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Bust length portrait of a bearded man in a black suit.

Eugenio María de Hostos (1839–1903)

Eugenio María de Hostos, a native of Puerto Rico, studied law and sociology in Spain but grew frustrated by the Spanish government’s failure to reform its colonial policies. In 1869, he moved to New York and joined Antillean independence circles. He also traveled through South America, spreading his anti- colonial ideas. In Santo Domingo, Hostos collaborated with the exiled Ramón Emeterio Betances on developing the Confederación Antillana, a federation that sought to advance Puerto Rican and Cuban independence and protect the two islands, along with the Dominican Republic and Haiti, from foreign intervention. 

As the War of 1898 broke out, Hostos founded the Liga de Patriotas Puertorriqueños (League of Puerto Rican Patriots) and met with President McKinley to demand Puerto Rican participation in political decisions. In an 1899 interview with the Washington Post, Hostos declared, “I hope history will not say that Porto Rico was treated like a dog by America. Such treatment would be contrary to your history and your institutions.”

Francisco Oller y Cestero (1833–1917)
Oil on wood
57.8 × 39.1 cm (22 3/4 × 15 3/8 in.)
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico