traveling latin america
Travel and tourism throughout Latin America. Benítez - A Family of Poets

In the nineteenth century, three members of one family became widely known poets in Puerto Rico. The Benítez family handed down the love of poetry from generation to generation like a treasured heirloom.

Born in Aguadilla in 1783 María Benítez was the first woman poet to become well known in Puerto Rico. The daughter of an official with the Ministry of Treasury, María had access to an excellent library at home, and spent hours poring over the volumes it contained. She was drawn to Romanticism, and became known as a great Romantic poet. She died in San Juan at the age of 89.

María's niece, Alejandrina Benítez de Arce y de Santier was born in 1819. She was orphaned as a girl and was raised by María. She followed in her aunt's footsteps, also becoming a Romantic poet. She was well known for the marvelous parties she gave, where the island's intellectuals loved to gather. Alejandrina gave birth to three daughters and one son, Jose Gautier Benítez.

Jose Gautier Benítez was born in 1848. As a young man he spent some time in the military in Spain, but became homesick for the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and returned. Back home, he split his time between his literary endeavors and political causes. He was a vocal proponent for more autonomy for Puerto Rico, while remaining tied to Spain. Tragically, he contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 32.

Poems by Maria Benítez
Poems by Jose Gautier Benítez

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