Ecuador has produced many eminent people who have made a mark in various fields and become world-famous. Take a look at some of the famous people of Ecuador, in this Historyplex article.
Ronnie Nader is the first and the only Ecuadorian astronaut. On completing the ASA/T training program at Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Moscow, he became Ecuador’s first astronaut in history. He is the Director of the Space Operations Division and the Honorary Chairman of the Directorate Board of the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency (EXA).
Ecuador, a democratic republic in South America, is proud to see many notable figures rise from its soil. These people have made the Ecuadorians proud by earning world recognition for their work. Here are some of the most famous people from Ecuador. The list includes Ecuadorian artists, singers, sportsmen, political figures, and more. You will find them in the alphabetical order.
Albert Paulson (December 13, 1925 to April 25, 2004)
Born in Ecuador, he was a Ecuadorian-American actor. He appeared in many television series. He won an Emmy Award in 1964.
Alberto Spencer (December 6, 1937 to November 3, 2006)
A footballer by profession, he is considered as the best player of Ecuador. He holds the record of scoring the maximum goals in Copa Libertadores, a major club tournament in South America. In 2004, IFFHS selected him as the 20th best South American football player. He was a striker with an amazing pace and had very good heading and balance skills. He started playing at the age of 15 for Everest. He appeared for Ecuador and Uruguay, and is the only goalscorer to do so. The omission of his name from the FIFA’s and Pele’s lists of 100 greatest living players was surprising. He is regarded as one of the greatest South American players. His intercontinental goal total is only one less than Pele’s.
Alfredo Pareja Diezcanseco (October 12, 1908 to May 1, 1993)
He was a novelist, journalist, essayist, historian, and diplomat from Ecuador. He served as the Chancellor of Ecuador, as its Foreign Minister, and as Ambassador to France. For some time, he worked as a professor of history and Spanish in Ecuador. During the rule of Federico Paez, he was exiled to Chile. On coming back to Ecuador after the period of exile, he joined the Assembly. In 1945, he became a special representative for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in Washington D.C. During the presidency of Osvaldo Hurtado, he was a Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and Ambassador to Paris. He was the founding member of Grupo de Guayaquil (a literary group in Ecuador). The The Barbaric Bonfire, a biography is one of his notable works.
Alvaro Noboa (born on November 21, 1950)
A businessman and politician by profession, he is the richest man in Ecuador. He became a lawyer, then took courses in business administration, and decided to embark upon a career in business. In 1973, he established a firm that brought many real estate companies in Ecuador together. It was regarded as one of the largest firms in Ecuador. In 1988, he started a magazine. He later established a bank, considered as one of Ecuador’s most reliable ones. He then established financing and investment companies. His exporting business made sales of over $200 million. He runs the Noboa Group of Companies and Noboa Corporation that has over 100 companies in Ecuador and other parts of the world. Noboa leads the Institutional Renewal Party of National Action. He is involved in politics and has run for Presidency of Ecuador.
Andres Gomez Santos (born on February 27, 1960)
Born in Ecuador, he is a former professional tennis player. In the French Open of 1990, he won the Men’s Singles title. His career began in 1979. He won five doubles titles in 1980 and seven in the following year. He was ranked first in the world’s doubles players. He won the US Open men’s doubles in 1986, and a Grand Slam men’s doubles and French Open in 1988. In 1990, he won the Grand Slam singles final against Andre Agassi. He was ranked world’s number 4 that year.
Antonio José de Sucre (February 3, 1795 to June 4, 1830)
During his military career, he was a part of the battles fought for securing independence for South America from Spain. He was instrumental in making independent the provinces of Presidencia de Quito from Spanish rule. They would later form the Republic of Ecuador. In the Battle of Tarqui in 1829, he successfully fought an invasion from Peru on Ecuador, thus retaining its independence. He was killed in 1830. He had expressed his wish to be buried in Ecuador, which he was.
Delfin Quishpe (born on December 4, 1977)
Born in Ecuador, also known as Francis N., he is a Quechua Ecuadorian singer and songwriter. His music is comical and he terms his style of music as Andean techno-folklore. When the video of his song Torres Gemelas went viral, he received fame.
Diego Serrano (born on February 5, 1973)
He is an American actor born in Ecuador. He has appeared in soap operas like The Young and the Restless in the role of Diego Guittierez and in Another World in Tomas Rivera’s role. He has appeared in the television series Time of Your Life and in films like The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green and The Ode.
Eduardo Kingman (February 23, 1913 to November 27, 1997)
He was one of the greatest 20th century artists from Ecuador. After completing the initial years of his education in Quito, he took his further studies in Venezuela, Peru, and Bolivia. He was a student of the San Francisco Art Institute in California. Apart from being an artist, he was also a writer and social activist. His paintings were exhibited in many major cities around the world. Towards the end of his career, a solo exhibition of his artworks was held at the United Nations, New York.
Eugenia Del Pino (born on April 19, 1945)
She is the first Ecuadorian citizen to be elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences.
Eugenio Espejo (February 21, 1747 to December 28, 1795)
He was a pioneer in the field of science and literature. Apart from his work as a scientist and writer, he was a recognized polemicist, who was instrumental in the separatist movement in Quito. He was the first journalist of Ecuador and is held in high regard by the Ecuadorians. He valued education, and learned through practical experience. He educated himself by reading books and observing nature. He trained himself in medicine by working with his father. He graduated from medical school in 1767 and later in jurisprudence and canon law. His written work Reflexiones acerca de un método para preservar a los pueblos de las viruelas (Reflections about a method to preserve the people from smallpox) serves as a good source of information about the sanitary conditions in colonial America. He wrote Defensa de los curas de Riobamba (Defense of the clergy of Riobamba), that describes the life of Indians in Riobamba. His work El Nuevo Luciano de Quito criticized the educational system of the time. His theological letters show his knowledge of theology. He wanted to educate and awaken the society through his writings and often used satire. His understanding of science and his respect for women’s rights and equality is evident in his writings.
Fanny Carrion de Fierro (born in 1936)
She is one of the famous women in Ecuadorian literature. She is a poet, literary critic, and an essayist. She received a Bachelor’s degree from the Central University of Ecuador, a Master of Arts degree from the University of California, and a Doctor of Literature from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. She has many famous literary works in her name; some of them being poems like Eye to Eye-Women: Their Words and Worlds of 1997, Where Light Was Born of 1999, and an essay Towards the Fifth Power written in 2006. She has worked in many universities across Ecuador and the United States and serves as a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. She is a board member of many development non-governmental organizations.
Gerardo Mejia (born on April 16, 1965)
He is a rapper and singer from Ecuador. He became a recording industry executive, and later a youth pastor. He was born in Ecuador and brought up in California. He called himself Latin Elvis, the Latin Frank Sinatra, or the Latin Tony Zuzio. He played Ricky in Can’t Buy Me Love, a 1987 film. He starred in Colors in which his dancing skills were exhibited. His single Rico Suave from his first album, Mo’ Ritmo made him popular.
Jefferson Perez (born on July 1, 1974)
He is a Ecuadorian race walker who specializes in the 20 km event of Olympics. He made the Ecuadorians proud by winning two Olympic medals. He is also the proud winner of bronze in the Junior World Cup of Athletics in Bulgaria, silver at the World Championships of Seville and many such honors in a number of competitions around the world. While practicing a walk for his high school physical education exam, Luis Munoz spotted him and invited him to take part in a race. On winning it, he got the opportunity to represent Ecuador as a sports ambassador. He won a gold in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and a silver medal at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, both for 20 km walks. His medal record includes world championships and gold medals at the Pan American and South American Games, among others.
Juan Jose Flores (July 19, 1800 to October 1, 1864)
He was a military general who became the first President of Ecuador. He joined the Spanish Royalist army at the age of 15. In a short time after joining the army, his military skills were evident. During the same period, his belief in freeing his country from the Spanish rule strengthened. He joined the patriot army of Simon Bolivar. At a young age of 23, Juan Jose Flores became the Colonel and then the Commandant General of the city of Pasto. He was made supreme chief of the country in 1830. On August 14 of the same year, he became the provincial President of Ecuador and was in office till 1839. He served two more presidential terms; from 1839 to 1843 and then from 1843 to 1845. He died of uremia in 1864.
Julio Jaramillo (October 1, 1935 to February 9, 1978)
He was one of the most famous singers from Ecuador. He was also a recording artist. In his career, he recorded more than 4000 songs. As a child, he got a chance to play musical instruments at his neighbor’s house. There, he learned to play the guitar and soon made one himself. Inspired by his brother who was an artist, he decided to pursue a career in music. By the age of 17, he had become known for his beautiful voice. His first album was My Poor Dear Mother which came out in 1954 and brought him fame. He continued producing albums and also ventured television and films. He served the military for a brief period and returned to his career in music. He has recorded with many famous artists of his time. His most famous song is Nuestro Juramento. He died at the age of 42.
Karina Galvez (born on July 7, 1964)
She is one of the famous Ecuadorian American poets born in Ecuador. She studied economics and later obtained a degree in tourism. She has been a singer and voice actor. She is also a national disaster trainer for the Orange County American Red Cross. In 2011, she was nominated to the First International Medal of Peace and Culture. In the same year, she was invited to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles, making her one of the only three non-Mexican artists to be invited. Apart from English and Spanish, she has written in Portuguese, Italian, and German. Her notable works in poetry include Poesia y Cantares and Poem for my Mother. She has received the Crystal Condor, an award given to talented Ecuadorians.
Lenín Moreno (born on March 19, 1953)
He was the Vice President of Ecuador from 2007 to 2013. He obtained a degree in public administration and studied psychology. In 1976, he became the director of the Continental Professional Training Center. After working in the private sector for some time, he took an administrative post with the Minister of Government and worked in the public tourism sector. In 2007, he was elected to the post of Vice president. He is a paraplegic and among the very few disabled people who are on such a high position in the government. During office, he worked towards improving the life of the handicapped and towards earning them respect. For his work in this regard, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.
Luis Miranda (born in 1932)
He is one of the most prominent painters of Ecuador. His flair for art was seen since his early years when he used to keep drawing or scribbling, copying pictures from books his mother had. After graduating from the School of Fine Arts, he received a scholarship from UNESCO to settle in Italy. His unique style of painting earned him recognition and a number of prestigious awards. He returned to Ecuador in 1961, but disliking the art-scene there, he moved to New York. He came back to Ecuador in 1976 and entered the field of education. In the late ’80s he served as a professor in the Faculty of Architecture at the Catholic University in Guayaquil.
Matilde Hidalgo (1889 to 1974)
She was the first woman to graduate from high school in Ecuador. She was the first woman to vote in an election in Latin America and also the first female to be elected to office in the country. She was denied the right to education after sixth grade. Fighting difficulties and with her mother’s support, she went on to earn a Doctorate in Medicine, becoming the first woman in Ecuador to obtain this degree. In 1924, she became the first woman to vote in a national election. She was elected as a member of council of Machala and then as its vice president. She was the first Ecuadorian woman to serve these positions.
Mike Judge (born on October 17, 1962)
Michael Judge is an actor, animator, writer, producer, director, musician, and cartoonist. He was born in Ecuador and brought up in New Mexico. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of California, San Diego. He started as a software developer, left the industry in a few months, and became a bass player. In 1989, he ventured animation. His short films include Office Space which was acquired by Comedy Central, Frog Baseball which was to be shown on Liquid Television, and King of Hill for the Fox Network. This series went on to be the third-longest running animated series. He has made brief appearances in many films and also given his voice for them. Beavis and Butt-head, which he made and acted in, and King of the Hill and Idiocracy which he wrote and directed, are some of his notable works.
Pancho Segura (born on June 20, 1921)
He is a Ecuadorian-born tennis player ranked as the World Co-No. 1 and the only player to have won the US Pro title on three different surfaces. He moved to the United States in the 1930s and became its citizen. Thus he has the citizenship of both Ecuador and the USA. His career in tennis began in 1947 and his skills at the game and his personality made him popular. He was born premature and had poor health. Despite that, he was swift and his shots were powerful. During his tennis career, he defeated many great players of the time. In 1984, he was inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.
Rafael Correa (born on April 6, 1963)
He is the President of the Republic of Ecuador. He assumed office in January 2007. After earning a degree in Economics in 1987, he worked at a welfare center in Cotopaxi Province. He obtained a Master of Arts in Economics in 1991. He served as the director at the Ministry of Education and Culture in 1993. In 2001, he earned a Doctorate in Economics. As a finance minister, he worked towards the removal of poverty. Correa was declared President in December 2006. In the 2009 presidential elections, he won again, and in 2013, he won for the third time. He has been instrumental in reducing poverty and unemployment in the country.
Rosalía Arteaga (born on December 5, 1956)
She has served as Ecuador’s President and is the first woman in the country to hold this post. During the presidency of Abdala Bucaram, she served as the Vice President of Ecuador. In February 1997, Bucaram was declared unfit for the office. After disputes over who would preside the country in his absence, Arteaga was declared President. She served as President for just two days, after which Fabian Alarcon was given this post. Arteaga is a member of the editorial board of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Till 2007, she served as the secretary-general of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization.
◆ Among the other famous people born in Ecuador was Jaime Roldós Aguilera, President of Ecuador from 1979 to 1981, most known for his policy on human rights.
◆ Jorge Icaza Coronel known for his novel Huasipungo and Juan León Mera, known for the novel Cumandá and the Ecuadorian National Hymn are among some famous Ecuadorian writers.
◆ Some famous Ecuadorian artists include Eduardo Kingman’s contemporary, Caesar Andrade Faini and Juan Villafuerte, whom Faini mentored.
◆ Footballers such as Antonio Valencia (who plays for the Ecuadorian national team), the all-time top scorer Agustín Delgado (retired), and Álex Aguinaga, one of the country’s best footballers, are also worth a mention.
These were some of the very famous Ecuadorian names that shine through history. Many of these people from Ecuador have won global acclaim for their work.