Don Gabriel García Moreno y Morán de Butrón

Don Gabriel García Moreno y Morán de Butrón, Duke of the Holy Faith (1821-1875), President of Ecuador, was a contemporary of Faustin I. He was a direct descendent of the first Conquerors and Spanish aristocracy arrived to South America in the 1500s to the Viceroyalty of Peru (now Peru and Ecuador). The oldest and most aristocratic South American families come from these two countries. Through both his parents, García Moreno was descended from noble Spanish families. His father, Gabriel García y Gómez de Tama was a Spaniard from Soria, descended from the house of the Dukes of Osuna, and an official of the Spanish Royal Navy. García Moreno’s mother was a member of a wealthy and prominent Spanish-Criollo aristocratic family. Her father was Count of Moreno and Governor-General of Guatemala, before moving to Guayaquil, where he was the Perpetual Military Governor.

Moreno is noted for his conservatism, Catholic religious perspective and rivalry with liberal strongman Eloy Alfaro. Under his administration, Ecuador became a leader in science and higher education within Latin America. In addition to the advances in education and science, he was noted for economically and agriculturally advancing the country, as well as for his staunch opposition to corruption, even giving his own salary to charity. He was the only ruler in the world to protest the Pope’s loss of the Papal States. Garcia Moreno, unlike many rulers throughout history, made this move not for the sake of power, but rather in order to build a new moral identity for the nation.