Colombia's liberal president, Tomas Cipriano de Mosquera (1798-1878), provided aid to Ecuadorian liberals who wished to overthrow Garcia Moreno. In 1863, he also began to push for a recreation of Greater Colombia and demanded a meeting on the border with Garcia Moreno in which the details of such an arrangement were to be decided. When Garcia Moreno did not show up, Mosquera brought an army into the border region, prompting Garcia Moreno to send a 6,000-man force under his elderly father-in-law, General Juan José Flores (1800-1864). Flores crossed the border, leading to the December 6, 1863, Battle of Cuaspad, in which some 4,000 Colombians under Mosquera utterly defeated the invaders, about 1,500 of whom were slain or wounded and 2,000 taken captive. Mosquera subsequently brought his army into Ecuadorian territory, reaching the town of Ibarra without encountering any resistance, but the two sides then agreed to an armistice. Subsequent negotiations led to the Treaty of Pinsaqui, signed December 30, 1863, in which the two sides agreed to a return to the pre-war status quo.
Determining exactly what happened in this rather minor war is complicated by the limited number of relevant sources, nearly all of which are extremely biased. One faction, following Augustine Berthe, idolizes Garcia Moreno as a true protector of the Catholic Church and imputes the worst possible motives to his opponents; the other demonizes Garcia Moreno and thus excuses any action by his opponents. Considerable disagreement exists as to the details of the war, extending even to the identity of the winner: the anti-Garcia Moreno faction claims that the Ecuadorians capitulated following the Battle of Cuaspad, whereas their opponents claim that Mosquera elected to retreat after all Ecuador rallied behind Garcia Moreno and created a new army more powerful than the first.
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