Monday, June 13, 2011

Monarchism in Ecuador

Gabriel Garcia Moreno
Based on my mail, some seem obsessed with having me say something nice, something positive, about republican leaders. I’m not entirely sure why. I don’t think I’ve been very ambiguous about the fact that I am a monarchist who thinks revolutionaries should be drug out into the street and shot, yet, tell some people you are a monarchist and they suddenly become determined to get you to say something nice about a president. Well, obviously, just because I don’t like politicians it does not mean I consider them all equally bad. For example, I believe we are all sinners but that doesn’t mean we are all mass murderers. I have also stated here before some republican leaders that I prefer over others. In my own country I think I have said that I prefer President Lamar to President Houston. I have also stated my respect for President Gabriel Garcia Moreno of Ecuador. Of course, Garcia Moreno was a monarchist and, believe it or not, he was not the first monarchist leader that the Republic of Ecuador ever had and, given that, I think the issue is one worth looking into.

Juan Jose Flores
I had been vaguely familiar with the monarchist history of Ecuador but was recently put on to some more information on the subject by one of my friends in low places. There were actually efforts early on to create a “Kingdom of Quito” which would be independent but in union with the Crown of Spain. Later, after independence, the idea rose again under the leadership of General Juan Jose Flores. This man, known in Ecuador as the “Father of the Republic” was actually a monarchist who came to the conclusion that Ecuador simply could not be governed as a republic and that a monarchy was the only form of government suited to them. Toward that end he actually began a correspondence with Queen Maria Cristina, regent of Spain for her daughter Queen Isabella II, discussing the restoration of the monarchy in Ecuador. Wanting to maintain the shared traditions of the Spanish monarchy without going so far as to return to rule from Spain, General Flores suggested that Don Agustin Muñoz y de Borbon, Duke of Tarancon, come to Quito to rule the Kingdom of Ecuador. The Duke was the son of Queen Maria Cristina and the Duke of Riansares whom she had married secretly after the death of King Ferdinand VII.

Arms used by Ecuadorian monarchists
However, if this was not ambitious enough, the General envisioned the Duke becoming, not King of Ecuador alone, but King of the “United Kingdom of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia” reigning from Quito. Ideas for a union of South American countries such as this was certainly not new (we all remember Gran Colombia) and such ideas would linger for a while. However, General Flores was also inspired by the monarchies which had made such multi-national unions successful, citing the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Dual Empire of Austria-Hungary. This proposed United Kingdom of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia was also to include the territory lost by Bolivia to Chile in the Pacific War. However, again, nothing came of this plan as both Spain and Ecuador were beset by a number of disasters. Leftist revolutionaries were a constant plague to Ecuador, as in most other Latin American countries, and the real influence of the Freemasons in this crisis cannot be ignored. It may be fashionable to shrug off the Mason element as a “conspiracy theory” but it was a real and immediate threat.

Napoleon III
That element would be the primary opponent of the aforementioned President Gabriel Garcia Moreno who made the last serious effort to discuss the establishment of a monarchy in Ecuador. In his time the idea revolved around making Ecuador a protectorate of the theretofore successful Emperor Napoleon III of the French. Garcia-Moreno wrote to the Emperor of the French proposing this idea and similar plans were entertained by Napoleon III, especially during the days of triumph at the height of the French intervention in Mexico. With the Mexican Empire created under the French-allied Emperor Maximilian, Napoleon III also envisioned an expansion southward. France already had interest in Central America and an idea for what became the Panama Canal and Napoleon III, encouraged by the sympathetic President Gabriel Garcia Moreno, sometimes envisioned moving into South America to create, based around Ecuador but expanding beyond, a “Kingdom of the Andes”. However, the French Senate opposed such an ambitious plan and in Ecuador support for the idea also dropped off after the inglorious French evacuation from Mexico and Napoleon III wavering in his support for Papal rule in Rome (the President of Ecuador being a staunch supporter of the temporal power of the Pope). So, the vision of Napoleon I of Ecuador and III of France, Emperor of the French and King of Ecuador faded away.

Unfortunately, with the ending of this plan and the eventual assassination of Gabriel Garcia Moreno the cause of monarchy in Ecuador as a serious political possibility effectively came to an end. The story is not widely known, certainly not in the English-speaking world and yet the monarchist efforts in Ecuador were far from unusual. During the era of independence, the idea of ‘liberal monarchy’ had quite a large following throughout the emerging nations of Latin America. Brazil had a monarchy transplanted from Portugal, Mexico had General Agustin de Iturbide as the first Emperor of Mexico, in Argentina the first president, Bernardino Rivadavia, supported Juan Bautista Alberdi in his argument that monarchy was the best government for South America, Jose de San Martin supported the idea of a monarchy for Argentina and Peru and there were those who wanted Simon Bolivar to become monarch over a vast Latin American empire. It was not unusual and yet you will find very little mention of any of this today. For instance (here you can put my words to the test) you can go to Wikipedia and look up some of these individuals mentioned here, Flores, Rivadavia, Garcia-Moreno or Alberdi and you will not find a single mention of their monarchist sympathies. However, if you switch over to the Spanish-language Wikipedia you can find it (at least in some cases). For the most part, however, this is an issue that all of the prevailing powers want to ignore and completely erase from history. That, my friends, we cannot allow!


  1. Gabriel Garcia Moreno had virtue and vision that was and is all to rare in Latin America. While longer-lived Conservative regimes existed in Nicaragua and Colombia, and the likes of Rafael Carrera of Guatemala shared similar values, few were as profound in their efforts.

    These regimes protected the position of the Church and sought to preserve a society along traditional lines, while also respecting indigenous land rights and customs, and protecting their economies from foreign exploitation. When Liberalism prevailed in the later 19th century, dispossession and economic exploitation began and that laid the foundations for problems to this present day.

  2. Speaking of presidents who were also monarchists, I recently read Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites, published by the American TFP, and was surprised to find Washington quoted as saying it would eventually be necessary for America to become a monarchy. Do you know anything about this?

  3. Rafael Carrera had good intentions and the right views but was simply ill-equipped to be the sort of national leaders others were. Still, I regard him as Guatemala's greatest post-independence ruler.

    I never heard that about Washington. All I ever heard about him in connection with monarchy was the clique of army officers who wanted to make him king and he declined, going so far as to point out in his first address that as he had no heirs he would be ill-equipped for the job.

  4. Washington's genealogy is interesting to research. I've seen genealogical tables stating that the (de) Washingtom family, along with the Neville and Dunbar families, were descended in the male line from a brother of the first Dunkeld king of Scotland. How reliable that is, I do not know.

  5. True, Belgrano, San Martin and almost all the Unitarios that fought agaisnt Rosas had their sympaties with the monarchy sadly the official history is defender of Rosas's dictarorship and strongly anty monarchist. The Argentinian constitution of 1819 was planned to transform Argentina in a monarchy but sadly any european prince wanted to be King\Emperor of Argentina. I didn't know that Alberdi(I am his descendant) sympatized with monarchy.

  6. I wouldn't doubt that about Washington, there have been quite a few American presidents with royal ancestry, mostly because if you go back far enough quite a few people in general have royal ancestry. I don't know about Obama but I know the two Bushes were descended from some English kings way back.

    I've seen nothing to indicate General Belgrano was a monarchist but I don't doubt it. As I said, many of the histories leave out the whole issue and most of what you read, whether about San Martin or Flores or Moreno will say nothing about them being in favor of a monarchy. The history is being purposely erased. In Mexico there are a great many people who never heard of Iturbide -the man who actually delivered independence. Everyone remembers Padre Hidalgo and even with him it is not certain that he was 100% republican but everyone just assumes that.

  7. General Belgrano was a monarchist he wanted to intall an member of the Inca Royality as monarch (iwould prefer an european royal or a creole)...

  8. Few cases of catholic or conservative republics can learn us that catholic and conservative republics are very rare and have usually a short life - catholic and conservative republic lasts until strong, influencial and catholic president is alive.
    Republic - bloody and unlegitimitate type of governemt it's always against catholic religion, against hierarchy and conservatism. Only great and strong persons can change this traits of republic bunt not for long.
    Oly monarchy can be truly cathlic and conservative.


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