Manuel Corchado y Juarbe
|Manuel Corchado y Juarbe|
|Born||September 12, 1840
Isabela, Puerto Rico
|Died||November 30, 1884
|Occupation||poet, journalist and politician|
Manuel Corchado y Juarbe[note 1] (September 12, 1840 – November 30, 1884) was a Puerto Rican poet, journalist and politician who defended the abolition of slavery and the establishment of a University in Puerto Rico. Through his written works he criticized the way the people of Puerto Rico were being treated by the island's Spanish appointed governor.
Corchado y Juarbe was born in Arenales Altos, barrio of the town of Isabela in Puerto Rico. His parents were Juan Eugenio Corchado and Juana Eugenia Juarbe. He received his primary education in the towns of Isabela and Aguadilla. In 1855, his parents sent him to Barcelona, Spain where he received and finished his secondary education. Corchado y Juarbe later earned a law degree from the University of Barcelona.
While living in Barcelona, he and José Coll y Britapaja, a fellow Puerto Rican, founded a magazine called "Las Antillas". He used the magazine to make public the social problems in Puerto Rico and what the people of the island were going through. He championed the idea of the establishment of a University and the abolition of slavery. Corchado y Juarbe also criticized and told of the abuses of Lieutenant General Féliz María de Messina Iglesias, the Spanish appointed governor in the island.
Return to Puerto Rico
Corchado y Juarbe returned to Puerto Rico and began a column in the newspaper "El Agente". In 1862, he entered a contest sponsored by the "La Sociedad de Amigos del País de Puerto Rico" (the Economic Friends of Puerto Rico). The "Sociedades Económicas de Amigos de Puerto Rico" was a bramch of the "Sociedad Económica de los Amigos del País" were private associations established in various cities throughout Spain, and to a lesser degree in some of her colonies. He won a first prize for his poem "Oda a Campeche". His poem was published in various Spanish newspapers and magazines. Corchado y Juarbe presided over the Ateneo Puertorriqueño (Puerto Rican Athenaeum) for some time.
Corchado y Juarbe was a supporter of the Spanish Revolución of 1868, believing that the Spanish colonies will enjoy more liberties with the establishment of the new regime. After the success of the revolution, which established a republican government, he was elected in 1871 to represent the District of Mayagüez and Puerto Rico before the Spanish Courts in Barcelona. Corchado y Juarbe made use of his position to denounce the use of capital punishment and voice his support of the new Spanish Constitution. He also delivered speeches in which he favored the improvement of social and economic conditions for the Spanish colonies. In 1875, the Spanish royal family returned to power and Corchado y Juarbe decided that it was too dangerous to continue in his political quest. In 1879, he returned to Puerto Rico.
In 1881, he moved to the city of Ponce because of health problems and continued for "El Agente" where he expressed his views. He then became a member of the new Reformist Party and ran for the position of representative to the Spanish Courts for said party. He was elected to represent the District of Aguadilla and returned to Spain.
Corchado y Juarbe made many enemies because of his views and was accused of electoral fraud. He defended the legality of his election to represent Puerto Rico before the Spanish Courts to no avail. Corchado y Juarbe returned to Madrid and was challenged to a gun duel. He accepted the challenge and on November 30, 1884, died of the wounds received. Moments before he died, he told his wife the following
"Tell them my name, that I accomplished the mission of sacrificing my life for my country"
Corchado y Juarbe's body was buried in Madrid. A committee to return Corchado y Juarbe's body to Isabela and to erect a monument to honor his memory and his life was organized by the local citizens in 1935. His remains were finally transferred from Madrid to Isabela in 1993 and interned in the local cemetery.
Puerto Rican poet José Gualberto Padilla dedicated a poem to the memory of Corchado y Juarbe titled "En la muerte de Corchado". There is a school and street named after him in his hometown, Isabela On July 17, 1998, the Puerto Rican Legislature passed and approved Law 132 which designates the week beginning September 12 as "Manuel Corchado y Juarbe week".
Among Corchado y Juarbe's written works are the following:
- "Biografía de Lincoln" (Abraham Lincoln)
- "Historia de Ultratumba"
- "Oda a Campeche" (Jose Campeche)
- "Las Barricadas".