Alejandro Tapia y Rivera

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Alejandro Tapia y Rivera

Alejandro Tapia y Rivera (November 12, 1826July 19, 1882) - poet and writer from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Tapia is considered to be the father of Puerto Rican literature and that no one else has contributed more to the cultural advancement of Puerto Rico in literature. In addition to his writing, Rivera was also a fervent abolitionist and a women's rights advocate. Rivera received his primary education in San Juan under the guidance of the renowned educator Rafael Cordero, who was an early inspiration in his life.

Tapia was working for the State Department when a Spanish Army artillery officer challenged him to a duel, a challenge which he accepted; as a result, Tapia was deported to Spain. There he completed his studies in literature in Madrid (1850-1852), and joined the Society of the Recollection of Historical Documents, relating to Puerto Rico.

Tapia organised and filed in order important Puerto Rican 16th and 17th century documents. He published his first important work called The Historical Library of Puerto Rico relating to those documents and his findings on them.

Tapia was a member of the Progressive Action Political Party. Among his cultural postions was his membership of the Puerto Rican Intellectual Protective Society. He was also the director of the Youth Museum in Ponce and the founder and first president of the Ateneo Puertorriqueño.

Among Tapia's many awards and honours were:

Alejandro Tapia y Rivera died in the city of San Juan, Puerto in July 19, 1882 while giving a conference at the Ateneo Puertorriqueño.

His memory has been honoured in Puerto Rico. There are many schools and avenues named after Tapia. The Teatro Tapia, the premier drama stage, in old San Juan is also named after him.

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