Biography of the Illustrious Doctor José de Cuero y Caicedo, Native of Cali, Bishop of Cuenca and Quito


José Cuero y Caicedo (1735‒1815), the subject of the brief biography presented here, was born in Cali, in present-day Colombia. He was the bishop of two cities in present-day Ecuador, Cuenca in 1798‒1801 and Quito from 1801 until the year of his death. He was involved in the early part of the struggle for Ecuadoran independence. In 1809‒12, in Quito, Santa Fe, and other places in South America, criollo (of Spanish extraction but born in the New World) revolutionaries established juntas to rule, ostensibly in the name of King Ferdinand VII of Spain, who at that time was a prisoner of Napoleon in France. Bishop Cuero y Caicedo joined the revolution and supported the cause of independence. He served as vice president of the first autonomous government of Quito, which lasted for only a few months in 1809, and as president of the second, which lasted for just over a year until it was crushed, in December 1812, by the colonial troops of the Viceroyalty of Peru. The elderly bishop’s active support of the revolution resulted in serious accusations regarding his disloyalty to the crown. His possessions were confiscated and he was to be sent into exile in Spain. Already in poor health, he died on the way to Lima.

Last updated: January 8, 2018