8 julio, 2024

The 9 most popular legends of Guayaquil

Some of the best known Guayaquil legends They are La dama tapada, El niño de la mano negra, La Llorona, Víctor Emilio Estrada y el pacto con el Diablo and La leyenda de Guayas y Quil, among others. It is said that the latter gave the name to the city.

The city of Guayaquil was a very important commercial port and a center for the construction of Spanish ships in colonial times. It obtained its independence before Ecuador, on October 9, 1820.

In 1822 it was annexed to Gran Colombia by Simón Bolívar. After the failure of Gran Colombia, Guayaquil ended up being part of the newly born Republic of Ecuador.

Assaults and fires on the city by pirates were quite common. Today popular stories are told about these clashes.

Guayaquil’s best-known legends

1. The covered lady

It is believed that this legend comes from 1700. The story tells of the appearance of the ghost of a woman at midnight walking through the streets of the city, wearing an elegant black dress from the colonial era with her face covered by a veil.

Her figure and the aroma of perfumes were very attractive to the men who saw her, who were mostly drunk or typical «don Juanes», seducers and womanizers.

The men tried to walk towards the lady, but she quickened her pace without letting them get close enough. In this way they would chase her through dark alleys to the cemetery, where she would stop and turn around to look at her victim.

It was then that the veil fell, revealing a hideous corpse face with eyes ablaze with flames and a strong stench of putrefaction.

Very few are believed to survive this encounter. The story does not define why the victims of the cloaked lady die: whether it is from fright, pestilence, or some other factor, such as hypnosis.

In more contemporary versions, the victims fall down a chasm or are hit by vehicles.

2. The Tamarind Widow

This legend comes from the story of a woman from Manabí who murdered her Spanish husband. She was condemned to wander near a tamarind tree on a farm in Quinta Pareja, crying eternally for the memory of her husband.

This myth is quite similar to the covered lady. It is said that she walks dressed in mourning and sometimes crying through the dark streets of the city, with a veil or umbrella.

The men who saw her went after her to comfort her. The widow made them follow her to the tamarind tree, where she revealed her face and they died.

3. La Llorona

This story derives from the typical situations of innocent young women from the villages who moved to the city in search of better opportunities. This legend tells the story of a girl who managed to get a job in a house of wealthy people.

Naivety made her an easy prey for love and she became pregnant with the owner’s son. After being fired from her job, she tried to return to her family, but she was heavily criticized.

Desperation made her throw her newborn baby into the river. Realizing her inhumane act, she tried to retrieve it between screams and cries, but she was swept away by the current.

The stories say that they have heard the girl cry at night looking for her son among the houses and farms near the rivers, scaring children and adults alike.

4. The boy with the black hand

It tells the story of a boy from a wealthy family named Toribio de Castro Grijuela, who was missing his right hand from birth.

The family was very religious. They had a special devotion to the Virgen de Soto, from whom they asked for many miracles. Thanks to his Christian upbringing, Toribio grew up with a very kind and altruistic heart. He liked to help poor and needy people.

One day an old woman asked the boy for food, he served her with great joy, as he always did. She gave Toribio a gift. The next morning the boy woke up excited, because he had his right hand, but it was black.

It is said that Toribio had his heroic moment facing off against the pirates in 1587, defeating the famous Cavendish and his men.

According to what they say, when exhuming Toribio’s body years after his death, his black hand showed no signs of decomposition.

5. Posorja

This legend tells the story of a girl with the gift of divination who one day arrived carried by the sea in a kind of small boat. The Huancavilcas natives of the area adopted her as a princess and called her Posorja.

Many powerful men from other tribes wanted to marry her or their children, to take advantage of her divine gifts and expand their territories. The Inca emperor Huayna Capac was obsessed with her.

The Huancavilcas fled from the Incas founding the Posorja area. As a result, many clashes and deaths occurred between tribes.

Before disappearing into the sea again, Posorja predicted a tragic future for both Huayna Capac and Atahualpa.

6. Víctor Emilio Estrada and the pact with the Devil

He was an Ecuadorian politician whose presidency in 1911 lasted less than four months, since he died of heart failure on December 21 of that same year.

According to legend, the former president had made a pact with the Devil, offering him his soul in exchange.

The inhabitants of Guayaquil believe that this was the reason for the order to build his mausoleum in copper, to prevent the Devil from entering to take his soul after being buried.

After his death, the Devil, enraged by the ruse, cursed Estrada’s soul, sending his demons to guard him and not let him rest in peace.

Since then they have seen the ghost of the former president elegantly dressed and wearing a hat, wandering through the entrance to the cemetery. Some stories say that the apparition seeks to talk to people waiting for the bus.

7. The legend of Guayas and Quil

The legend dates back to the time of the conquest of the area. The story is about the sacrifice of love and freedom of the couple of native warriors of the Huancavilca tribe, when they see themselves threatened by the Spanish.

Sebastián de Benalcázar had many strong confrontations with this tribe to try to establish the new city of Santiago (current Guayaquil). The cacique Guayas and his wife Quil led the native resistance forces, and they were stupendous warriors.

Eventually they were captured. Guayas, knowing the greed of his captors, offered the Spanish many hidden treasures in exchange for his and his wife’s freedom. They were then taken to Cerro Verde (present-day Cerro Santa Ana).

Here Guayas asked for a knife to move one of the stones that covered the entrance to the treasure cache. But instead of gold and precious stones, Guayas plunged the knife into Quil’s heart and then into his own: they would rather die than be subjugated.

This event is said to have occurred near the current Guayas River, where the bodies are said to have fallen. This is one of the origins given to the name of the city.

8. The Legend of the Coffin

At the time of the conquest, an indigenous girl secretly married a Spanish soldier. Her father, learning of her, cursed her for having betrayed her homeland, her gods, and him. When she became pregnant, and while giving birth to her child, she died. The father’s curse is that neither she nor her son will rest in peace. That is why at night you can see a coffin in the Guayas River, in the distance, where the locals say the bodies of the girl and her baby are.

9. The Santana Hill Fairy

Before the Huancavilcas, a fierce and warlike people settled in the territory of Guayaquil. The cacique plundered all the towns and with the wealth he built a palace on the top of the hill. His daughter fell seriously ill, and the shaman told her that he could not cure the princess, unless the cacique returned all the stolen wealth.

The cacique chose to keep the riches and tried to kill the shaman so that he would accompany his daughter in the afterlife, but the sorcerer cursed him and sentenced him to live in the palace, with the riches, but in the bowels of the hill, unless for a man to choose his daughter over gold. Thus, he allowed the princess to come out of it every 100 years.

One of the times he went out he met a Spanish soldier, indebted and poor. She invited him to the palace and asked him to choose. He chose the treasures, and the enraged cacique attacked him. The soldier, who was a devotee of Santa Ana, asked him for help, and mysteriously appeared at the foot of the hill. Grateful, the Spanish ordered a cross to be placed on top, and since then the hill has been called Santana.

Subject of interest

Ecuadorian legends.

Legends of the Ecuadorian coast.


Legends of Ecuador. Recovered from discoverymundo.com.
Ecuadorian Myths and Legends. Recovered from startlivingecuador.com.

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