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Eugenio María de Hostos
Portrait by Francisco Oller
|Born||Eugenio María de Hostos y de Bonilla|
January 11, 1839
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
|Died||August 11, 1903 (aged 64)|
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
|Resting place||National Pantheon of the Dominican Republic|
|Occupation||Educator, philosopher, intellectual, lawyer, sociologist, Puerto Rican independence activist|
|Literary movement||Puerto Rican independence|
|Notable works||La Peregrinación de Bayoán|
|Spouse||Belinda Otilia de Ayala y Quintana|
|Children||Eugenio Carlos, Luisa Amelia, Bayoán Lautaro, Filipo Luis Duarte, María Angelina.|
Eugenio María de Hostos (January 11, 1839 – August 11, 1903), known as "El Gran Ciudadano de las Américas" ("The Great Citizen of the Americas"), was a Puerto Rican educator, philosopher, intellectual, lawyer, sociologist, novelist, and Puerto Rican independence advocate.
Eugenio María de Hostos y de Bonilla[note 1] was born into a well-to-do family in Barrio Río Cañas of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, on January 11, 1839. His parents were Eugenio María de Hostos y Rodríguez (1807–1897) and María Hilaria de Bonilla y Cintrón (died 1862, Madrid, Spain), both of Spanish ascent.
At a young age, his family sent him to study in the capital of the island, San Juan, where he received his elementary education in the Liceo de San Juan. In 1852, his family sent him to Bilbao, Spain, where he graduated from the Institute of Secondary Education (high school). After he graduated, he enrolled at the Complutense University of Madrid in 1857. He studied law, philosophy and letters. As a student there, he became interested in politics. In 1863, he published in Madrid what is considered his greatest work, La Peregrinación de Bayoán. When Spain adopted its new constitution in 1869 and refused to grant Puerto Rico its independence, Hostos left Spain for the United States.
During his one-year stay in the United States, he joined the Cuban Revolutionary Committee and became the editor of a journal called La Revolución. Hostos believed in the creation of an Antillean Confederation (Confederación Antillana) between Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. This idea was embraced by fellow Puerto Ricans Ramón Emeterio Betances and Segundo Ruiz Belvis. One of the things which disappointed Hostos was that in Puerto Rico and in Cuba there were many people who wanted their independence from Spain, but did not embrace the idea of becoming revolutionaries, preferring to be annexed by the United States.
Hostos wanted to promote the independence of Puerto Rico and Cuba and the idea of an Antillean Confederation, and he therefore traveled to many countries. Among the countries he went promoting his idea were the United States, France, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Danish colony of St. Thomas, which is now part of the United States Virgin Islands.
He spent one year in Lima, Peru, from November 1870 to December 1871, during which he helped develop the country's educational system and spoke against the harsh treatment given to the Chinese who lived there. He then moved to Chile for two years. During his stay there, he taught at the University of Chile and gave a speech titled "The Scientific Education of Women". He proposed in his speech that governments permit women in their colleges. Soon after, Chile allowed women to enter its college educational system. On September 29, 1873, he went to Argentina, where he proposed a railroad system between Argentina and Chile. His proposal was accepted and the first locomotive was named after him.
In 1875, Hostos went to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, briefly visiting Santo Domingo. He conceived the idea of a Normal School (Teachers College) and introduced advanced teaching methods, although these had been openly opposed by the local Catholic Church as Hostos opposed any sort of religious instruction in the educational process. Nonetheless, his response to this criticism was calm and constructive, as many of his writings reveal. In April 1876, Hostos returned to New York and in November he traveled to Caracas, Venezuela, where he married Belinda Otilia de Ayala Quintana (1862–1917), from Cuba, on July 9, 1877. The couple had five children: Carlos Eugenio (b. 1879), Luisa Amelia (b. 1881), Bayoán Lautaro (b. 1885), Filipo Luis Duarte de Hostos (b. 1890) and María Angelina (b. 1892). Their wedding was officiated by the Archbishop of Caracas, José Antonio Ponte, and their maid of honor was the Puerto Rican poet, abolitionist, women's rights activist and Puerto Rican independence advocate Lola Rodríguez de Tió. He returned to the Dominican Republic in 1879 and in February 1880 the first Normal School was inaugurated. He was named director and he helped establish a second Normal School in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros.
Hostos returned to the United States in 1898 before relocating with his family to Santo Domingo in January 1900. In his last years, Hostos actively participated in the Puerto Rican and Cuban independence movements; his hopes for Puerto Rico's independence after the Spanish–American War turned into disappointment when the United States government rejected his proposals and instead converted the island into a United States colony.
In the Dominican Republic, Hostos continued to play a major role in reorganizing the educational and railroad systems. He wrote many essays on social science topics, such as psychology, logic, literature and law, and is considered one of the first systematic sociologists in Latin America. He was also known to be a supporter of women's rights.
On August 11, 1903, Hostos died in Santo Domingo, aged 64. He is buried in the National Pantheon located in the colonial district of that city. Per his final wishes, his remains are to stay permanently in the Dominican Republic until the day Puerto Rico is completely independent. Then and only then, does he want to be reinterred in his homeland. Hostos wrote his own epitaph:
In Puerto Rico there are two monuments dedicated to Hostos:
The Municipality of Mayagüez has inaugurated a cultural center and museum near his birthplace in Río Cañas Arriba ward. The city of Mayagüez also has named in his honor:
Among his written works are the following:
The Ostos family name originated in Écija, Seville, as early as 1437. Eugenio de Ostos y del Valle was born in Écija around the year 1700 and later moved to Camagüey, Cuba, where he married María Josefa del Castillo y Aranda in 1735. Their son Juan José de Ostos y del Castillo was born in Camagüey in 1750 and moved to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Sometime after France seized control of the entire island of Hispaniola in 1795, Juan José changed the spelling of his surname to Hostos. This spelling was inherited by all his descendants. After the Haitian invasion of Santo Domingo in December 1800, Juan José relocated to Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, where he married María Altagracia Rodríguez Velasco (born in 1785 in Santo Domingo) in 1806. This was his second marriage, following the death of his first wife, María Blanco. Before his death in 1816, Juan José had four children with María, the second of which was Eugenio de Hostos y Rodríguez, born in 1807, who later became Secretary to Isabella II of Spain. Eugenio married María Hilaria de Bonilla y Cintrón in Mayagüez in 1831. Their sixth child (out of seven) was named after both parents: Eugenio María de Hostos y de Bonilla.
|Ancestors of Eugenio María de Hostos|