About Eugenio Maria de Hostos, 1839-1903


Puerto Rican educator, writer, and patriot Eugenio María de Hostos was born on January 11, 1839, in the island village of Río Cañas, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. He attended elementary school in San Juan, and studied education and law in Spain at the Institute of Higher Education in Bilbao and the University of Madrid. He joined fellow students in efforts to liberalize Spain’s colonial rule of Cuba and Puerto Rico and to abolish African slavery. In 1869, he left Madrid for New York City, where he joined other exiles in the Cuban Revolutionary Junta, working for the liberation of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Three years later, Hostos traveled to Latin America to recruit support for the liberation movement. In Peru, he protested the exploitation of Chinese immigrants. In Chile, he championed the opening of educational  opportunities for women, particularly in law and medicine. In Argentina, he campaigned widely for the construction of the first trans-Andean railroad.

The government of Chile established a school for Hostos to implement his advanced concepts of education. Under his leadership, Liceo Miguel Luis Amunátegui became one of the foremost educational centers in Latin America. During eight years in Chile, he wrote award-winning curricula in Spanish and History and published literary, artistic, and philosophical works.

After Spanish rule ended in Puerto Rico, Hostos returned to work once again for the island’s independence. In 1898, he left for the Dominican Republic, where he was appointed Director of the Central College and Inspector General of Public Education. He died there in August of 1903.

Eugenio María de Hostos is the author of such distinguished works as La peregrinación de Bayoán (1863), Lecciones de derecho constitucional (1887), Moral social (1888) and Tratado de sociología (1904). His life’s work and ideals are a legacy and an inspiration for all students at Hostos Community College.