Julio Zaldumbide Gangotena biography, works

Jonah Lester

Julio Zaldumbide Gangotena he was a prominent poet, with a preference for romanticism, classical works, and neoclassicism. He is without a doubt one of the most important figures in Ecuadorian literature of the 19th century..

He devoted himself entirely to the literary world and came to write prolifically. He did it in different genres and styles, such as stories and sonatas, without neglecting poetry..

Its main literary references came from neoclassicism and romanticism. Both currents of the first half of the 19th century, which originated in Europe and quickly gained significant space in Latin America. This region was just beginning to create a history of its own in the field of literature.

Julio Zaldumbide's literary works have also transcended time, something that can be affirmed without fear of mistake. His creations provided a foundation on which to begin to grow a whole new generation of Ecuadorian writers and poets. Zaldumbide was deeply influenced by his work.

Article index

  • 1 Biography
    • 1.1 Studies
    • 1.2 Death
  • 2 Works
    • 2.1 Characteristics of his works
  • 3 Transcendence
  • 4 References


Julio Zaldumbide Gangotena was born on June 5, 1833 in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. He was the son of Ignacio Zaldumbide, a man of high social class. Young Julio spent his childhood and early youth in a well-off environment, where his love for the arts, literature and social sciences was stimulated..

His mother was the aristocrat Felipa de Gangotena, while his father, Ignacio Zaldumbide Izquierdo, was a prominent politician and military man, who worked hard to provide his son with a proper education..

Although he was killed in combat when his son was only one year old, Julio's father was a very important figure throughout his life. From him he inherited his love for the republic and the social sciences.

In addition, his father deeply influenced his political ideas and his ambitions for wanting to be part of the Ecuadorian government.


Julio Zaldumbide was an outstanding student, appreciated by his teachers, of great intelligence. Although he suffered from certain physical limitations, since he had a weak physical constitution and his health was always delicate. However, this did not prevent him from forming.

Later, he was able to enter the university to study law, although he quickly abandoned this project and devoted himself entirely to his vocation as a writer. By the time he turned twenty, Zaldumbide was already a figure recognized by the Ecuadorian writers and poets of the time..

The writers of these tendencies who had the most influence on Zaldumbide were the Spaniards Tomás de Iriarte and José Iglesias de la Casa, both from the neoclassical current. While by romanticism, he was influenced by Enrique Gil Carrasco, José de Espronceda, and his contemporary, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer.


Julio Zaldumbide Gangotena died in Quito, the city where he was born, in 1887, shortly after he was 54 years old. His life, always blamed by illness, was a sign of personal rectitude, academic vocation and civic spirit, as well as love for the country and culture.

The admirers of his work, along with students, friends and family, were in charge of keeping his literary legacy alive. Therefore, Zaldumbide, to this day, remains a central figure for the history of Ecuadorian culture..


Zaldumbide's writings are an ode to love, happiness, sadness, nostalgia, and the environment close to nature with which he was always closely related.

His poems and writings grapple with ideas that are complex, intriguing, exciting, disturbing, meaningful, and most of all, compelling..

This does not necessarily mean that his work was an ode dedicated to conflict, war, politics or the great social theories of his time. Even the smallest moments can convey great truths.

And when it came to his poems, the writer was not afraid to explore deeply to find the beauty that is hidden in the everyday, in the close, in the daily routine..

The Ecuadorian always made an effort to find the best way to convey his ideas. Poets have many options available for this: they can rhyme or not rhyme, and Zaldumbide knew how to make use of these options..

Characteristics of his works

His works may or may not follow a repetitive rhythm. Can span entire pages or be surprisingly short.

At the time of writing, Zaldumbide did not think about the critics, or even about his future readers. His poetry has as its main characteristic its sense of realism: nothing that he put on paper is fanciful or distant. Everything is real, it is everyday, it is the experience of its time converted into well-done poetry, and therefore, into art..

Zaldumbide knew how to capture in his writings what tormented him, as well as what he loved or missed. As an accomplished poet, he managed to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, with a precise and prolix vocabulary. All this supported by a mind thirsty for good literature, willing to create its own..

Zaldumbide was also one of the main founding members of the Ecuadorian Academy of the Language. This is the cultural institution with the longest history in the South American country, a subsidiary of the Royal Spanish Academy.

His most outstanding works were: The Evening Star, A María, A la soledad del campo, Trova, América y España, Al dolor, Al Sueno and El Bosquecillo..


Currently, he is one of the most studied characters in literary history in Ecuador and all his works are in the public domain, since more than a hundred years have passed since his death. Almost all of them can be found relatively easily on the Internet.

During his life, Zaldumbide stood out as a convinced patriot, possessing an immense love for his native country. This strong patriotic sentiment led him to meddle in politics.

He achieved some recognition in this guild, although he was not elected to any position of high importance, but at the time he managed to be a deputy.

It is said that he was a man of good manners, finely educated, possessing a mind as creative as it was critical..


  1. Martínez, A. (2015). Julio Zaldumbide Gangotena. Ecuadorian authors. Recovered from: autoresecuatorianos.utpl.edu.ec
  2. Cacay, W (2005). Romanticism in the poems: The Innocence, The Midday and my Heart By Julio Zaldumbide. National University of Soy (Ecuador). Recovered from: dspace.unl.edu.ec
  3. Carrera Andrade, J. (1939). Guide to the young Ecuadorian poetry. Asia America editions. Recovered from: repositorio.casadelacultura.gob.ec
  4. Torres, P (2009). Brief notes on Ecuadorian literature. Casa de las Américas Magazine. Recovered from: lists.casa.cult.cu
  5. Poeticous (2018). Julio Zaldumbide Gangotena. Poeticous. Recovered from: poeticous.com

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