to Ecuador at the very beginning of its independent history, and it remains a source of severe trouble even in 2022

1883

Rafael Pérez Pareja

Acting president (15 Oct-Nov 1883).

1883 - 1888

Dr José María Plácido Caamaño

Interim president (to 1884), then president.

1887

The Herrera-Garcia Treaty is negotiated by the king of Spain between Peru and Ecuador over their ongoing border dispute. However, the terms are not considered favourable to Peru so its parliament attempts to introduce amendments, which Ecuador refuses, pulling out of negotiations.

1888

Pedro José Cevallos

President.

1888 - 1892

Dr Antonio Flores

President.

1892 - 1895

Dr Luis Cordero Crespo

President. Deposed.

1895

Vicente Lucio Salazar

Acting president (Apr-Aug). Opposed and replaced.

1895 - 1901

Eloy Alfaro

Supreme chief in opposition (Jun-Aug). Dictator & president.

1901 - 1905

Leonidas Plaza Gutiérrez

Military general and president.

1905 - 1906

Lizardo García

President. Deposed (Jan 1906).

1906 - 1911

Eloy Alfaro

Opposition supreme chief to Oct 1906. President. Resigned.

1911

Dr Carlos Freile Zaldumbide

Acting president (Aug-Sep).

1911

Emilio Estrada

President. Died in office (Dec 1911).

1911 - 1912

Dr Carlos Freile Zaldumbide

Acting president again (Dec-Mar), but opposed.

1912

Dr Francisco Andrade Marín

Acting president (Mar-Aug).

1912

Dr Alfred Baquerizo Moreno

Acting president (Aug-Sep). Liberal.

1912 - 1916

Leonidas Plaza Gutiérrez

President again (from Sep 1912). Completed a full term.

1916 - 1920

Dr Alfred Baquerizo Moreno

Former acting president, now president. Liberal.

1917 - 1918

In December 1917, Ecuador declares for the allies in the First World War against Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire, but takes no active role in the conflict.

Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1914
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Prussia and the German empire inspects his troops on the eve of war in 1914, a war which none of the tributary German principalities had any chance of escaping

1920 - 1924

Dr José Luis Tamayo

President.

1922

With the signing of the Treaty of Salomon-Lozano, Peru agrees its borders with Colombia by seceding all territory between the Putumayo and Caqueta rivers, to the detriment both of itself and Ecuador.

1924 - 1925

Gonzalo S Córdova

President (until 9 Jul). Overthrown in coup.

1925 - 1926

The poor state of the economy combined with popular unrest sees President Gonzalo Córdova overthrown in a bloodless coup in July 1925. The 'First Provisional Government' manages the country between 10 July 1925 and 6 January 1926. The 'Second Provisional Government' is in charge between 10 January and 31 March 1926, after which elections are held and a new president is appointed in the form of Isidro Ayora.

1926 - 1931

Isidro Ayora

Provisional president (Apr-Aug), then president.

1931

Luis A Larrea Alba

Acting president (Aug-Oct).

1931 - 1932

Dr Alfred Baquerizo Moreno

Acting president (Oct-Aug).

1932

Carlos Freile Larrea

Acting president (Aug-Sep).

1932

Alberto Guerrero Martínez

Acting president (Sep-Dec).

1932 - 1933

Juan de Dios Martínez Mera

President (from Dec 1932).

1933 - 1934

Abelardo Montalvo

Acting president.

1934 - 1935

José María Velasco Ibarra

President (to Aug 1935). Deposed?

1935

Antonio Pons Campuzano

Acting president (Aug-26 Sep).

1935

Benigno Andrade Flores

Chairman of the military junta (26 Sep).

1935 - 1937

Federico Páez Chiriboga

Acting head of state (Sep-Aug). Interim president (Aug-Oct).

1936

Peru signs an agreement with Ecuador which agrees that the territories they each control along the disputed border are recognised as de facto possessions, and the '1936 status quo border line' is confirmed.

Luis Sánchez Cerro
The 1936 agreement came hot on the heels of Peru's President Luis Sánchez Cerro having been assassinated at the second attempt in 1933, removing a key 'obstacle' to a peace agreement

1937 - 1938

Gil Alberto Enríquez Gallo

Supreme head of state (Oct-Aug)

1938

Manuel María Borrero González

Interim president (Aug-Dec).

1938 - 1939

Aurelio Mosquera Narváez

President (Dec-Nov).

1939

Carlos Alberto Arroyo del Río

Acting president (Nov-Dec).

1939 - 1940

Andrés Fernández de Córdova Nieto

Acting president (Dec-Aug).

1940

Julio Enrique Moreno

Acting president (Aug-Sep).

1940 - 1944

Carlos Alberto Arroyo del Río

Former acting president, now president (Sep-29 May).

1941 - 1942

The Ecuadorian-Peruvian War is fought between 5 July 1941 and 31 July 1942 as a continuation of the 1859 war. With an unusually stable presidency in place behind him, Carlos Alberto Arroyo del Río is part of the signing of the Rio Protocol which brings peace until 1960.

1944

Julio Teodoro Salem Gallegos

Chairman, democratic political alliance's political bureau.

1944 - 1947

José María Velasco Ibarra

President again (31 May-Aug). Democratic Alliance (AD).

1945

Ecuador officially joins the Second World War as an ally of the USA and Great Britain on 2 February 1945 against Japan and Germany, although it has defended the Galapagos Islands from the allies since 1943.

Founding of the United Nations
In San Francisco, USA, in summer 1945, representatives of fifty countries signed the United Nations charter to establish a new, international body which was tasked with upholding the human rights of citizens the world over

1947

Carlos Mancheno Cajas

Military 'president' (Aug-1 Sep).

1947

Mariano Suárez Veintimilla

President (2-15 Sep). Ecuadorian Conservative Party. (PCE).

1947 - 1948

Carlos Julio Arosemena Tola

President (from 15 Sep).

1948 - 1952

Galo Plaza Lasso

President. National Democratic Civic Movement (MCDN).

1952 - 1956

José María Velasco Ibarra

President again. National Velasquista Federation (FNV).

1956 - 1960

Camilo Ponce Enríquez

President. Social Christian Movement (MSC).

1960 - 1961

José María Velasco Ibarra

President for a fourth time. Removed.

1960 - 1961

President Velasco declares the 1942 Rio Protocol with Peru to be null and void, although little immediate impact is caused by the decision. In the following year, 1961, the president finds himself being deposed by the country's congress. The Washington Post records that he is succeeded by Carlos J Arosemena Monroy, although he is opposed on 8 November 1961 by the 'constitutional president', Camilo Gallegos Toledo.

President José María Velasco Ibarra of Ecuador
President José María Velasco Ibarra of Ecuador held office no less than five times, only once completing a term of office, with military coups interrupting all of the others

1961 - 1963

Carlos J Arosemena Monroy

President. Opposed. Overthrown.

1963

A military junta overthrows President Carlos Julio Arosemena Monroy and itself governs Ecuador between 11 July 1963 and 29 March 1966. It is headed by Admiral Ramón Castro Jijón.

1963 - 1966

Ramón Castro Jijón

Admiral and leader of the military junta. Overthrown.

1966

The military junta is overthrown by General Telmo Vargas, chief of staff of the armed forces, who is subsequently elected president. His term lasts an entire eight months before he is removed from office and fresh elections are held.

1966

Telmo O Vargas B

Armed forces chief of staff (29 Mar).

1966

Clemente Yerovi Indaburu

Interim president (29 Mar-Nov).

1966 - 1968

Dr Otto Arosemena Gómez

Interim president. Democratic Institutional Coalition (CID).

1968 - 1972

José María Velasco Ibarra

President for the fifth time. FNV. Deposed and exiled.

1972

A military junta which is led by General Guillermo Rodriguez overthrows the government of President Velasco Ibarra. The president is exiled to Argentina and the general assumes command of the country.

Isabel Peron, Argentina's first vice-president, and first female president
The Argentina which accepted Ibarra was just two years away from accepting its first female vice-president in the form of María Estela Martínez de Perón, or 'Isabelita', as she was usually known

1972 - 1976

Guillermo A Rodríguez Lara

Military leader. Overthrown by a fresh military coup.

1976 - 1979

Alfredo Poveda

Admiral and military chairman of the supreme council.

1979

The military junta paves the way for fresh elections, following which Admiral Alfredo Poveda stands down as chairman of the supreme council on 10 August, returning Ecuador to its full status as a democratic republic.

1979 - 1981

Jaime Roldós Aguilera

President. Concentration of Popular Forces (CFP). Killed.

1981

Peru and Ecuador clash briefly in the Paquisha War or False War, little more than a border skirmish over three watchposts. Even so, both sides increase their military presence along the shared border as a result (conflict in 1995 is the eventual result of this). On 24 May 1981 the president is killed.

1981 - 1984

Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea

President. Popular Democracy & Christian Dem Union.

1984 - 1988

León E Febres Cordero Rivadeneira

President. Social Christian Party (PSC).

1988 - 1992

Rodrigo Borja Cevallos

President. Democratic Left (ID).

1992 - 1996

Sixto A Durán Ballén Córdovez

President. Republican Union Party (PUR).

1995 - 1998

The aftermath of the 1995 Cenepa War between Peru and Ecuador sees one of the western hemisphere's longest territorial disputes reach a final conclusion. On 26 October 1998 both countries sign a definitive peace agreement.

San Francisco Convent, Lima
The Spanish neo-Classical San Francisco Convent in Lima, the capital of Peru, was completed in 1774 during the long Spanish colonial period between initial European arrival in South America and regional independence

1996 - 1997

Abdalá Jaime Bucaram Ortiz

President. Ecuadorian Roldosista Party (PRE).

1997

Congress removes from office President Abdalá Bucaram for mental incapacity, on 6 February 1997. Fabián Alarcón, president of the chamber of deputies, is named interim president, but Vice-President Rosalía Arteaga also claims the presidency.

The deposed Bucaram barricades himself in the presidential palace while the eastern provinces of Oro and Esmeraldo declare independence. Eventually Bacaram flees to Quito when it becomes clear that the military will not support him.

To resolve the crisis, on 9 February 1997 Rosalía Arteaga becomes interim president under a military arrangement which is approved by congress, which schedules elections for 1998. Arteaga retains office until congress elects Fabián Alarcón as interim president.

1997

Fabián Ernesto Alarcón Rivera

Interim president (6-9 Feb). Alfarista Radical Front (FRA).

1997

Rosalía Arteaga Serrano

Acting president (9-11 Feb). MIRA.

1997 - 1998

Fabián Ernesto Alarcón Rivera

Interim president (11 Feb onwards). FRA.

1998 - 2000

Jamil Mahuad Witt

President. DP. Forced to resign.

2000

On 21 January 2000, native Indian protestors occupy the congress building, demanding the resignations of the president, congress, and the supreme court. President Jamil Mahuad flees to an air force base. The army, including armed forces chief-of-staff, General Carlos Mendoza, demands Mahuad's resignation.

Ecuador's President Jamil Mahuad Witt
Former Ecuadorian president, Jamil Mahuad was subsequently sentenced to twelve years in prison, having been accused of embezzling public funds

The Indians and their army allies appoint a three-man governing council which is known - according to ZPC - as the 'Government Junta of National Salvation', which is chaired by Colonel Lucio Gutiérrez Borbúa.

2000

Lucio Gutiérrez Borbúa

Military junta chairman (21 Jan). Removed. Protested.

2000

Other members of the junta include Antonio Vargas Huatatoca (president of the 'National Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador'), and Carlos Solórzano Constantine (former supreme court president).

Following less than a full day of chairing the junta, General Carlos Mendoza replaces Colonel Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez proclaims himself president of the republic for some hours afterwards, to no effect. The reconstituted junta is renamed the 'Council of State', and this survives until the following day, 22 January 2000.

General Mendoza dissolves the junta and, under foreign pressure (which includes the USA), he appoints Vice-President Gustavo Noboa as Ecuador's latest unelected president.

Carlos Solórzano, Colonel Lucio Gutiérrez, and Antonio Vargas
Carlos Solórzano, Colonel Lucio Gutiérrez, and Antonio Vargas formed a provisional triumvirate on 21 January 2000, but Gutiérrez was later replaced by General Carlos Mendoza

2000 - 2003

Gustavo Noboa Bejarano

Former vice-president. Installed by the junta. DP.

2003 - 2005

Lucio Gutíerrez Borbúa

President. Patriotic Society (PSP).

2005

Gutíerrez has generated widespread opposition and large demonstrations, especially after he has twice dismantled the supreme court, even removing his own appointees in the second attempt. After he has adopted austere economic measures which are consistent with international expectations, congress deposes him, on 20 April 2005, and appoints Vice-President Alfredo Palacio in his place.

Demonstrations continue, but the country's military commanders recognise Palacio's appointment. On 24 April 2005 Gutíerrez flees to Brazil where he seeks asylum.

2005 - 2007

Alfredo Palacio González

Armed forces-imposed 'president'. No party.

2007 - 2017

Rafael Correa Delgado

President. Alliance Proud & Sovrgn Fatherld (Alianza PAIS).

2017 - 2021

Lenín Moreno Garcés

President. Alianza PAIS.

2021 - On

Guillermo Lasso Mendoza

President. Creating Opportunities (CREO).

2022

On Tuesday 21 November 2022, President Guillermo Lasso announces a curfew as part of a new state of emergency in the Guayas and Esmeraldas regions. The week has already seen several actions, including murders, kidnappings, and bombings, all at the hands of gangs which have recently become excessively horrifying in their levels of violence. In some places the gangs rule entirely, funded by Mexican drug money.

Ecuador struck by riots and violence in 2022
Police in Quito found themselves under siege following the murder of María Belén Bernal, allegedly by her husband, police lieutenant German Caceres

 
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