Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Román Baldorioty de Castro

Román Baldorioty de Castro was born on February 23, 1822, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. He was a lawyer, abolitionist and Member of the Spanish Cortes. Coming from a family of limited resources did not stop him from completing his elementary education and continuing his studies at the University of Madrid.

His career began as a teacher in Botany and Maritime Sciences and then in Physics and Chemistry. At the same time his political career began to form, he was unanimously named the Secretary of the Studies Commission by the island's Economic Society. He also represented Puerto Rico as a delegate in the Spanish Parliament.

In 1870, he was elected to be a deputy to the Spanish Cortes, where he supported the abolition of slavery and autonomist causes for Puerto Rico. There he was involved in presenting a proposal for the abolition of slavery, a proposal the Spanish Government would approve in 1873.

In 1873, Baldorioty de Castro would return to Puerto Rico and continue to express his ideas on autonomy for the island co-founding the Autonomist Party of Puerto Rico. He also founded a magazine and newspapers (Asuntos de Puerto Rico, El Derecho, La Crónica) and contributed regularly to each one. Unfortunately, the Spanish Government would consider him a threat, accuse him of publishing seditious propaganda and jail him in El Morro. His brief imprisonment caused his health to suffer and he died soon thereafter in Ponce on September 30, 1889 .

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