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La democracia. : (Ponce, P.R.) 1890-1948
Place of publication:
Ponce, P.R.
Geographic coverage:
  • Caguas, Puerto Rico  |  View more titles from this: City State
  • Ponce, Puerto Rico  |  View more titles from this: City State
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico  |  View more titles from this: City State
Imprenta El Vapor
Dates of publication:
  • -año 58, núm. 16597 (15 de octubre de 1948).
  • Began with July 1, 1890 issue.
Daily (except Sun.) May 1, 1893-Oct. 15, 1948
  • Spanish
  • Caguas (P.R.)--Newspapers.
  • Ponce (P.R.)--Newspapers.
  • Puerto Rico--Caguas.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01218533
  • Puerto Rico--Newspapers.
  • Puerto Rico--Ponce.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01206019
  • Puerto Rico--San Juan.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214595
  • Puerto Rico.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01205432
  • San Juan (P.R.)--Newspapers.
  • "Decano de la prensa puertorriqueña."
  • "Diario de la tarde."
  • "Diario liberal autonomista."
  • "La Democracia apraeció in 1890 en Ponce, en San Juan y en Caguas, y desde su fundación tuvo que responder a 42 procesos judiciales por motivos políticos." Cf. Benítez, José Antonio, "Los Orígenes del periodismo en nuestra América," Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Lumen, 2000.
  • Also issued on microfilm from Library of Congress Photoduplication Service.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Año 1, núm. 2 (24 de julio de 1890).
  • In Spanish.
  • Place of publication varies: Ponce, July 1, 1890-Sept. 19, 1900; Caguas, Oct. 23, 1900-April 30, 1904; San Juan, July 1, 1904-
  • Published by Imprenta El Vapor, July 1, 1890-April 1892; Imprenta La Democracia, April 1892-
sn 90070270
Succeeding Titles:
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La democracia. July 7, 1891, Image 1


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La Democracia

La Democracia, founded and published by the Puerto Rican poet, journalist and politician Luis Muñoz Rivera, was first published in Ponce in 1890. The newspaper supported Puerto Rico's liberal Autonomist Party, which sought broader rights under the Spanish Crown. La Democracia reported on various political themes, such as internal situations of delegates and the demands of the people. It also maintained communication with other newspapers and included proposals of court deputies, reports of Spanish treaties with other countries, and news of the Cuban revolution. La Democracia opposed the imposition of taxes on sugar and other products, and the prohibition of coffee exports to Cuba; it also published complaints from San Juan merchants and reported on property repossessions. La Democracia supported economic improvements on the island through the creation of the Farmers Association, the Agriculture Bank, and the Santurce Exposition, which promoted the sale of local merchandise.

With the outbreak of the Cuban War in 1895 and after the reorganization of the Autonomist Party, Muñoz Rivera traveled to Madrid where he would regularly write for the newspaper. Between 1896 and 1898, La Democracia continued to provide political coverage, including reports on the election of the members of the recently established Autonomic government, who were never able to assemble due to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. At the beginning of 1899, Muñoz Rivera traveled to Washington to demand the formation of a civilian government in Puerto Rico. He had support from liberals all over the island, whose names were published in the newspaper.

Despite the Foraker Act and the restoration of a civilian government, La Democracia continued to agitate for reform. The paper covered various controversies related to bankruptcies and reported on the emigration to Cuba of at least 103 Puerto Ricans and six Spaniards who were dissatisfied with the new government. Other topics covered during these years included the Dingley Tariff and the poor quality of imported flour, the Bill Hollander Law that dealt with other taxes on imported goods, and horror stories associated with the emigration of Puerto Ricans to Hawaii. La Democracia supported socialist demonstrations against taxes, protested against new requirements that teachers undergo an English test, and reported on the physical abuse of children in the schools. At the same time, the paper included reports of United States' patriotic celebrations. In 1904, Muñoz Rivera founded the Union Party to unite the existing political factions on the island and to fight against laws imposed by the American authorities. These included restrictions on the powers of the Chamber of Delegates, which the newspaper renamed the "Chamber of Slaves."

La Democracia's advertisements and editorials shed much light on social and cultural life in Puerto Rico during this period. Before 1898, advertisements from foreign companies dominated, such as French postal service steamboats, fire insurance from Hamburg, and Italian theater companies. Advertisements stressed business opportunities in the Puerto Rican market. The paper also reported on the fourth centennial celebration of Puerto Rico's discovery, as well as activities held at important civic institutions, such as the Ateneo de Puerto Rico, the Círculo Sangermeño--a cultural association on the island, and the Escuela Laica Espiritista, which promoted the study of spiritualism. La Democracia was generally critical of the Catholic Church since it had represented the interests of the Spanish Crown, and also expressed reservations about the United States' separation of powers. After 1899, with the island under American rule, La Democracia introduced new advertisements for American companies such as the New York Porto Rico Steamship Co. and the Colonial Leaf Tobacco Co. Other topics covered in the paper included the design of a new American-inspired coat of arms for Puerto Rico, changes to the Civil Code that now permitted divorce, discussion about women's suffrage, and the distribution of Puerto Rican passports.

By 1905, La Democraciaproclaimed itself the largest circulating daily in Puerto Rico, with its headquarters then in San Juan. As time went on, the paper became less dogmatic and more commercial in its orientation, although it continued to report on governmental operations. La Democracia continued to publish until 1948.

Provided by: University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, Library System