King of the Night: Juan José Flores and Ecuador, 1824-1864

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University of California Press, 1989 - 382 pages
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General Juan Jos Flores rose from humble social origins in Venezuela to attain eminence in the wars of independence and the first presidency of Ecuador. His conviction that Ecuador was ungovernable under republican forms led to a secret attempt to establish monarchy, not only in Ecuador but also in Peru and Bolivia. Failure and exile followed, but he returned to participate in the dictatorship of Gabriel Garca Moreno. In this finely researched political biography of Flores, Mark Van Aken shows that monarchism was a much more important force in early Ecuador than is commonly thought. This important study of Flores's political career contains much hitherto unknown information about Ecuador's early independent history and the leading individuals involved in its politics. It will be of great interest to Latin Americanists, not only because it is a major new interpretation of that period of Ecuadorian history but also because of its relevance to other Latin American monarchist efforts. General Juan Jos Flores rose from humble social origins in Venezuela to attain eminence in the wars of independence and the first presidency of Ecuador. His conviction that Ecuador was ungovernable under republican forms led to a secret attempt to establish monarchy, not only in Ecuador but also in Peru and Bolivia. Failure and exile followed, but he returned to participate in the dictatorship of Gabriel Garca Moreno. In this finely researched political biography of Flores, Mark Van Aken shows that monarchism was a much more important force in early Ecuador than is commonly thought. This important study of Flores's political career contains much hitherto unknown information about Ecuador's early independent history and the leading individuals involved in its politics. It will be of great interest to Latin Americanists, not only because it is a major new interpretation of that period of Ecuadorian history but also because of its relevance to other Latin American monarchist efforts.
 

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A check with other sources regarding the 1852 invasion is not very impressing:
"Acting without instructions, Cushing wrote to the commander of an American warship in Guayaquil harbor urging him to
remain in those waters to deal with “the atrocious acts of man-stealing, robbery and plunder” of the Flores expedition. Intervention by the US navy proved unnecessary however , for the expeditionary force ran into serious difficulties soon after its arrival in Ecuadorian waters."
"For a time the USS Portsmouth and some French vessels sat in front of the Guayaquil shore battery, blocking its line of fire. Whether this action was intentional or accidental will probably never be resolved, but more important was that most Ecuadorians believed it was intentional."
(Ecuador and the United States: useful strangers by Ronn F. Pineo)
There is also no mentioning that the real reason for Flores initial hesitation was the presence of the Swedish frigate Eugenie:
"When thanking [commander] Virgin for the rescue of George Howland, in a letter of March 27, Cushing told him that, according to reports from Peru, Flores had promised his men the plunder of Guayaquil for forty-eight hours after its capture. Until an American warship could arrive, within about a week, Eugenie was sorely needed to afford protection of life and property."
(Swedish Frigate Eugenie and the Flores Expedition against Guayaquil
by Magnus Mörner (1965), Pacific Historical Review 34 (1). 51-64)
 

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About the author (1989)

Mark J. Van Aken is Professor Emeritus of History at California State University, Hayward.

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