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September 23: Uprising in Puerto Rico

September 23, 2013
A revolution against Spanish colonial rule in Puerto Rico began in the town of Lares on this date in 1868. One of the leaders was Matías Brugman, the Louisiana-born son of a Sephardic Jewish father from Curaçao and a Puerto Rican mother. Brugman, a successful grocer, had become resentful of Spain’s political injustices and was an outspoken advocate for Puerto Rico’s independence. A revolutionary committee was formed with his shop as headquarters, with the code name “Capá Prieto” (Black Cape), and other secret cells were established throughout Puerto Rico, bringing together landowners, merchants, professionals, peasants, and slaves (slavery would not be abolished in Puerto Rico until 1873). Although the town of Lares was captured and declared the free “Republic of Puerto Rico,” the Spanish had been forewarned about the revolt and quickly defeated the small army of revolutionaries. Brugman, his son Hector, and a fellow revolutionary went into hiding, but were betrayed by a farmworker and executed on September 30th. Today there are some 3,000 Jewish Puerto Ricans. “The ‘Grito de Lares’ is Puerto Rico’s first and only cry for Independence. On September 23, 1868 between 600 and 1000 men, mostly Puerto Rican-born and from the west of the Island, revolted for Independence from Spain. . . . Second in command was Matías Brugman . . . “—http://EL BORICUA