Portrait and signature of EUGENIO ESPEJO (1747-1795). Equatorian physician, precursor of bacteriology, and fighter of human rights. Son of an Equatorian native American man, he had to use her mother’s family name to be admitted at the university. Espejo realized the role of air as vector of “small bodies” or “living little atoms” (atomillos vivientes), which were the cause of disease. He was against the idea of spontaneous generation and suggested that fermentation was not a simple chemical reaction, but that specific agents should be involved in the process. Due to his attitude in favor of Equator freedom from the Spanish crown, he was forced to live in Colombia for several years and was also in prison. When he died, he was only 47.