El Supremo

El Supremo

"Three months ago, the Spanish viceroy sent a diplomat who warned me to curb my political ambitions. In answer, I sent part of him back to Panama - his head, to be precise."
―El Supremo to Horatio Hornblower[src]

El Supremo was an insane and ambitious leader of a rebellion against the Spanish in the Pacific. He was aided and given a captured ship, the Natividad by Horatio Hornblower, until Hornblower discovered that the Spanish had switched sides. He was captured by the Spanish and eventually hanged.


"A burning town is a magnificent sight!"
―El Supremo to Horatio Hornblower[src]

El Supremo, also known as Don Julian Maria de Jesus de Alvarado y Moctezumo, a wealthy land owner in Nicaragua. He was direct descendant of the union between Cortez's Lieutenant, Alvarado, (whom El Supremo purported to be the actual leader of the Conquistadores) and the daughter of Moctezuma. Don Julian sought to rebel against the Spanish and form his own empire. He built an army, lead by Manuel Hernandez. The British Empire decided that opening this to trade area would be beneficial, and Captain Hornblower was dispatched to deliver 500 muskets and bayonets, and a million rounds worth of shot and powder. At some point before Hornblower's arrival, Don Julian announced to his followers that he was divine, and insisted on being called El Supremo. He sentenced those who rejected his divinity, what he called the unenlightened, to death by thirst.

As a self-proclaimed superior being, El Surpremo demanded a 23-gun salute. This is two more guns than a king would receive.

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • El Supremo is possibly modelled on José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, the Paraguayan dictator who used the same sobriquet.
  • Some characters in W. E. B. Griffin's The Corps series referred to General Douglas MacArthur as "El Supremo." Griffin--a pseudonym for William E. Butterworth--was a teenager in the 1930s, when "The Happy Return" was published by C.S. Forester. Griffin's character Fleming Pickering, as an "any ocean, any tonnage" master mariner and shipping line owner between the wars, would be expected to be familiar with Forester's works, which were very popular in the their day.
  • In Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. El Supremo was portrayed by Alec Mango. In the film, he was killed during the battle with the HMS Lydia.