Ramón De Castro y Gutiérrez.
During his term, he defended the island from an attack by English General Sir Ralph Abercromby. He once again requested authorization for free trade and the elimination of tithes.
Toribio de Montes.
Under his command, smallpox vaccinations were introduced by Doctor José Oller y Ferrer in 1804. The first press was founded and the island’s first newspaper, La Gaceta de Puerto Rico, was published.
Salvador Meléndez Ruiz.
He presided over the military board that named Ramón Power the representative to the Cortes de Cádiz. He began construction of the central highway and authorized the issuance of paper money or bonds. He also separated the administration of the general headquarters, created a customs office, and founded a program to teach medicine at the military hospital.
Juan Vasco y Pascual.
Under his command, the Preparatory Board of Elections was created to select the Puerto Rican representative to the Spanish Cortes. He established a lighting system in the capital and revitalized the Friends of the Country Society. He also prepared a project to create primary schools in all the towns of the island.
Gonzalo de Aróstegui y Herrera.
He requested and established the Court of Spain in Puerto Rico and worked to improve the justice administration. He divided the island into four military commands and seven political districts. He sponsored the celebration of monthly fairs in the centers of the districts. He created a botanical garden in the capital and a hospital for the poor.
His four months in power coincided with the change of government in Spain and the return of the constitutional period, which allowed the designated representative, Demetrio O`Daly, to continue the work of Ramón Power. The separation of military and civil powers in the governance of the island was achieved.
Francisco González de Linares.
First civil governor under the O’Daly Law. He supported the enlargement of the Plaza Mayor in San Juan, which is today called Plaza de Armas; organized the Distinguished Battalion of Volunteers of Puerto Rico; improved lighting and water service; promoted compliance with the laws on practicing medicine; and supported the project that established a permanent theater in the capital.
Miguel De la Torre.
His government began when authoritarian rule was reestablished in Spain. From Puerto Rico, he aided Venezuelan monarchs with arms and money against the revolutionary forces of Simón Bolívar. De la Torre also inaugurated the Municipal Theater (today, the Tapia Theater), sponsored the project that founded the Colegio San Ildefonso; installed the Provincial Consulate and the Board of Commerce (1825); reorganized the regulated militia; activated vaccination services; sponsored the coordination of a loan guaranteed by the island government to help farmers; and, by decree of Felipe VIII, reestablished in 1832 the Court of Spain and Chancellery, which was known as the Territorial Court.
Francisco J. Moreda Prieto.
In his brief term as governor, he sponsored a project to pave the streets of San Juan; subsidized the Economic Society of the Friends of the Country; sponsored the organization of charitable boards; and organized the Corps of Watchmen in the capital.
Miguel López de Baños.
He regulated the municipal organization and supported the establishment of the charitable Casa de Beneficencia in San Juan. He also encouraged primary education and formally requested permission from the monarchy to establish a university, though permission was denied.
Santiago Méndez Vigo.
He founded the town of Santa Isabel de Coamo and the Casa de Beneficencia in San Juan. He also actively collaborated in the recovery of the town of Mayagüez after the fire of 1841 and facilitated the reorganization of the Economic Society of the Friends of the Country. He also created the managing committee for roads and canals; supported a project to create a firefighters corps; outlawed gambling; authorized the reconstruction of the highway from the capital to Martín Peña; repaired the militia barracks and the brick paving in the capital.
Rafael De Arístegui y Vélez.
First representative of the Narváez dictatorship. De Arístegui regulated the administration of the municipalities; reduced the number of town councils; organized several fire departments, including one in the capital; created the Central Statistics Commission, which conducted a census in Puerto Rico; and improved mail service.
Juan Prim Prats.
He decreed the Bando Negro, which consisted of an ordinance that sought absolute control of the black population of the island. It was repealed by order of the Spanish Crown. Through administrative orders, he supported road links from the town of Cangrejos to Cataño and Vega Baja; reorganized the medical license service; and supported the creation of a school for the children of laborers in the capital.
Juan de la Pezuela.
During his command, he created the Academy of Letters; reorganized primary instruction; published the final Good Government and Police Edict, which regulated the country until 1869. He also implemented the laborer’s passbook requirement and contributed to the completion of the restoration of the San Juan Cathedral.
Enrique de España y Taberner.
He replaced Pezuela, who resigned before the end of his term.
Fernando de Norzagaray y Escudero.
During his incumbency, he ordered the repair of the south wall of the Santa Elena bastion in San Juan; requested the establishment of workshops, the construction of arsenals, and the creation and organization of a cavalry section. He also supported the routing of a highway from San Juan to Ponce and built various bridges. One of these was called General Norzagaray’s Grand Bridge and crossed Los Frailes stream. In politics, his government was characterized by repression of the press.
Andrés García Camba.
Authorized horse races during the San Juan and San Pedro festivals.
José de Lemery Ibarrola.
This governor encouraged the involvement of women in teaching and improved the Casa de Beneficencia. He also requested the establishment of banks to prevent the usury that many locals faced.
Fernando Cotoner Chacón.
Under his command, the construction of a network of highways that circled the island and improved military defenses was completed.
Rafael Echagüe y Bermingham.
He organized the third Public Exhibition of Fine Arts, Agriculture and Industry.
Rafael Izquierdo Gutiérrez,
Félix María de Messina.
He supported the establishment of the Asylum of Charity in Ponce, and promoted the realization of the fourth Public Exhibition of Fine Arts, Agriculture and Industry. He also encouraged public education and created the Primary Education Board.
José María Marchesi y Oleaga.
He organized an electoral college to elect the commissioners that would represent the island in the Reform Investigation Board that began work in Madrid in 1866. He halted an uprising by artillerymen, condemned to death the leader of the revolt, and exiled the other participants.
Julián Juan Pavía y Lacy.
After the passage of Hurricane San Narciso in 1867, the governor eliminated taxes and payments for the right to import products for consumption to resolve the crisis caused by the hurricane. During his incumbency, the Grito de Lares revolutionary movement of 1868 erupted. After capturing the insurrectionists, Pavía provided amnesty for the leaders.
José Laureano Sanz y Posse.
He restored the rights of Puerto Ricans to elect representatives to the Spanish Cortes and implemented the Civil Guard. He also abolished the regulated militias and exiled and jailed all those suspected of separatism. In public administration, he supported a project to equip the island with a telegraph system; strengthened the mail system; established a school of agriculture; began the construction of metal bridges over the Portugues River in Ponce, the Caguitas River in Caguas, and the Yaguez River in Mayaguez. He repaired or built city halls in several municipalities.
Gabriel Baldrich y Palau.
He abolished the military courts created by Governor Pezuela; annulled the suspension of the Economic Society of the Friends of the Country imposed by Governor Sanz during his first term; authorized Johan W. Zacheus to establish a Protestant school on Vieques; and authorized the creation of lotteries in San Juan and Ponce. He also supported the fifth Puerto Rico Exposition (1871) and opened commerce at the port of Guayanilla.
Ramón Gómez Pulido.
He enforced compliance with the laws on the practice of medicine, annexed La Marina area to the capital, and planned the removal of the San Juan walls.
Simón de la Torre Ormaza.
He was governor for just three months.
Joaquín Enrile Hernán.
Ceased governing when King Amadeo I abdicated and proclaimed the Republic of Spain.
Juan Martínez Plowes.
Signed the proclamation abolishing slavery and reinstalled the Idle Land Board, which had been suspended by General Gómez Pulido.
Rafael Primo de Rivera y Sobremonte.
During his term, he enacted the Municipal Law of 1870 and the Puerto Rico Bill of Rights. He also reorganized public education and endorsed a project to establish the Institute of Secondary Education. He repealed the passbook for laborers; obtained amnesty for Ramón Emeterio Betances; implemented the emancipation of the slaves with the Law 22 of March, 1873; and created the Notary Profession Law of Spain and the Promotion Board.
José Laureano Sanz y Posse.
Governor for a second time, he eliminated the Promotion Board; abolished the first article of the Spanish Constitution that protected the individual rights of subjects; abolished the Provisional Delegation; closed the Civil Institute of Secondary Education; outlawed political associations; and imposed strict censorship. On the other hand, he reestablished the lottery; arranged for compensation payments for slave owners; authorized the construction of the aqueduct in Ponce and various highways and bridges; restored the churches of several towns; and completed stringing the cables around the island for the telegraph.
Segundo de la Portilla.
He modified the press decree and made vaccination against smallpox mandatory.
Manuel de la Serna y Pinzón, Marquis of la Serna.
During his term, the capital was enlarged by extending it toward the Puerta de Tierra and Cangrejos areas. Primary education was encouraged and gambling houses were outlawed.
Under his brief term, the decree reforming the Municipal Law and the Provincial Law of Puerto Rican was signed.
Eulogio Despujol Dussay.
He enacted a new electoral law; promoted the construction of public works; supported the development of the central highway; promoted the central sugar mills as a way to resolve the crisis in sugar cane cultivation; decreed primary education obligatory for ages six to nine; and established Dominican schools for religious instruction. In 1884, he became the delegate to the Spanish Cortes from the Aguadilla district.
Segundo de la Portilla.
He returned to office on an interim basis. In his second term, he organized the colonization of Culebra; promoted the celebration of an Exposition in Ponce; reopened the Institute of Secondary Education; recognized the rights of laborers to emigrate; and approved a project to create a school for teachers.
Miguel de la Vega Inclán, Marqués de la Vega.
He brought about the foundation of a professional school in the town of Cayey and the construction of a provincial mental hospital. Also he recommended the establishment of a art school in Ponce and authorized Román Baldorioty De Castro and Hemeterio Colón to found a secondary education school, also in Ponce.
Carlos Suances Campos.
Interim governor. During his brief term, he controlled a plague of yellow fever.
Ramón Fajardo Izquierdo.
He issued a call for municipal elections in Humacao, Vega Baja, Hatillo, Corozal, Las Marías and Morovis.
Luis Dabán y Ramírez de Arellano.
He established the first public library in Mayaguez under the sponsorship of the Economic Society of the Friends of the Country. He also recommended the creation of a bank of credit and called for elections to select the delegates to the Spanish Cortes in 1886.
Romualdo Palacios González.
Severely persecuted the members of the Autonomist Party through the orders called the compontes. He approved a commission that proposed various resolutions: the elimination of the rights to export sugar; monetary unification; the modification of the plans to establish a railroad circling the island; the demolition of the walls of Puerta de Tierra; and the declaration of exclusive shipping rights between Spain and the overseas colonies. The year 1887 was known as “the terrible year” because of the government’s political persecution.
Juan Contreras Martínez.
His policy was that of reconciliation. He reestablished guarantees of personal rights, relocated the Civil Guard, and put in effect the Regular Courts.
Pedro Ruiz Dana.
Supported emigration to Cuba, as authorized by the Spanish government. Those who wanted to emigrate were provided with passage, six months of supplies, a house and 42 acres of land.
José Lasso y Pérez.
His poor health forced him to resign.
Manuel Delgado Zuleta,
Antonio Dabán y Ramírez de Arellano.
He sponsored the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Puerto Rico with an exposition; promoted the planting of trees along the central highway for the dual purpose of providing shade and preventing carriages from falling over the precipices.
He supported a project to provide an electric trolley in Ponce; took interest in the exchange of Mexican currency; and helped the victims of a fire in Barranquitas. He died from yellow fever.
He provided for the exchange of foreign currency for the new Spanish silver money; encouraged the construction of local roads and improvement in the mail service; supported the Puerto Rico island guide; conducted a census of residents; authorized a project to establish a telegraph line between Puerto Rico and Vieques; and authorized the construction of telephone lines and a highway between Aibonito and Barranquitas.
Andrés González Muñoz.
Sent to implement the Autonomous Charter signed the previous year, he could not begin his duties because he died a short time after arriving on the island.
Manuel Macías Casado.
During his governorship, the first autonomous island cabinet was named and formed. Under the autonomous decree, General Macías issued an order abolishing the general administration of the treasury, the Local Administration Council, the regional delegations of San Juan and Ponce and the technical inspections of works, communications and health.
He became interim governor for a third time. On October 16, 1898, he met in La Fortaleza with Generals Eugenio Vallarino and José Sánchez Del águila as representatives of the government of Spain and United States Generals John R. Brooke, William V. Gordon and Winfield S. Sheley to sign the papers that handed over the island of Puerto Rico to the United States.
Note: These articles have been edited and checked by academics and specialists in History. Discrepancies may exist among historians regarding some data.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 11, 2014.
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