Eloy Alfaro was the leader of the Ecuadorian Liberal Revolution which he fought since his youth until 1895 when the liberals took power.
He is attributed with separating the church from the state and implementing many political and civil rights like freedom of speech, finishing the first railroad from Guayaquil to Quito, legalizing divorce, building public schools, and allowing civil marriage.
He was killed in 1912 by the infuriated people of Quito. His body was mutilated, dragged through the streets and finally burned at "El Ejido".
In a recently conducted survey by a leading television channel in Ecuador, Alfaro was named the "Greatest Ecuadorian" in recognition of the changes he promoted which still exist today in Ecuadorian society. In 1991 the Ecuadorian Navy purchased from Britain the frigate Penelope and renamed her Presidente Eloy Alfaro.
He is also accredited for founding the "Colegio Militar Eloy Alfaro" on December 11, 1899, a six year high school in the center of Quito, and "Escuela Militar Eloy Alfaro" a colleague in the outskirts of Quito.
His likeness appears on the Ecuador currency 50 cent coin.