The Alférez Real
The book, El Alférez Real, originally published in 1886, has the merit of reconstructing the life of the great Vallecaucan haciendas, which were decisive in the regional formation in the 18th century, and the patriarchal customs that developed around them.
Eustaquio Palacios chooses the setting in Cañasgordas, the Casa Grande, as it was called then, for the love story with an unusual happy ending, somewhat inappropriate for romance novels, between Daniel and Inés de Lara and Portocarrero. Over time it has become one of the landmarks of national literature while it has become one of the landmarks of national literature, and together with “María” by Jorge Isaacs, in the most outstanding novel of the second half of the XIX century, when romanticism and manners are mixed.
Reading “El Alférez Real” allows us to look at Santiago de Cali in colonial times, understand its economic and political conditions, its beliefs and customs and, in general, the culture shared by the residents of the city, which extended from the hill of San Antonio to the chapel of San Nicolás and from the banks of the river to the square of Santa Rosa.
The historical figure of Don Joaquín de Caycedo y Cuero, whose dominion, influence and sacrifice the Great House attests to, will always be closely linked to that of Eustaquio Palacios and his love story.
Excerpts from Edgar Varela Barrios’ text
President of the University of Valle
The Royal Ensign 2018 edition
Eustaquio Palacios was born in Roldanillo, Valle del Cauca, on February 17, 1830. His mother was from Cali and his father from Roldanillo. He did his first studies in the convent of San Francisco de Cali. From Cali he went to Popayán, where he received a doctorate in law and political science. Returning to Cali, he remained in this city until his death, which occurred, suddenly, in the early hours of the night of September 6, 1898. He was secretary, member and president of the Cabildo. For ten years from 1866 to 1876, he served as the rector of the Colegio Santa Librada. He presided over the first municipality of the province, in the year 1864 and in 1873 and 1876. He was also a provincial administrator of the national treasury, inspector of public instruction and magistrate of the western court. He lived in an old colonial house on 13th Street, near the Plaza de Santa Librada, where he had a printing press, in which the first edition of this book was made, and where he met daily with a select group of friends, to comment, in a pleasant gathering, local events, those of the country or those that reached them to come from the universal concern.