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Towards a Plantation Society

Ch.6 Puerto Rico - A Political and Cultural History

Yvonne Fortuño

on 22 January 2014

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Transcript of Towards a Plantation Society

Plaza de Armas
Tapia Theatre
Increased Agricultural production – Sugar, coffee & tobacco
Somewhat modernized agriculture – distribution of uncultivated lands, larger states divided
Increased World demand – Sugar industry grows
Few shops & factories for local market
Cattle industry favored by Power Act
Maritime trade limited increase
Treasury collects 8 times more but with no situado and helping Spain fight revolutions….
Little improvement in public services.
Little improvement in public administration: nepotism & corruption
Lack of Banking and credit institutions – usury
Significant population increase: from Haiti, Sto. Domingo, Spain, Canary Island, Venezuela and France ( conservatives except the French)
More luxurious life for the wealthy – rural life primitive & uncomfortable
Puerto Rico by 1814:
Ferdinand VII restored absolute monarchy in Spain – Constitution of 1812 eliminated. Diputación Provincial dissolved by Governor in island.
King gives Cédula as a reward & to promote development
15 years: Free trade with Spain in Spanish ships. Trade with friendly nations permitted, in emergencies free with neighboring islands.
Authorized Shipbuilding industry
Immigration of Catholic foreigners from friendly nations – land
Free import of machineries & license to bring slaves
Division of island into 6 districts: San Juan, San Germán, Humacao, Arecibo, Coamo and Aguada.
The Real Cédula de Gracias - 1815
New System of Direct taxation
Abolish indirect taxes and interior customs. Taxes based on agricultural wealth estimated. Paid by all without exceptions – based on income
New taxes on houses for rent & slaves
Additional taxes to help needy immigrants from Venezuela.
Fiscal Autonomy for Ayuntamientos
Royal Treasury would publish their accounts.
To deal with the crisis of inflation created by the governors introduction of paper currency:
Proposed acceptance of moneda macuquina from Venezuela to fight shortage of metallic currency.
Campaign to restore confidence in paper money in the Diario Económico & pamphlet
Retire paper money gradually - - people could use it to pay taxes & in a Lottery.
By the time he left he had retired it all.
Diario Económico de Puerto Rico - - Second newspaper in the island (La Gaceta Oficial was the first) - restore confidence
Established Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País – Agriculture & Education
Education – courses on geography, commerce & math
Ramírez’ Reforms
What he finds:
Unorganized finances, dependency on situado, governor control
Rudimentary economy without controls
What he wants to do:
Balance the budget & secure the necessary funds
Organize the island’s finances for future development.
Alejandro Ramírez and the Intendency
Public Services:
More public schools
Improve health conditions
Programs for decreasing delinquency – mechanical arts school
Economic / Administrative
Creation of “clase de jornaleros” – paid laborers.
Distribution of uncultivated lands
Establishment of “gremios” or craft guilds
Democratic election of representative of judicial system
Abolition of “abasto forzozo” Abolition of taxes on rums
Freedom of trade
Instructions of the Cabildos to Power
A predominant conservative administration
Autocratic governor
Exploitation of economy for sole benefit of Spain
Heavy taxes, restrictions on commerce and industrial development
Limited Industrial resources
Protective legislation – prohibits competition
Too much dependence on Situado – bad administration of funds
Poor Public Services: Education, Sanitation, Transportation and Communication
Factors that affected the development of the island:
“Forced Peace”
From 1837 to 1864
Very little participation of Criollos – elite – in island affairs.
Some minor slave uprisings & conspiracy of 1838 - unrest
Critics of government or asking for more Criollo participation was banished. Separatives – persecuted or exiled.
Leyes Especiales never came during this period
1860s - - Spain invited again representatives from the island to report & propose…
Pax Romana
After death of Ferdinand VII:
Regent – Queen Mother – María Cristina – wants to curb liberals – New decree – Estatuto Real – national parliament - -
PR will be represented by 2 procuradores -
Forced to proclaim Constitution of 1812 in 1836
Representatives selected by Cabildo of San Juan & imp. taxpayers
NO Diputación Provincial
New constitution approved 1837
Not extended to PR nor other colonies of Cuba & Philippines
Our representatives – excluded from courts.
Promised Special laws - - Leyes Especiales
PR ruled by an absolute governor – had no voice in Spanish parliament.
The Unfulfilled Promise: Leyes Especiales
De la Torre’s repressive policies – Example:
July 10, 1826 – Ponce: 4 slaves confided on master on conspiracy plot.
Slaves arrested, interrogated, put on trial by military tribunal: 11 sentenced to death & shot in the presence of others who were sentences to work for government in Havana shipyards, or work in shackles on master’s haciendas.
Incident reported on La Gaceta – moralizing on how the peace and tranquility was owed to the prompt effectiveness of gov.
Informers were given their freedom & 25 pesos.
In 1527 - first major slave rebellion occurred in Puerto Rico as dozen of slaves fought against the colonist in a brief revolt
By 1873 - 20 slave revolts
From 1795 to 1848: 22 slave conspiracies have been identified by historians.
Only 5 took place during governorship of De la Torre
Slave Revolts
Reactions in the island:
Landowners liked it.
Enlightened sectors of Criollos opposed it.
Not good for agricultural development:
Kept labor cheap.
No need to modernize
Labor was not as productive.
They had to show the libretas once a month in the municipaliy.
Prohibited the agregados
Jornaleros had to move to the towns.
Although it increased the number of workers . . . Jornaleros did anything not to work in ingenios.
Libretas . . .
Characteristics of P.R. between 1820 to 1840
Peak of sugar industry and the slave trade.
Dependency on the sugar market of consumers in US
Strong peninsular and foreign immigration.
Vigorous colonization of the mountainous interior
System of Libretas
Problem: Free labor did not want to work in plantations
Why? Plenty of land – easy food & shelter
1831: Governor Miguel López de Baños
Bando de Policía y Buen Gobierno: Orders all unemployed landless peasants to work on local plantations
1849 – Ley de la Libreta – Governor Juan de la Pezuela: all workers had to carry the ledger where the employer would record services & how. Severe penalties on those who did not carry them.
Compulsory Labor: Lasted 24 years: 1849 - 1873
Coffee plantations were centered in the hinderland.
Almost doubled in 12 years
Small to medium in size
Family holdings
The Commercial entrepreneurs (Spaniards) - - lender of capital to the hacendado.
Sold to Europe (40%) and Spain & Cuba (43%)
not US (preferred Brazilian)
Coffee became one of principal crops in 19th century – even surpassing sugar. Why?
Low prices of sugar
No technological advances
Lack of capital
Abolition of slavery
Little investment in public services.
Popularity of coffee in Europe
PR Became a Double Dependency State: Political dependency on Spain, Economic dependency on U.S. Trade
Impact on pattern of Land tenure:
Large haciendas - trend by 1832
Small landholders became agregados when they lost land
1820 only 5.8% of land was cultivated – By 1897 – 14.3%
Land devoted to sugar increased same period 3x
Tonnage of sugar increased
Technological changes – modern mills, centrals, Corporations
Where in the island?
Coastal plains:
North from Loiza to Arecibo
South and West: 54% Guayama, Ponce, Mayaguez
1850s: PR – one of the major producers of sugar cane: second to Cuba in Caribbean. One of the 10 biggest in the world.
Second Great Sugar Cycle – 1825 to 1850 – Sugar industry: melao & rum
Three types of haciendas: de bueyes, de vapor, de viento.
US – most important trading partner: ¾
Why increase:
Commerce with U.S.
New Political views of Spain regarding island - Cédula
Set basis for authoritarian economic and political system
Governor of the island for 15 years. (1822 – 1837)
Dictatorial regime but brought economic growth:
Centralized administration – more efficiency –
Junta de visitas – inspections
Slave population increased
Fostered sugar production & plantation economy
Public works: churches, bridges, roads, Plazas, Municipal Theatre
Improved island defenses & military forces.
Policy of "dance, drink and dice" (baile, botella y baraja), implying that a well entertained population will not think about revolution.
De la Torre’s Enlightened Despotism
Legislation presented by our Diputado – José María Quiñones & Cubans proposed more autonomy for the internal affairs of the island.
PR looses all again
Military governor was given civil unlimited control.
1820 in Spain – an army uprising led by Rafael de Riego forced King to re install the constitution of 1812
PR selected a new Diputado a Cortes – Demetrio O’Daly – a liberal.
Constitutional government collapses in Spain in 1823
Second Constitutional Period
Anglo Spanish Treaty- 1820
Great Britain had pressured European nations to end slave trade.
Spain was reluctant to agree: needed more labor forces in Cuba & PR to develop their sugar industry
1820 – Spain agrees to end slave trade in their colonies.
Slave Trade under the Anglo – Spanish Treaty
Slave Trade in the island after this:
Did not end.
Governor Miguel de la Torre gave licenses to bring slaves from neighboring islands.
How much slave trade existed depended more on the economic power of the local hacendados
Value of property: risen 14 times
Agriculture – specialization in 3 crops and plantation system
Sugar & rum industry increased
Immigration continued to increase – foreigners and Spanish
Puerto Rico by 1819
More autonomy in local administration but still the island is controlled by the Cortes, thousands of miles away.
Constitution of 1812
Basic rights for Puerto Ricans: freedoms, voting
Diputado a Cortes – elected indirectly every two years.
Diputación Provincial:
9 members – 7 elected by the 5 electors who chose Diputado
Determine taxes
Check Ayuntamientos books
Regulate use of public funds
Supervise hospitals, education, public works, stimulate ….
Only king and courts could dissolve it
Governor had executive power and was appointed by the King
Ley Power: Power Act:
Objectives: reduce exclusivist mercantilism; reduce power of governor
Separated intendency – naming Alejandro Ramirez
Abolished “abasto forzoso”
Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País.
Free trade in flour / export cattle paying small tax.
Opening of ports – Aguadilla, Cabo Rojo, Ponce, Fajardo
Power at the Cortes de Cadiz
Liberals and Reformists
Majority of professionals
Small farmers, cattlemen
Industrialists & Criollos
Majority of middle &
Lower classes
Want Change & development
Sovereignty of the people
More individual freedom
Political and social matters
are more important
Legalistic approach –
peaceful reforms
Civilian and military government employees
Influential businessmen - Spaniards - trade & local production
Economic matters are what is important
Loyal vassals – true friends of government
Two Political sectors in PR
Juan Alejo de Arizmendi
Joy & Celebrations at the election of Power
Juan Alejo de Arizmendi – first Puerto Rican bishop – ring
Junta Suprema in Spain dissolved – Regency will govern in the name of Ferdinand VII
Power re elected as Diputado a Cortes
Power elected first Vice – President of Cortes.
An Experiment in Constitutional Government
Destroyed the Creole Silence
Pledge allegiance to Ferdinand VII
Representatives of Bonaparte locked
1809 – decree gives equality of colonies to Spanish provinces – rights of representation to junta
“election” of Power to represent us
Effects on Island of Napoleonic intervention in Spain
Towards a Plantation Society
Free Labor
Affected our cultural and social composition.
Economic life of sugar towns was dominated by immigrants & Spaniards.
Sugar plantation system concentrated land in hands of a few in the coastal regions
Population growth brought a movement to the mountains.
Mountainous region began to develop: coffee crops - smaller haciendas.
Foreign immigration to island: North Americans, French, Germans, Italians, French from Corcega, Netherland, British, Scots. From European colonies in Lesser Antilles
Increased immigration from Spain, Criollos from Venezuela, Canarios and Penninsulares.
Immigrants from all social conditions: hacendados, merchants and mostly workers.
Increase in number of slaves imported
1846 peaked at 51,000
Lack of money & stronger attempt at ending the trade reduced it.
From 1823 to 1835: Most slave trade in PR
Slaves at its peak – from 11.5% to 14% of labor force:
Many were domestic slaves but most worked in sugar industry
The Labor Force: Slavery & Free Labor
Work in the Fields of the haciendas was difficult but it was even worst in the Sugar refineries – tiring and dangerous
Alejandro Ramirez's work set the basis for economic development in 19th century to a self sufficient colony
Enlightened members of the Criollo class
By 1850s most renowned leaders of island.
Fight in Spain, joined the Cubans and Spaniards
By 1865 – Abolitionist societies.
Newspaper: El Abolicionista Español
Time was not ripe . . .
Abolitionist Movement
Scarano, Francisco; Puerto Rico,
Una Historia Contemporanea
, Segunda Edicion' McGraw Hill, Mexico 2007
Pico, Fernando;
History of Puerto Rico, A Panorama of its People
; Marcus Wiener Publishers, Princeton, 2006
Morales Carrión; Puerto Rico,
A Political and Cultural History
, New York, 1983
Dietz, James;
Economic History of Puerto Rico, Princeton
, New Jersey 1986
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