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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.
Hostos (birth name: 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. His parents were Don Eugenio María de Hostos y Rodríguez (1807–1897) and Doña María Hilaria de Bonilla y Cintrón (died 1862, Madrid, Spain).
The Hostos family surname (originally Ostos) came from the Castile region of Spain when Don Eugenio de Ostos y Del Valle, born Ecija, Seville, Spain, moved to Camagüey, Cuba, and married, in 1736, Doña María Josefa del Castillo y Aranda. Their son Don Juan José de Ostos y del Castillo, who was born in Camagüey, Cuba, would eventually pass through the Dominican Republic, where he married Doña María Altagracia Rodríguez Velasco, eventually settling in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, where his son Don Eugenio María de Hostos y Rodríguez was born.
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 then sent him to Bilbao, Spain where he graduated from the Institute of Secondary Education (high school). After he graduated, he enrolled and attended the Complutense University of Madrid. He studied law, philosophy and letters. As a student there, he became interested in politics. In 1863, he also wrote 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 and went to the United States.
Hostos arrived in the city of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic where he settled with his wife, Belinda Otilia de Ayala Quintana (1862–1917), a Cuban native, whom he married in 1877 in Caracas, Venezuela. The couple had five children: Carlos Eugenio (born 1879, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), Luisa Amelia (1881), Bayoán Lautaro (1885), Filipo Luis Duarte de Hostos (born 1890, Chile), and María Angelina (born 1892, Chile).
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.
While in Peru, Hostos helped to develop the country's educational system and spoke against the harsh treatment given to the Chinese who lived there. He stayed in Chile from 1870 to 1873. 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 the Dominican Republic where he founded in Santo Domingo the first 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 1876, Hostos traveled to Venezuela and married Belinda Otilia de Ayala. 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 when the first Normal School was finally 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 1899 and 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 1900, Hostos returned to the Dominican Republic where he 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, rights 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, Dominican Republic, 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:
|Ancestors of Eugenio María de Hostos|