History, Garcia Moreno and Eloy Alfaro
Garcia Moreno, Guayaquil, essential points, Catholic clergy, Quito
Garcia Moreno, a staunch Conservative, dominated Ecuador from 1860 to 1875. Garcia Moreno favored road building, administrative reform, modernization of agriculture, and, above all, the development of a school system under the complete control of the Catholic clergy. In 1875 Garcia Moreno was assassinated. His death was followed by two more decades of Conservative rule—at first under the dictatorship of General Ignacio de Vientimilla and then under a succession of civilian governments. During this period, world demand for Ecuadorian farm products, especially coffee, was high, and Ecuador was generally prosperous. Prosperity especially benefited the port of Guayaquil, stronghold of the Liberal opposition.
In 1895 the Liberals seized power in a coup led by their strongman Eloy Alfaro. After two years of dictatorial rule, he was elected president in 1897. In 1901 he was succeeded by another Liberal general, Leonidas Plaza Gutierrez, but retained great influence. After a break between the two Liberal generals, in 1906, Eloy Alfaro overthrew Plaza Gutierrez's chosen successor and returned to power. In 1907 he was again elected president, and he held office until 1911, when he was overthrown. During his years of political dominance, Eloy Alfaro put into effect the essential points of the Liberal program—elimination of the privileged legal position of the Roman Catholic Church, establishment of a system of public education, and construction of a railroad between Guayaquil and Quito.
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