Biography of José Mejía Lequerica (1777-1813)

Intellectual, physician and Ecuadorian lawyer, born in Quito on May 24, 1775 and died in Cádiz on October 27, 1813. It is the most illustrious of the beginning of the 19th century quiteño. Endowed with extraordinary intellectual gifts and a memory capable of retaining all of a discourse with only listen to it once, at age 19 already had studied Latin grammar, philosophy and theology; He had won a scholarship to the College of San Luis and he had married the sister of Eugenio Espejo, Manuela, 23 years older than him.

Friend of all scientific innovation, joined and supported in what could the members of the botanical expedition directed by José Celestino Mutis. In 1805, the University did not want to give the degree in medicine and laws to be illegitimate. This was a "tara" that unfairly accompanied him throughout his life, so that he was forced into exile in Spain, where he was welcomed and dear. In Madrid he fought beside the Spanish against the French, which earned him to be appointed Deputy Santafé de Bogotá in the Cortes of Cadiz; There he distinguished himself by his eloquence in defence of freedom of the press, by denunciation of the abuses of the Inquisition (supporting that this Court was not restored) and the defence of the rights of American Indians and blacks. Voluntarily offered to inspect an outbreak of yellow fever in the port of Cadiz, and this same disease killed him when he was only 36 years old. Its clear and decisive American position also encouraged the independence of Spanish America.


Star, e.: José Mejía, first Ecuadorian botanical, Quito, 1988.