Acosta, José Julian
(1825–1891), journalist and a leader of the Puerto Rican abolishement movement, was born in
on May 27, 1825 in San Juan. He received his primary and secondary education from Rafael
Cordero. In 1867, he was a member of the Puerto Rican commission, which participated in the
Overseas Information Committee in Madrid, Spain. The commission advocated for the abolition
of slavery and political reforms at the local level. On November, 1870, he became a leading
member of the Liberal Reformist Party. He also collaborated to the foundation of “El Progreso”
(Progress) newspaper, of which he was editor. In 1873, he became the president of the Liberal
Reformist Party. He died on August 26, 1891 in San Juan.
Acosta, Juan F.
(1890–1968), musician, composer, and music teacher, was born on May 27, 1890 in San
Sebastián. Acosta wrote over 844 musical pieces, including 127 religious hymns. Among
Acosta’s may composition are ” Bajo La Sombra de un Pino” (Under the Shade of a Pine)
, “Asi es la Vida” (That’s Life), and “Glorias del Pasado” (Glories of the Past). Acosta died in
1968 and buried in Quebradillas.
Agrelot, Jose Miguel
(1927–2004), radio and television show host, and a notorious comedian, better known as Don
Cholito, was born on April 21, 1927 in San Juan. Agrelot started working on radio stations when
he was 14. Some of Agrelot’s long list of shows include: “El Colegio de la Alegría” (The School
of Joy), “El Profesor Colgate”, “La Criada Malcriada” (The Nasty Maid), “Desafiando a los
Genios” (Challenging the Geniuses), and “El Show del Mediodia” (The Midday Show).
In 2003, his radio show, “Su Alegre Despertar” (Joyful Awakening), broke the world’s record for
the longest run non stop radio show in history, reaching its 53rd year to run non-stop and making
Agrelot the second person from Puerto Rico, after Wilfredo Benitez, to join the Guinness Book
of World Records. He died on January 28, 2004.
Albizu Campos, Pedro
(1891–1965), politician, was born on September 12, 1891 in Tenerias
Village, Ponce. The son of Alejandro Albizu and Juana Campos. He
was the nephew of Juan Morel Campos. Terrorist to his enemies and
critics, hero to the most fervent Puerto Rican nationalist. After service
in an African-American unit during World War I he developed a
lasting enmity for the United States and became the fiery champion of
Puerto Rican independence. Educated at Harvard (BS 1916, LL B
1923), he joined the Nationalist Party in 1924 and was the most
prominent “independentista” of his time. In 1930, he was elected
president of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico. Convicted of seeking
to overthrow the U.S. government, he was imprisoned (1937-43)
before returning to Puerto Rico in 1947. His party made a poor
showing in the 1948 election. He masterminded a nationalist attack to
the governor’s mansion in Puerto Rico and was accused of being
behind the October 31, 1950, assassination attempt on President
Truman at Blair House in Washington. After he was sentenced to
prison for 53 years, Governor Luis Muñoz Marín offered him a
conditional pardon in 1953, but withdrew it after the nationalist attack
on the U.S. House of Representatives the next year. Campos spent his
final years in prison. While in prison, he claimed that he was the
subject of human radiation experiments. He suffered a stroke in 1956
and was again pardoned in 1964. Died in Hato Rey, on April 21, 1965.
Alegría, Ricardo E.
(1921–), cultural antropologist and archeologist, was born on April 14, 1921 in San Juan. He
was the driving force behind the creation of the influential Institute of Puerto Rican Culture,
which he headed from its foundation in 1955 to 1972. In 1993 he was the first Latin-American
to win the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s Picasso Medal,
the same year that President Clinton awarded him the Charles Frankel Award of the Humanities.
(1903–1978), musician, notorious orchestra director, and composer, was born on October 16,
1903 in Aguadilla. He received his first musical instructions from Juan F. Acosta. In 1956, Alers
became the first Puerto Rican to compose the music score for a Hollywood movie, “Crowded
Paradise”. His best known work is “Violeta” . Other works include: “Recuerdos,” “Serenata
Galante,” “Estrella de Borinquen,” “Rosita,” and “Juanita”. He died on March 20, 1978 in San
Alonso y Pacheco, Manuel A.
(1822–1889), writer, poet and journalist, was born on October 22, 1822 in San Juan. He is
considered to be the first Puerto Rican writer of notable importance. He received his primary
education in Cayey and in the San Idelfonso Seminary in San Juan. In 1842, he moved
to Barcelona, Spain where he enrolled in the University of Bercelona to study medicine,
specializing in mental disorders. He finished his medical studies in 1845 and practiced medicine
in Barcelona. In 1844, he published the “Album Puertorriqueño” (Puerto Rican Album), which
was the second anthology of poems published in the island. In 1848, he returned to Puerto
Rico and setup his medical practice in Caguas. In 1849, he published “El Gíbaro” (now is
spelled “Jibaro”), a book that is part prose and part poetry and centered on the life as a poor
Puerto Rican country farmer and Puerto Rican traditions. Alonso died on November 4, 1889 in
Baldorioty de Castro, Román
(1823–1889), politician, was born on February 23, 1823 in Guaynabo.
He considered to be Puerto Rico’s foremost abolitionist and
spokeperson for the islands right to self-determination. Baldorioty
received his elementary schooling in San Juan. He went to Madrid
on a scholarship and completed studies in Physical and Mathematical
Sciences. He then went to France and studied in the Central School
of Arts and Manufactures in Paris. In 1853 he returned to Puerto Rico
and became a teacher in Botany and Maritime Sciences at the School
of Commerce, Agriculture, and Maritime Studies in San Juan. From
1860 to 1865 he also was a delegate to the Spanish parliament. He is
considered the father of Puerto Rican Autonomy from Spain, although
his achievement was superseded by the U.S. annexation. The statesman
fought to abolish slavery and establish a constitution guaranteeing
the rights of islanders. In 1870 he was elected to be a deputy to the
Spanish Cortes, supporting abolitionist and autonomist causes. He
founded and edited the magazine “Asuntos de Puerto Rico” and
contributed to “Correo de Española.” He returned to Puerto Rico in
1873 where he founded the newspaper “El Derecho” in Ponce. In 1878,
he started a political weekly again in Ponce, “La Crónica,” as a vehicle
for his autonomist ideology. In 1887, he founded the Autonomist
Party, whose platform advocated home government for Puerto Rico
and representation in the Spanish parliament. But that year also saw a
crackdown against political dissenters and Baldorioty was accused of
publishing seditious propaganda and jailed in El Morro Castle. Despite
his rapid release, his imprisonment affected his health and he died soon
after on September 20, 1889 in Ponce.
Barbosa, José Celso
(1857–1921), doctor and politician, was born on July 27, 1857 in
Bayamón. A gifted mulatto medical doctor, Barbosa is better known
as the father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement. He formed
the pro-statehood Republican Party (July 4, 1899) in the aftermath of
the Spanish-American War. He was the first black to attend Puerto
Rico’s prestigious Jesuit Seminary. In 1893, he founded the first Puerto
Rican “Cooperativa,” named “El Ahorro Colectivo.” In 1899, he
founded the Republican Party of Puerto Rico, advocating for statehood
for the island. In 1907, he established the newspaper “El Tiempo.”
He was a member of the Executive Cabinet from 1900 to 1917 and
held a seat in the Puerto Rican Senate from 1917 until his death on
December, 1921 in San Juan.
(1935–), sculptor, was born in Luquillo. Batista, a notorious sculptor has created several famous
Puerto Rican monuments such as: “El Jíbaro Puertorriqueño” Monument in Cayey, Luis A.
Ferré Highway, Eugenio María de Hostos in Mayagüez, Nemesio R. Canales in Jayuya, Chuíto
el de Cayey in Cayey, Rafael Hernández in Bayamón, among others. In 1991, Luquillo City Hall
assigned permanent exhibits for some of Batista works.
Benitez, Maria Bibiana (Maria Bibiana Benitez Constanza)
(1783–1873), poet, was born on December 10, 1783 in Aguadilla. She is known as the first
Puerto Rican woman poet. In 1832, Maria published her first poem, “La Ninfa de Puerto Rico”.
She also became the first Puerto Rican woman to write a dramatic play, “La Cruz del Morro”
(The Cross of El Morro), inspired in the defense of San Juan against the Dutch attack in 1625.
Among her best known poems are “Soneto” (1839), “Diálogo Alegórico” (1858) and “A La
Vejez.” She died on April 18, 1873 in San Juan.
Berrios Martínez, Rubén
(1930–), lawyer, politician and current president of the Puerto Rican
Independence Party (PIP), was born on June 21, 1939 in Aibonito. He
was the head of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (1970-93) and a
member of the Puerto Rican Senate (1972-1973). In 1971 he was jailed
for three months for a sit-in on the island of Culebra protesting the US
military presence there.
Betances, Ramón Emeterio
(1827–1898), politician, was born on April 8, 1827 in Cabo Rojo. He
received his primary and secondary education in private schools. His
mother died when he was young and his father sent him to France.
After receiving his medical degree from the University of Paris in
1855, Betances returned to Puerto Rico and founded a hospital and
worked to save Puerto Ricans from the ravages of a cholera epidemic.
He also founded a clandestine society dedicated to the liberation of the
slaves. The Spanish colonial government exiled him for these activities
several times. In 1867, he fled to the present-day Dominican Republic
where he founded the Revolutionary Committee of Puerto Rico.
The following year he organized an armed expedition that led to the
abortive insurrection of September 23, known as the Grito de Lares.
When the insurrection failed Betances went back to Paris where he
dedicated to work for the independence of Puerto Rico. His works “La
Viérge de Borinquen” (1859) and “Les Voyages de Scaldado” (1890),
written in French, and “La Botijuela” (1863), in Spanish, symbolically
portrayed the political aspirations of Puerto Rico during this period.
Although he spent his remaining years away from his homeland, he
viewed the abolition of slavery there on March 22, 1873 with great
satisfaction. For his contributions to literature, the French government
awarded him its Legion of Honor. Died on September 18, 1898 in
Nevilly, France and is remains returned to Puerto Rico in 1920 where
they were buried in his birthplace.
(1916–1994), was the tallest man in Puerto Rican history, with an unconfirmed height of 2.413
meters or seven feet eleven inches (7′ 11″), was born in Carolina on August 16, 1916. He was
known as “El Gigante de Carolina” (The Giant of Carolina). He died from a heart attack on
March 15, 1994, at the age of 77, in Carolina.
(1900–1975), was a writer, historian and essayists, was born on December 9, 1900 in San
Juan. Blanco received his primary and secondary education in Catholic schools. He moved
to the United States where he enrolled in the Georgetown University to study medicine. He
traveled throught Europe and in Spain he started writing literary and music criticism. After his
return to the island, he wrote about Puerto Rican subjects. Blanco is best known for writing
what is considered to be one of the best histories of the island, “Prontuario Historico de Puerto
Rico” (1935). Among other Blanco’s recognized works are “El Prejuicio Racial en Puerto
Rico” (Racial Prejudice in Puerto Rico), “Los Aguinaldos del Infante” (Christmas Stories for
Children), “Cuentos sin Ton ni Son” and “Los Vates.” He died on April 12, 1975 in San Juan.
(1825–1903), patriot and leader of the Puerto Rico independence movement in the 1860’s,
was born in Añasco. She is believed to have crafted the first Puerto Rican flag. The flag was
considered a symbol of revolution and a call to overthrow the Spanish government on the island
and establish a sovereign republic.
On September 23, 1868, the flag was flown on the Lares church during a revolt, later known as
the Grito de Lares. The flag was designed by Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances. Many years later,
in 1952, the flag’s design was adopted as the official flag of Lares. The flag was divided in the
middle by a white cross. The two lower corners were red and the two upper corners were blue.
There was a white star in the upper left blue corner. Mariana Bracetti died in Añasco in 1903
and was buried in the Plaza of Añasco. There is a monument honoring her on the spot where
she is buried.
(1842–1912), historian, journalist, sociologist, novelist, and essayists,
was born on January 11, 1842 in Cabo Rojo. He wrote an earlier
history of the island, “Historia de Puerto Rico” (1904). He was named
the Official Historian for Puerto Rico from 1903 until his dead. His
books are considered an important contribution to the study of Puerto
Rican history, including “Puerto Rico and its History” (1894), “The
Colonization of Puerto Rico,” and “The Foundation of Ponce.”
Other works include: “Writings on the Puerto Rican Flora”, “Report
on the Sugar Cane Disease,” “Puerto Rican Flora,” “The Puerto
Rican Indians,” “Fertility of Puerto Rican Women,” “Demographic
Study,” “The Foundation of Aguadilla,” and “The Foundation of
Bayamon”.” He died on November 5, 1912 in San Juan.
Burgos, Julia de (Julia Constancia Burgos García)
(1914–1953), teacher, journalist and poet, was born on February 17,
1914 in Carolina. One of Puerto Rico’s leading 20th-century poets,
influenced by Luis Llorens Torres, Clair Lair, Rafael Alberti and
Pablo Neruda, she was a prominent member of the literary Vanguard
movement in San Juan in the late 1930s. She was also an advocate for
the independance of Puerto Rico. She graduated from the University
of Puerto Rico with a teaching degree. Her literary work placed her
among the greatest poets of Hispanic-America. Her best-known
poem is ” El Río Grande de Loiza” . Other well-known poems
are “Canción Desnuda,” “Te Quiero,” “A Julia de Burgos,” “Yo
Misma fui mi Ruta,” and “Tres Caminos.” She published several books
among which are; “Poemas exactos de mi misma,” “Poemas en Veinte
Zurcos,” and “Cancién de la verdad sencilla.” Burgos died on July 6,
1953 in New York City, at age 39.
Campeche y Jordan, José
(1752–1809), painter, was born on January 6, 1752 in San Juan. Son
of a freed slave and a Canary Islander. This “Sanjuanero” became
one of Puerto Rico’s most eminent painters. Trained by Luis Paret, a
court painter banished from Spain, Campeche produced approximately
400 paintings, thereby earning a reputation as “the most gifted of
Latin American Rococo artist.” Devoutly religious, he often painted
for churches but was also a noted portrait painter of subjects ranging
from leading politicians to the local landed gentry. Some of his most
famous paintings are: the portraits of Ramón de Castro and Miguel
A. de Ustáriz, The Virgin of Belen, The Virgin of the Rosary, Saint
John the Baptist, The Sacred Family, The Bishop of San Francisco
de la Cuerda, and The Vision of Saint Anthony. Campeche died on
November 7, 1809 in San Juan.
(1878–1923), essayist, poet, journalists, novelist, playwright and politician, was born on
December 18, 1878 in Jayuya. He was a member of the Puerto Rican House of Representatives
and he wrote a column called “Paliques” for the newspaper of which this article formed part. He
published a selection of these articles in a book by the same name. He died on September 14,
1923 in New York.
(1879–1922), labor organizer in Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and the U.S., was
born on October 28, 1879 in Arecibo. A free thinker, a feminist, an anarchist and a workers’
and women’s rights activist, in the early 1900’s. She believed that good wages were a worker’s
right and insisted that women should have the same right to vote as men. Although she is best
known today for being the first woman to wear pants in public. In 1919, she challenged the
mainstream society by wearing pants in public and sent to jail for what was then considered to
be a “crime”, but, the judge later dropped the charges against her. On April 10, 1922, Capetillo
died of tuberculosis in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, at the age of 42.
Carreño, Victor A.
(1956–), a NASA Aerospace Engineer and Aerospace Technologist, was born in Guaynabo
in 1956. He holds the patent for the Single Frequency Multi-transmitter Telemetry System. Dr.
Victor A. Carreño received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the
University of Puerto Rico in 1979. Upon graduation, he applied to and was hired by the NASA
Langley Research Center.
Carreño is credited with inventing and developing the Single Frequency Multi-transmitter
Telemetry System in 1983.
In 1985, Victor obtained his Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from Old Dominion
University. In 1997, he received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge
in England. His primary research is the verification of safety critical systems.
(1934–1972), baseball player, was born on August 18, 1934 in
Carolina. He was a baseball player with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1955-
1972), he compiled a lifetime batting average of .317, hit 240 home
runs and was considered baseball’s premier defensive outfielder.
Clemente won four National League batting titles (1961, 1964, 1965,
1966). He was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1966 and was
selected to the All-Star team 12 times. He also won 12 Gold Glove
awards as the NL’s premier right fielder, and he was frequently cited
by experts as having the best outfielder’s throwing arm they had ever
seen. After he obtained his 3,000th hit in the last game of the 1972
season. On December 31, 1972, Clemente’s life was tragically cut
short when an airplane loaded with supplies for earthquake victims
in Managua, Nicaragua, crashed off the Puerto Rican coast. He was
elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973.
Coll y Toste, Cayetano
(1850–1930), historian and writer, was born on November, 30 1850 in Arecibo. Among
his many written works are: “El Boletin Historico de Puerto Rico” (Historical Boletin of
Puerto Rico), “Cronicas de Arecibo” (Cronicals of Arecibo) and “Legendas y Tradiciones
Puertorriqueñas” (Puerto Rican Legends and Traditions). In 1913, Toste was named Official
Historian of Puerto Rico. His research into the history of Puerto Rico gave people an insight
into the island from the times of the Tainos up until 1927. One of his works “The Indo-Antillano
Vocabulary” is valuable in understanding the way of live of the Tainos. His works are required
reading in Puerto Rican high schools and Universities. He died on November 19, 1930 in
(1901–1974), writer, was born in Cayey. Jesus Colon is credited as being the intellectual
founding father of the “Nuyorican” movement, a group of New York Puerto Rican writers who
flowered in the 1960s and ’70s, including playwright Miguel Piñero and poets Miguel Algarin
and Tato Laviera. He died in 1974 in New York.
Cordero, Angel Tomás, Jr.
(1942–), jockey, was born on November 8, 1942 in Santurce. Cordero is considered one of the
most successful jockeys, he won 7,057 races over 22 years before he retired in 1992. Cordero
also won six Triple Crown races, including three Kentucky Derbies.
(1790–1868), educator, was born on October 24, 1790 in San Juan.
His great interest and love for reading prepared and helped him to
develop the skills and the capabilities to perform as a primary teacher.
Since the beginning of XIX century he dedicated himself to the
children teaching in his own house, without payment. For 58 years
he maintained this educational center, at Luna Street in San Juan. He
taught them to read, calligraphy, arithmetic and christian (catholic)
instruction. Among the students were: Román Baldorioty de Castro,
Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, José Julian Acosta, Francisco del Valle
Atiles and others. He died on July 5, 1868 in San Juan.
Corretjer, Juan Antonio
(1908–1985), poet, journalist and politician, was born on March 3,
1908 in Ciales. Corretjer is considered as one of Puerto Rico’s greatest
poets of the ’30s. He received his primary education in Ciales. From
early age Corretjer showed interest about the island’s political
situation. He joined the “Literary Society of José Gautier Benitez,”
which later renamed to “Nationalist Youth”, while he was still in
elementary school. When he was in the 8th grade, he organized his
first student protest against the American authority in Ciales. As a
result, he was expelled from school and he was forced to go to school
in Vega Baja.
In 1920, when he was only 12 years old, Corretjer wrote his first
poem “Canto a Ciales” (My song to Ciales). In 1924, he published his
first booklet of poems. In 1927, he worked as a journalist for several
newspapers and publications in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the U.S. He
travelled to New York, Cuba, Haiti and Dominican Republic to
endorse other political groups opposed to U.S. dominion and look for
support for Puerto Rico’s independance movement. In 1929, he returns
to Puerto Rico and soon after, in 1930 he met Pedro Albizu Campos
and joins him to work with the Nationalist Party. He was named the
Administrative Secretary of the Nationalist Party. Since then, he
became a faithfull figther for nationalism. Corretjer was jailed several
times because of his political views and activities.
During his reclusion he authored several publications: “Amor de
Puerto Rico” and “Cántico de Guerra” (Song of War), both published
During his long carrier he published several books of
poems: “Agüeybana” (1932), “Versos al Mar de un Hombre de Tierra
Adentro” (1933), “El Leñero” (Timberman; 1944), “Imagen de
Borinquen: Los Primeros Años” (1950), “Tierra Nativa” (Native Land;
1951), “Alabanza en la Torre de Ciales” (1953), “Yerba Bruja”
(Bewitched Grass; 1957) and many more.
In 1978, the Institute of Culture published “Obras Completas”,
Volume I. He died on January 19, 1985 in San Juan. </br.
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.
(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 Univeristy of Madrid. He founded the newspaper La Isla de
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 Committte 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.
(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
Díaz Alfaro, Abelardo
(1919–1999), writer, was born on July 24, 1919 in Caguas. He obtained a degree in Arts from
the Technical Institude 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
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.
(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.
(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?,”
(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
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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
Laguerre Velez, Enrique A.
(1905–2005), writer, poet, teacher and critic, was born on July 15,
1905 in Moca. He is the best-known novelist of the 20th century. He
graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a degree in Arts
(BA in 1938 and MA in 1941) and a doctoral degree in Arts from
the University of Columbia (1949) in New York. His first and best
known novel, “La Llamarada” (1935) is considered the most important
novel of the Generation of the ’30s, it describes the political, economic
and social conditions that prevailded in the island. Laguerre was also
known as an advocate for environmental conservation. Laguerre is
considered the most important Puerto Rican novelist, among his many
novels are: “Solar Montoya” (1941), “La Resaca” (1949), “Los Amos
Benévolos” (1976) (The Benevolent Masters), and “Los Gemelos”
(1992). He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.
He died on June 16, 2005.
Llorens Torres, Luis
(1876–1944), poet, journalist, playwright, and politician, was born on May 14, 1876 in Juana
Díaz. He is the best known of Puerto Rican poets for his beautiaful and romantic work. He was
a lawyer by profession, having studied in Spain. His work is known for its “criollismo”, a kind
of nationalism, and usually writing about the idiosincracy of the island. His books include Al
Pie de la Alhambre, Sonetos Sinfónicos, Voces de la Campana Mayor, and Alturas de America.
His “decimas” are works not only of art but of love. Among his most famous poems are Valle de
Collores and Canción de las Antillas. He died on June 16, 1944 in Santurce.
Lopez Irizarry, Ramón
(1910–), the inventor of the original “Coco Lopez”, was born in 1910 in San Juan. He was an
agricultural professor for the University of Puerto Rico. In the early 1950s, with some grant
funds from the government (awarded to University of Puerto Rico), he worked on his idea, He
developed a way to extract the cream from the pulp of coconut, which at the time was a difficult
task. He did this by blending the cream of coconuts with the exact proportion of natural cane
sugar, creating the original “Coco Lopez”.
Coco Lopez soon became the basis for the famous “Piña Colada” drink, which made its first
appearance in 1954.
Lopez Irizarry became a millionaire and his product “Coco Lopez” has expanded its distribution
into 50 countries including Europe, Japan, Central America and the United States. Coco Lopez
can be found at corners stores and supermarkets around the world.
Manrique Cabrera, Francisco
(1908-1978), poet, was born on December 25, 1908 in Bayamón. Poet and essayist. He
published “Poemas de mi Tierra” and was the first author of “Historia de la literatura
puertorriqueña”. He died on June 15, 1978.
(1919-1979), writer and playwright, was born on October 4, 1919 in Arecibo. Marqués was a
distinguished playwright, short story writer, novelist, and essayist. His best-known play, “La
Carreta”, opened in 1951 and helped secure his reputation as the leading literary figure in
Puerto Rico during 1950s. In 1959 he published three plays together in the collection Teatro.
These were “La muerte no entrará en palacio”, “Un niño azul para esa sombra”, and “Los soles
truncos”. He died on March 22, 1979 in San Juan.
(1895–1983), poet, writer, professor and a prestigious critic of Puerto Rican and
Hispanic American literature, was born on January 21, 1895 in Caguas. She was an
elementary and secondary school teacher. Her essays, a product of serious investigations,
have been published in the most important publications on Hispanic literature. Her
writings have been compiled in fifteen volumes by the Editorial Cultural. Some of these
include: “Asomante”, “Amado Nervo” and “La inquietud sosegada”. She died on June 26,
1983 in San Juan.
(unknown), actress and singer. She was the most famous Miss Chiquita
Banana. In 1945 and 1946, she made numerous personal appearances
in the movies, in radio and commercials.
Morel Campos, Juan
(1857–1896), musician and composer, was born on May 16, 1857 in
Ponce. He was the most important figure in Puerto Rican music of
the 19th century. His first teacher was none other than the illustrious
pianist-composer Manuel G. Tavarez (a Parisian trained composer
and former pupil of M. Alphonse Laurent and M. Daniel Auber), who
also wrote some of the most beloved Danza repertory for the piano.
He composed countless danzas, the dance (along with the bomba and
plena) most closely associated with Puerto Rico. “Felices Días”, “Vano
Empeño”, “Mis penas”, “Tormento”, “Alma Sublime”, “La Lira
Ponceña”, “Alma Sublime” and many others are among his most
famous compositions. It’s calculated that Morel created more than 550
compositions of which more than 300 are danzas. He died on May 12,
1896 in Ponce.
(1931–), actress, was born on December 11, 1931 in Humacao. This Puerto Rican actress has
secured a distinct place in movies, notably because of her role in Robert Wise’s 1961 film West
Side Story about Puerto Ricans in New York, which brought her fame and an Oscar as best
supporting actress. She also appeared in such hits as Singin’ in the Rain (1956), and Tennessee
William’s Summer and Smoke (1961), starring Geraldine Page. Her work in television included
appearances on The Muppet Show and The Rockford Files. Rita became the first woman ever to
win all four biggest awards in show business: Oscar (movies), Tony (Broadway Theater), Emmy
(TV), and Grammy (recording).
(1910–1992), politician, was born on November 26, 1910 in Barcelona, Spain. He was an
early ally of Luis Muñoz Marín and assisted in the foundation of the Popular Democratic Party
(1938). He was best known for his work for economic reform in Puerto Rico, particularly the
Fomento Económico (Operation Bootstrap), which he headed from 1942-1960 and 1973-1976.
He died on June 15, 1992.
Muñoz Marín, Luis
(1898–1980), poet, journalist and politician, was born on February 18,
1898 in San Juan. Educated at Georgetown University in Washington,
D.C., United States, Muñoz Marín was once known as the New Deal’s
Golden Boy. Founder of Popular Democratic Party (1938). Although
he had started out as a supporter of Puerto Rican independence,
he later opted for the commonwealth status as economically more
viable. Muñoz Marín worked closely with the U.S.-appointed
governor, Rexford G. Tugwell, to improve housing, farming, and
industrial conditions. He campaigned for land redistribution from
large landowners to small farmers and claimed islanders were not
yet ready for economic independence. The slogan “Bread, land, and
liberty” won a large following among the poor. He began “Operation
Bootstrap,” to attract mainland business investment through the
Puerto Rican Industrial Development Corporation. As Puerto Rico’s
first elected governor (1949-65), he helped draft its constitution and
in 1952 presided over its attaining the status of a self-governing
Commonwealth. He was reelected as governor three times; Muñoz
Marin served in this post from 1949 to 1965. In 1960 his election
was opposed by the Roman Catholic Church in Puerto Rico, which
denounced him for advocating the teaching of birth control; he was
easily reelected despite the opposition. In December 1963 he received
the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. He did not run for reelection
in 1964, but served once again in the Senate of Puerto Rico. He died on
April 30, 1980 in San Juan.
Muñoz Rivera, Luis
(1859–1916), poet, journalist and politician, was born on July 17,
1859 in Barranquitas. Father of Luis Muñoz Marín. He founded
the newspaper La Democracia, which crusaded for Puerto Rican
freedom from Spanish domination, later edited by his son Luis Muñoz
Marín. Muñoz Rivera was president of Puerto Rico’s Liberal Party
and a leading spokesman for autonomy. A leader in the campaign for
independence from Spain, he obtained (1897) a charter, which was
never put into effect, that granted some autonomy to Puerto Ricans.
He founded the Federal Party in Puerto Rico in 1899. Heading the first
Puerto Rican cabinet under U.S. occupation, Muñoz Rivera opposed
military governorship and pleaded for greater self-government. Faced
with bitter opposition in Puerto Rico, he moved to New York City
and published the Puerto Rico Herald, which expounded the island’s
problems. As resident commissioner of Puerto Rico in Washington,
D.C. (1910-16), he obtained U.S. citizenship for Puerto Ricans. He
died just before passage of the Jones Bill, for which he had fought.
He is the best of the Puerto Rican lyricist and political poets. His
most important work was his book of poems Tropicales. He died on
November 15, 1916 in San Juan.
(1833–1917), painter, was born on June 17, 1833 in Bayamón. Greatly
influenced by the European art world, Oller studied in Spain and Paris,
although it meant abandoning his wife and children for 11 years.
Following such painters as Picasso and Cézanne, Oller became the first
Latin American impressionist, adapting their obsession with light and
color to tropical skies. He was also a realistic painter of landscapes and
still lifes in Puerto Rico, brilliant capturing the local flora. His bestknown work “El Velorio” (The Wake) (1893), which was shown at the
Paris Salon in 1895. He died on May 17, 1917 in San Juan.
Palés Matos, Luis
(1898–1959), poet, was born on March 20, 1898 in Guayama. He was one of the creators of
Afro-Antillian poetry, which introduced African rhythms and words into the Puerto Rican poetic
idiom. Works such as “Tuntún de Pasa y Grifería” and “Ultimos Poemas” led many to think him
Puerto Rico’s most important 20th-century poet. His black or negroid poetry is so well known
that people forget the exquisite works he produced in other genre. Among his best known
poems are “Esa Mujer,” “Danza Negra,” “Majestad Negra,” “Mujer Encinta,” and “Pero Ahora,
Mujer.” He supported himself by working as a civil servant. He died on Febraury 23, 1959 in
Pedreira, José Enrique
(1904–1959), musician and composer, was born on February 1, 1904 in San Juan. His major
works includes: “Valses de Concierto”, ballet “Jardín de Piedra”, “Elegía India, Poema y
Souvenir”, among others.
Power y Giralt, Ramón
(1775–1813), Admiral Spanish Navy, was born on October 21,
1775 in San Juan. In 1810, Ramón was elected and sent to Spain
as delegate, becoming the first Puerto Rican delegate sent to the
Spanish Cortes (parliament). He died on June 10, 1813 in Cádiz,
Puente, Tito (Ernest Anthony Puente Jr.)
(1923-2000), musician, was born on April 20 in New York City, of Puerto Rican parents. He
formed what became the Tito Puente Orchestra and became a leader of the mambo and cha-chacha fads in the 1950s and for the next five decades helped define Latin jazz in the United States.
He recorded more than 100 albums and won five Grammys in his more than 60 years in the
music business. Some fusing Latin with other musical styles and traditions. He died on May 31,
2000 in New York.
Quintón, José Ignacio
(1881–1925), musician, pianist and composer, was born Febraury 1, 1881 in Caguas. His major
works includes: “Confía,” “Mi Estrella,” “Amor Imposible,” “El Coqui,” among others. He died
on December 19, 1925 in Coamo.
Rincón de Gautier, Felisa
(1897–1994), the first woman in history to be elected mayor of a capital city in all the
Americas, was born on January 9, 1897 in Ceiba. She assisted Luis Muñoz Marín in forming the
Popular Democratic Party in the 1930s, but was best known for being the first woman mayor
of San Juan (1946-1969). Her weekly open-houses at her official residence and such gestures
as flying snow to San Juan for children’s Christmas parties made her enormously popular. In
1953 the League of American Women gave her its Woman of the Year Award. She died on
September 16, 1994 in San Juan.
Rivera, Chita (Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero)
(1933–), actress and winner of 2 Tony awards, was born on January 23, 1933 in Washington,
D.C. of Puerto Rican descent (father). This Puerto Rican/American actress made her Broadway
debut in Call Me Madam (1952) and won the Tony Award as best actress for her Broadway
role in Kiss of the Spider Woman. “The ageless hoofer” once danced for choreographer George
Balanchine with blood-soaked ballet shoes.
Rodríguez, Juan “Chi-chi”
(1937–), golfer, was born on October 23, 1937 in Río Piedras. Rodríguez began as a caddy at
age 6, and practiced on tin cans with a homemade golf club fashioned from a branch of a guava
tree. It has been said that Puerto Rican golf was born with “Chichi,” who came to prominence in
the 1960s, when he was one of the top ten in the Professional Golf Circuit. In 1967 he published
Chichi’s Secrets of Power Golf.
(1953–), inventor, was born in 1953 in Bayamón. Rodriguez is currently the Director of the
Test Laboratory in the Engineering Directorate at Marshall Center (NASA) and inventor of a
portable, battery-operated lift seat for people suffering from knee arthritis.
He earned a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering in 1976, from the University of Puerto
Rico in Mayagüez. Soon after, he was hired by NASA as an engineer.
Rodriguez obtained his Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1986, from the University
of Alabama. In 1997, he received his doctorate in Civil Engineering, from the University of
Rodriguez was the leader of the Solid Rocket Booster accident investigation team following
the Space Shuttle Columbia accident in February 2003 and was also the project manager for the
Space Launch Initiative program.
Rodríguez de Tío, Lola
(1843–1924), poet, was born on September 14, 1843 in San Germán.
This was the first Puerto Rican -born poet to establish a reputation
throughout the West Indies. In 1868, inspired by the call for Puerto
Rican independence known as the “Grito de Lares,” she wrote patriotic
lyrics to the existing tune of “La Borinqueña.” In 1876 she and her
family moved to Mayagüez where she published her first book of
poetry, “Mis cantares”, which sold 2,500 copies. She is best known for
her patriotic poetry about Puerto Rico, as well as Cuba where she lived
for many years. She was elected a member of the Cuban Academy
of Arts and Letters. Rodríguez de Tio’s most famous poem, “Cuba
y Puerto Rico Son” (Cuba and Puerto Rico Are), was first published
in the collection “Mi Libro de Cuba” (My Book of Cuba) in 1893.
She died on November 10, 1924 in La Habana, Cuba. Since her death
she has been recognized for her suggestion that Puerto Ricans use
the Cuban flag with its colors reversed as the model for their own
(1901–1974), poet and educator, was born in Juana Díaz. He graduated from the University
of Puerto Rico with Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Education (1927) and a Master’s degree
in Letters. In 1944, he received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and Letters from the
Autonomous University of Mexico. Among his most known works are “Tres Baladas en Luna
de Vísperas” (1954), “Siete Caminos en Luna de Sueños” (1957) and “Los Nísperos del Alba
Maduraron” (1959). He died on October 3, 1974 in San Juan.
Sánchez, Luis Rafael
(1936), essayist, playwright, and novelist, was born in Humacao. He was the Puerto Rican writer
with the greatest International reputation in the second half of the 20th century. Considered to be
the greatest Puerto Rican playwright of modern times.
(1842–1917), doctor and scientist, was born on January 21, 1842 in Aguadilla. He studied
with great enthusiasm Puerto Rico’s flora and fauna. He shared information with the
Natural History Museum of Germany, and with other important scientific centers. Some
of his literature are: “Los Indios Borinqueños”, (Prehistoria); “Estudios sobre la Flora de
P.R.”; “Las Talamifloras”; “Las Leguminosas”; “Las Calcifloras”; “Las Rubiasas”; “Las
Gamopetalos”; “Fundación de Bayamón”; “Fundación de Aguadilla”; “Estudios sobre las
enfermedades de la caña”; “Estudios sobre la enfermedad de Federico III de Alemania”;
and “La fecundidad de la mujer en Puerto Rico”. He died on July 12, 1917 in Bayamón.
Tapía y Rivera, Alejandro
(1826–1882), poet, playwright and journalist, was born on November 12, 1826 in San Juan.
Today, Tapía is considered the father of Puerto Rican literature. His memories, “Mis memorias,”
first published in 1927, many years after his death. He died on July 19, 1882 in San Juan.
Tavarez, Manuel Gregorio
(1843–1883), composer, was born on November 28, 1843 in San Juan. Tavarez is one of
the best known danza composers and considered the “Father of the Puerto Rican Danzas.”
He died on July 1, 1883 at age 39 in Ponce.
(1931–), jurist and novelist, was born to Puerto Rican immigrants in a New York tenement.
After attending Brooklyn College he was eventually appointed to the New York Supreme
Court, where he made many tough decisions. His most celebrated case was in 1991 – -the
Brian Watkins case- in which a young tourist from Utah was murdered on a New York subway
platform. He also wrote such novels as “Carlito’s Way, Q & A,” and “After Hours.”
Zeno Gandía, Manuel
(1885–1930), writer, was born on January 10, 1885 in Arecibo. One of Puerto Rico’s
outstanding novelists, Zeno Gandía is known today primarily for the novel “La Charcha” (The
Pond), first published in 1894. His major works were published in a collection called “Crónicas
de un mundo enfermo” (Chronicles of a Sick World). He died in 1930 in Arecibo.