1898 HOME > Literature of the Spanish-American War > José de Diego
José de Diego
BiographyBorn in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, José de Diego received his primary schooling in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and completed the Colegio Politécnico de Logroño in Spain. By 1885 he was already a contributor to El Progreso in Madrid; his attacks on the political situation in his homeland led to his arrest in various cities. He returned to Puerto Rico in 1886 where an unhappy love affair led to his poem "To Laura," which became very popular among his contemporaries. He went back to Spain to study law in Barcelona, but reasons of health forced his return home. He received his law degree and became a doctor of laws in 1892.
He set up a law practice in Arecibo and founded La república. Diego along with Muñoz Rivera and Mateinzo Citrón formed a committee that ultimately convinced Spanish Liberal leader Práxedes Mateo Sagasta to support autonomy for Puerto Rico. During the brief interlude between the declaration of autonomy and the U.S. invasion of the island, Diego served as Subsecretary of Justice and Interior, and then became a magistrate of the Real Audiencia Territorial de Puerto Rico. After annexation, he combined a brilliant literary career with public service. He was such a charismatic speaker that in 1915 he was named "Caballero de la Raza" by the Casa de América in Barcelona. Diego became a member of the Chamber of Delegates (1903-1917) then Chamber of Representatives, representing the Unionist Party, until his death the following year. He was a strong supporter of the Union of Caribbean islands.
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