Melchor Aymerich, the last Spanish ruler of Quito

Melchor Aymerich, the last Spanish ruler of Quito

Melchor Aymerich was the last Spanish governor of Quito. He was one of the Spanish military who tried defend the colonies from the emancipation that occurred in the early 19th century. Although he did not stand out too much for his military actions, he did so for his great management and for him respect that was earned by the independentistas, which most of the Spanish officers failed to have.

Aymerich was born in Ceuta on January 5, 1754. At the early age of 8 he entered the infantry regiment of the Spanish army stationed in Seville as a cadet. His first mission was the landing in Algiers in 1775 and, just two years later, he had already moved to the other side of the ocean to reconquer the colony of Sacramento.

In 1800, he achieved the rank of Commander of the Seville Artillery Corps and was sent back to America. His mission was to exercise Cuenca military commander (Ecuador) at the Royal Court of Quito. He was in office for nine years until August 10, 1809, when the inhabitants of Quito revolted, forming a Sovereign Junta and arresting Count Ruiz de Castilla, president of the Audiencia.

The consequence is that Aymerich had to come out in defense of the royalists and apply a strong military repression against the Sovereign Junta of Quito. However, the hero Carlos de Montúfar proclaimed the state of Quito, which caused the Spanish government to move to Cuenca. The rulers asked Aymerich to attack Montufar and to take control of the area.

After the Battle of Paredones, the experienced military man spent about a year fighting against the rebels. In 1813 he managed to prevail and conquer Quito, thus obtaining the rank of Field Marshal. A year later, the independentistas lost again against Aymerich. This is when the golden stage of the Spanish military begins, who occupies the presidency of Quito interrupted between 1816 and 1822. His management at the head of the government was very remarkable, since he worked to improve the well-being of the inhabitants of the area.

But on May 24, 1822, the decisive battle of Pinchincha took place, in which Aymerich succumbed to Antonio José de Sucre. In the Act of Capitulation that both leaders signed, the Spanish was guaranteed the possibility of leaving the territory through Guayaquil and Panama. He was treated by Sucre with the highest honors, which caused Aymerich to respect him and, in the most solemn way, to withdraw the Spanish flag and arms in an official act so that Sucre could proclaim the conquest of Greater Colombia.

His last years were spent in Cuba, where he was living with the rank of Lieutenant General of the army. He ended up dying on October 11, 1836 and left behind a rather worthy legacy. Although it is true that he was not a brilliant military man, unlike Morillo or Bolívar, the truth is that Aymerich was described as a good administrator and a respectable military man, since he did not participate in the events of “the war to the death”.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

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