Home » HISTORIANS » Famous Mexicans

MARIA SANTOS

Maria Santos Gorrostieta  she was mayor of Tiquicheo, a small town in the Mexican state of

Michoacan, which has seen some of the most brutal drug-related violence. She stood her ground

and died a martyr.

MARIA GONZALEZ

Doctor María del Socorro Flores González won the MEXWII 2006 award for her work on

diagnostic methods for invasive amebiasis. María González patented processes to diagnose

invasive amebiasis, a parasitic disease that kills over 100,000 people each year.

LUIS MIRAMONTES

Chemist, Luis Miramontes co-invented the contraceptive pill. In 1951, Luis Miramontes,

then a college student, was under the direction of Syntex Corp Ceo George Rosenkranz and

researcher Carl Djerassi. Miramontes wrote a new procedure for the synthesis of the progestin

norethindrone, the active ingredient for what would become the oral birth control pill. Carl

Djerassi,George Rosenkranz and Luis Miramontes were granted US patent 2,744,122 for “oral

contraceptives” on May 1, 1956. The first oral contraceptives trade named Norinyl was

manufactured by Syntex.

VICTOR CELORIO

Victor Celorio patented the “Instabook Maker” a technology supporting e-book distribution by

quickly and elegantly printing an offline copy. Victor Celorio was granted US patents 6012890

and 6213703 fpr his invention. Celorio was born on July 27, 1957 in Mexico City. He is the

president of Instabook Corporation, based in Gainesville, Florida.

GUILLERMO GONZALEZ CAMARENA

Guillermo González Camarena invented an early system of the color television. He received US

patent 2296019 on September 15, 1942 for his “chromoscopic adapter for television equipment”.

González Camarena publicly demonstrated his color television with a transmission on August

31, 1946. The color transmission was broadcast direct from the his laboratory in Mexico City

Benjamin Valles

Benjamin Valles of Chihuahua, Mexico, developed a system and a method for preforming cable

for promoting adhesion to over molded sensor body for Delphi Technologies Inc. The inventor

was issued U.S. Patent No. 7,077,022 on July 18, 2006. $50,000 offered for his delivery dead or

alive to Porfirio Diaz, President of Mexico. Ochoa was a revolutionist who sought to overthrow

the rule of Mexico’s chief executive in the early nineties.

VICTOR OCHOA

Victor Ochoa was the Mexican American inventor of the Ochoaplane. And the inventor of a

windmill, magnetic brakes, a wrench, and a reversible motor. His best known invention, the

Ochoaplane was a small flying machine with collapsible wings. Mexican inventor Victor Ochoa

was also a Mexican revolutionary. According to the Smithsonian, Victor Ochoa had a reward of

FELIPE VADILLOS

Mexican inventor Felipe Vadillo patented a method of predicting premature fetal membrane

rupturing pregnant women

JUAN LOZANO

Juan Lozano, a Mexican inventor with a lifelong obsession with jet packs, invented the Rocket

Belt. Juan Lozano’s company Tecnologia Aeroespacial Mexicana sells the Rocket Belt for a

hefty price. According to their website, “founder Juan Manuel Lozano has been working with

hydrogen peroxide propulsion systems since 1975, inventor of the penta-metallic catalyst pack to

be used with organic hydrogen peroxide and inventor of the most popular machine in the world

to produce you own hydrogen peroxide to be used as a rocket fuel.

EMILIO SACRISTAN

Emilio Sacristan of Santa Ursula Xitla, Mexico, invented a air-pressure powered driver for

pneumatic ventricular assist device (VAD).

JOSE HERNANDEZ REBOLLAR

Jose Hernandez-Rebollar invented the Acceleglove, a glove that can translate sign language

into speech. According the Smithsonian, “by using sensors attached to the glove and the arm,

this prototype device can currently translate the alphabet and over 300 words in American Sign

Language (ASL) into both English and Spanish.

FRIDA KAHLO

Frida Kahlo FAMOUS surrealist painter who did not shun her power to affect the mind she was a true

feminist artist who is very well known in the feminist movement. She was born in Mexico in 1907 and

worked until her death in 1954. The style she uses is known as Surrealism  her husband was Diego Rivera

(11 years her senior), who was known as a painter of murals.

 

Dávila, José Antonio

(1898–1941), poet, was born on October 7, 1898 in Bayamón, son of Virgilio Dávila. He

studied medicine but he was known better for his modernist poetry. He published “Vendimia”

(1940) and “Almacén de Baratijas.” He died on December 4, 1941 in Bayamõn.

Dávila, Virgilio (Virgilio Dávila Cabrera)

(1869–1943), poet, teacher and business man, was born on January 28, 1869 in Toa Baja. He

was mayor of Bayamón for a few years. His poetry represents the traditional in Puerto Rican

literature. In 1903, he published his first book of poems, “Patria”, a collection of lyrical portraits

of the island’s landspace, love and Puerto Rican personalities like José de Diego, Federico

Degetau and Lola Rodríguez de Tió. He also published: “Viviendo y Amado” (1912), “Aromas

del Terruño” (1916), “Pueblito de Antes” (1917), and “Un Libro Para Mis Nietos” (A Book for

my Grandchildren; 1928).

Among his best-known poems are “Nostalgia”  , “Elegía de Reyes” and “No Des Tu Tierra al

Extraño.” He died on August 22, 1943 in Bayamón and buried in the Porta Coeli Cemetary.

Degetau, Federico

(1862–1914), lawyer, politician, writer, and Puerto Rico’s

first Resident Commissioner of to the United States House of

Representatives from 1900 to 1904, was born on December 5, 1862 in

Ponce. He received is early education in Ponce, and continued studies

in Barcelona, Spain, where he graduated from the law department of

the Central University of Madrid. He founded the newspaper La Isla de

Puerto Rico.

After returning to the island, Degetau became an active member of

the Autonomist Party, under the leadership of Luis Muñoz Rivera.

In 1895, he was among the party’s four commissioners sent to Spain

to petition for political autonomy for Puerto Rico. The petition was

denied, but an autonomic charter was granted three years later. As

a Resident Commissioner and member of the Committee on Insular

Affairs, he submitted a bill to grant U.S. citizenship to Puerto Rico

residents, but it was denied. He wrote “El Secreto de la Domadora”

(1886), “Que Quijote!,” “Cuentos para el Camino”, “Juventud” (1895)

and “La Injuria” (1893). He died on January 20, 1914 in Santurce, and

was burried in San Juan.

Díaz, Justino

(1940–), opera singer, was born on January 29, 1940 in San Juan. He was a soloist for the

choir of the University of Puerto Rico and studied singing at the New England Conservatory of

Music. He has performed with some of the most prestigious orchestras and has participated in

opera movies. He received the Handel Medal, the most important cultural distinction awarded

by the City of New York, as well as the National Cultural Medal awarded by the Puerto Rican

Cultural Institute.

Díaz Alfaro, Abelardo

(1919–1999), writer, was born on July 24, 1919 in Caguas. He obtained a degree in Arts from

the Technical Institute of San Germán and continued social work studies in the University of

Puerto Rico. In 1947, he publishes his first collection of stories and stamps of the rural zone of

the island, “Terrazo.” His most notables books include: “Los Perros” (1956), “Mi Isla Soñada”

(1967), “The Green Antilles,” “Campo Alegra,” among others. His books have been translated

into numerous languages. He died on July 22, 1999 in Guaynabo.

Diego Martínez, José de

(1866–1921), jurist, poet, journalist, essayist, orator, politician and advocate for Puerto Rico’s

independance, was born on April 16, 1866 in Aguadilla. Considered a brilliant orator, de Diego

was also a major poet, but his claim to fame today rests on his advocacy of independence

for Puerto Rico. He was a founder of the Autonomist Party (1887) and co-founder (with

Luis Muñoz Rivera) of the Unionist Party (1904). His dream was to see the establishment

of a confederation of Spanish-speaking islands in the Caribbean, including the Dominican

Republic. He was president of the House of Delegates (1907-1917) and speaker of the House of

Representatives (1917-1918). He was also the founder of the “Colegio de Agricultura y Artes

Mecánicas de Mayagüez now known as the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez.

History considers him a father to both the modern Puerto Rican poetry movement and the

island’s modern independence movement. Works such as “A Laura” and “Postuma” won him

a lasting reputation as Puerto Rico’s finest love poet. His poetry books include “Pomarrosas”

(1904), “Jovillos” (1916), “Cantos de Rebeldía” (1916) and “Cantos del Pitirre,” published

soon after his dead. He died reciting his poem “Último Acto” on July 17, 1921 in New York and

burried in San Juan.

Dueño Colón, Braulio

(1854–1934), musician and composer, was born on March 26, 1854 in San Juan. Dueño is

considered one of Puerto Rico’s greatest composers, his most important contribution is perhaps

the collections of school songs he wrote specifically for the island’s schools, “Canciones

Escolares” (1912), which were co-written with Virgilio Dávila and of Manuel Fernández

Juncos.

Dueño won many literary-musical competitions in the Ateneo Puertorriqueño. Braulio’s best

known dances are “Delia y Belén,” “Patria,” and “La Criolla.” He died on April 4, 1934 in

Bayamón, age 80.

Elzaburu, Manuel

(1851–1892), orator and writer, was born on January 2, 1851 in San Juan. He founded the

Ateneo Puertorriqueño. Elzaburu died on February 12, 1892 in San Juan.

Feliciano, José

(1945–), singer, was born blind on September 10, 1945 in Lares. José has been acclaimed by

critics throughout the world as “the greatest living guitarist.” When he was five, his family

emigrated to New York City. Jose learned to play a concertina at age six, using a handful of

records as his teacher. Later on, he taught himself to play the guitar. Jose has received over forty

gold and platinum records, has won 14 Grammy nominations and six Grammy awards, and

has earned countless prestigious awards the world over. Jose has also been given a star on the

Hollywood Walk of Fame. His most notable songs includes: “Light my Fire,” “Que Sera,” “Feliz

Navidad,” “Rain,” “Chico and the man,” “California Dreamin’,” “Destiny,” “Affirmation,” “Ay

cariño,” “Ponte a cantar,” “Cuando el amor se acaba,” and “Porque te tengo que olvidar?,”

among others.

Figueroa, Narciso

(1906–), musician and composer, was born on October 31, 1906 in Aguadilla. He collected folk

songs and re-orchestrated them for chamber orchestras; his recordings have been sponsored by

the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. In 1959, he published: “Cancionero de Puerto Rico.”

Fernández Juncos, Manuel

(1846–1928), one of Puerto Rico’s best known journalists, poet and humanitarian, was born on

December 11, 1846 in Oviedo, Spain to Puerto Rican parents. Fernández first wrote for the

newspaper “El Progress” (Progress), and later for the “Porvenir” and “El Clamor del Pueblo.” In

1876, Juncos launched the newspaper “El Buscapie”, campaigning liberal ideas such as free

education for children and adults. The weekly newspaper soon became the most read in the

island. In 1887, he founded the “Revista Puertorriqueña” (The Puerto Rican Magazine),

specializing in the Arts, Sciences and Letters.

Fernandez joined the Autonomist Party and became its secretary. In 1898, when Puerto Rico

was granted autonomy from Spain, he was elected Secretary of State. After the end of the

Spanish-American War he retires from public life and devotes his time to writing about Puerto

Rican traditions and folklore. He published numerous books and essays.

Among his most notable works are: “Tipos y Caracteres” (1882), “De Puerto Rico a Madrid”

(1886), “Costumbres y Tradiciones” (1888), “La Ultima Hornada” (1928), “Libro Cuarto de

Lectura,” and “Canciones Escolares,” which he co-wrote with Virgilio Dávila and Braulio

Dueño Colón.

In 1952, “La Borinqueña”, written by Fernández, became the offical anthem of the

Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

He held the Presidency of the Puerto Rican Literacy Society, directed the Antillian Academy of

Language and founded the Puerto Rican Red Cross. He died on August 18, 1928 in San Juan.

Ferré Aguayo, Luis Alberto

(1904–2003), engineer, industrialist, politician and philanthropist, was

born on February 17, 1904 in Ponce. He was the third democratically

elected Governor of Puerto Rico (1968-1972). He ran a family cement

company and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1952. In

1967, he founded the New Progressive Party; as its candidate he won

the governorship in 1968, breaking the Popular Democratic Party’s 28-

year domination. His re-election campaign in 1972 became a virtual

referendum on statehood, which Ferré advocated. Ferré was defeated

by Rafael Hernández Colén, who pledge for the continuation of the

commonwealth status. He died on October 21, 2003.

Ferré, Rosario

(1938), writer, poet and essayist, was born in 1938 in Ponce. On 1960, she completed her

studies in English Literature from the Manhattanville College, and earned a master in Spanish

and Latin-American Literature from the University of Puerto Rico. From the 1970’s she began

to write, first as an editor for the Zona de Carga y Descarga Magazine, later on she became a

continuous collaborator for newspapers, El Nuevo Día and the San Juan Star. Her first work was

the novel “Maldito Amor,” which won the Libertur Award in 1992. Her works include: “Papeles

de Pandora,” “La Casa de la Laguna” (1996), and “Vecindarios Excentricos” (1998).

Ferrer, José Vicente

(1912–1992), actor, director, and producer noted for his Academy Award winning performance

in the film Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), was born on January 8, 1909 in Santurcce.

Ferrer made his film debut with Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc in 1948, for which he received

his first Academy Award nomination for “Best Supporting Actor”. Active both in the theater and

films, Ferrer portrayed Iago in a stage production of Othello (1943) and Toulouse-Lautrec in the

film Moulin Rouge (1952). He directed the plays Stalag 17 (1951) and The Shrike (1952). Later

films include Dune (1984). Died on January 26, 1992 in Miami, Florida.

Gautier Benítez, José

(1848–1880), poet, was born on April 12, 1848 in Caguas. Considered the greatest poet of

the romanticism period in Puerto Rico. He died on January 24, 1880 in San Juan.

Enríquez, Miguel

(ca. early 1700s–1800s), Spanish naval captain, pirate, was born in Puerto Rico. This hero, a

mulatto who was one a shoemaker, eventually became a corsair and then experienced many

adventures as captain of a Spanish warship. He may have participated in conquering the offshore

island of Vieques.

Hernández, Rafael

(1892–1965), composer, was born on October 24, 1892 in Aguadilla.

He was one of the most important figures in 20th-century popular

Puerto Rican music, dividing his career between Puerto Rico, the U.S.

Works such as the “Lamento Borincano”, “Capullito de Alelí”, and

his masterpiece “Preciosa” were thought to express the soul of Puerto

Rico. He died on December 11, 1965 in San Juan.

Hernández Colén, Rafael

(1936–), former governor of Puerto Rico (1973-1977, 1985-1993),

was born on October 24, 1936 in Ponce. An honors graduate of Johns

Hopkins Univ. (1956) and the Univ. of Puerto Rico law school (1959),

he practiced law in Ponce, and was elected to the senate in 1968. He

was a protégé of Luis Muñoz Marín. He served as president of the

senate and as president of the Popular Democratic party. In 1972 he

decisively defeated Gov. Luis Ferré to become, at 36, the island’s

youngest governor. He sponsored ambitious programs of economic

development and housing construction, and he strongly opposed U.S.

President Ford’s wish to make Puerto Rico the 51st state. He wanted to

make Puerto Rico less dependent economically on the United States.

He was reelected in 1984 and 1988.

Hostos y Bonilla, Eugenio María de

(1839–1903), educator and politician, was born on January 11, 1839

in Rio Cañas, Mayagüez. Hostos received his elementary schooling in

San Juan and then went to Spain for both secondary studies and law

school. Hostos was educated in Spain and became active in republican

politics as a university student there. He left Spain when that country’s

new constitution (1869) refused to grant independence to Puerto Rico.

He went to the United States, where he became editor of the Cuban

independence journal La Revolucién in 1870. In Santo Domingo (1879-

88) he founded the first normal school and introduced advanced

teaching methods, but nine years later he had to leave the country

because of his liberal views. He subsequently traveled widely

throughout South America and taught in Chile. As professor in the

Univ. of Chile, he was instrumental in having women admitted. He

returned to the United States in 1898 and participated actively in the

Cuban independence movement, but his hopes for Puerto Rican

independence after the Spanish-American War (1898) were

disappointed when the U.S. government rejected his proposal for

autonomy and instead established its rule over the island as a territory.

Hostos returned to the Dominican Republic. Hostos played a major

role in reorganizing the educational system of the Dominican

Republic. He is widely known throughout Latin America as a publicist

of civic reforms, as a rationalist in ethics who believed that to be

civilized and to be moral is the same thing, and as a writer of sober,

graceful, and didactic prose. He wrote many essays and treatises on

social-science topics and was one of the first systematic sociologists in

Latin America. His most important was “La Peregrinacién de Bayoán”

(1863), a seminal work promoting Cuban independence and revealing

on a fiction tone restrictions of the Spanish Colonial regime. The book

was suppressed by the Spanish Government. He was also known as a

supporter of women’s rights. He even wrote his own epitaph: “I wish

that they will say: In that island [Puerto Rico] a man was born who

loved truth, desired justice, and worked for the good of men.” Other

works: Moral social (1888); Lecciones de Derecho Constitucional

(1887); and a superb essay, Hamlet (1873). He died on August 11,

1903 in Santo Domingo.

Juliá, Raúl (Raúl Rafael Carlos Juliá y Arcelay)

(1944–1994), actor, was born on March 9, 1944 in San Juan. Juliá proved his versatility on both

stage and screen. Raul Julia made his New York City debut in 1964 in a Spanish-language play.

He worked on: Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival Macbeth (1966), Two Gentlemen

of Verona (1971) for which he won the first of his four Tony nominations, Mack the Knife in

The Threepenny Opera (1976). Julia’s film career, which began in 1971, ran the gamut from

the comic–The Gumball Rally (1976), The Addams Family (1991), and its sequel Addams

Family Values (1993)–to the biographical–Romero (1988), in which he played the Salvadoran

archbishop, and The Burning Season (1994), about Brazilian labor leader Chico Mendes–to the

tragic–Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985). He died on October 24, 1994 in New York.

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