Gendering Latin American Independence
List All Links | List Writing | List Archives | List References | List All People

Home » Database » Search » People

Francisco Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo (María Chiriboga)

Other names/titles:
Gender: M
Ethnic origin: Mestizo/a

Biographical details

Born in 1747, he founded Quito's first paper in 1791. He was a writer who had until then published his books clandestinely. The paper was authorised by the government, and did not attack the Spanish government. On 21 October 1794, red flags with white stripes were raised in Quito with Latin inscriptions "Liber esto felicitaten et gloriam consequto" and "Salve Cruce". He was accused of being behind the action and was imprisoned. He was released around 21 December 1795, seriously ill, and died a week later. He is considered to be the founder of the Ecuadorian press and the precursor of independence. (Romero Castillo, x-xii)

Clément says he was born in 1740. He was Secretary of the Sociedad Patriótica de Amigos del País de Quito in 1791-92. He supported independence and popular government. In 1781 he expressed enthusiasm for the Túpac Amaru rebellion. The Sociedad subscribed to El Mercurio Peruano. (Clément, 128)

In 1787 he wrote Las cartas Riobambenses, under the pseudonym María Chiriboga (the name of a Riobamba woman, who was married to a Spanish captain). She then accused him of libel through the courts. (Ochoa, 99-121)

Rodríguez describes him as an "Indian-mulato scholar" who formed the first public library Spanish America (Quito) from the former Jesuit collections. He edited Primicias de la Cultura de Quito to demonstrate the city's wealth and culture. (Rodríguez, 18)

In 1779 he published Nuevo Luciano o despertador de ingenios, a satire critical of Ecuador's education system. He wrote a satire against a Spanish minister, which resulted in a year in prison and exile to Bogotá. In Bogotá he wrote in favour of independence. (Coester, 35)

Franco gives his year of birth as 1747 and describes him as an Ecuadorian "thinker" who wrote the "early works of literary independence". (Franco, 25)

Life Events

Born 1740He is said to have been born in 1740 and 1747.
Other 1779He published Nuevo Luciano o despertador de ingenios.
Other 1787He wrote Las Cartas Riobambenses under the pseudonym María Chiriboga.
Other 1791He founded the first newspaper in Quito and was a member of the Sociedad Patriótica de Amigos del País. He subscribed to El Mercurio Peruano, 1791-1793.
Other 1794He was imprisoned in October 1794.
Died 1795He died on 28 December 1795.


Romero Castillo, Abel, (1981), El Patriota de Guayaquil y otros impresos, Volúmen I: 1821

Ochoa, Nancy A., (1987), La mujer en el pensamiento liberal

Rodríguez O., Jaime E., (1998), The Independence of Spanish America

Coester, Alfred, (1919), The Literary History of Spanish America

R.O. Jones, (1973), Spanish American Literature Since Independence

Clément, Jean-Pierre, (1979), Indices del Mercurio Peruano, 1790-1795


There is no writing by this subject in the database.


Resource id #41 (53)

Resource id #45 (52)

Resource id #49 (1)

Resource id #53 (23)

Resource id #57 (127)

Gendering Latin American Independence

School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Trent Building, University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 5655