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Boletín mercantil de Puerto Rico. : (San Juan, P.R.) 18??-1918
Place of publication:
San Juan, P.R.
Geographic coverage:
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico  |  View more titles from this: City State
Imprenta de Don Santiago Dalmáu
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1918.
Daily (except Sun.) Jan. 2, 1899-
  • Spanish
  • Puerto Rico--Newspapers.
  • Puerto Rico--San Juan.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214595
  • Puerto Rico.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01205432
  • San Juan (P.R.)--Newspapers.
  • "Diario de la tarde."
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 31, Núm. 1 (1 de enero de 1871).
sn 91099739
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Boletín mercantil de Puerto Rico. January 1, 1871 , Image 1


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Boletín mercantil de Puerto Rico

The Boletín mercantil de Puerto Rico first appeared on March 2, 1839, published as the Boletín Instructivo y mercantil de Puerto Rico, in San Juan. The Puerto Rico scholar Antonio S. Pedreira, in the voluminous El periodismo en Puerto Rico, underlined its importance as “a newspaper of transcendental significance in the history of newspapers in Puerto Rico”. The Boletín mercantil is regarded as one of the most important newspapers, second to the Gaceta, published in Puerto Rico during the last of the four centuries of Spanish domination on the island. It started as a bi-weekly publication, eventually becoming a daily paper.

The Spanish colonial establishment had two basic means of communication: the government’s Gaceta, and the Boletín mercantil, which was supported by and represented the prevailing Spanish commercial and land interests in Puerto Rico. The Boletínbrought to the forefront, from a conservative stance, the daily life of the Spaniards and their descendants in Puerto Rico. It served as an important resource to study the conservative pro-Spanish political currents in the colony. Even in the context of the military dictatorship imposed on Puerto Rico by Spain throughout the 19th century (stemming from the 16th century), the Boletín mercantil allowed space to a much wider spectrum of topics.

The point of view and interests of the merchants, who also handled finances (in the absence of banks until the 1890s) are reflected in editorials, articles, and position statements throughout. They are also grouped as conservatives in the Partido Conservador (1869), shortly after renamed Partido Incondicional Español (Unconditional Spanish Party). At least two pages of every issue are full of information on mercantile and merchant movements, economic production and activities, commodities and prices in Puerto Rico, and its relations with Spain and the world market (including European countries, the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America). Other topics covered include the activities of the Ateneo (main cultural institution), the Spanish Casino (social club), and daily incidents of the governors. The paper also covered changing movements and political currents in Spain and reproduced official documents and speeches from the Cortes (Spanish congress in Madrid). It reported on political events, such as the 1887 Componte (referring to a method of torture) under governor Romualdo Palacios, and accused the Autonomist Party of subversion.

As Pedreira noted, given the personal cultural interests of editors Santiago Dalmau and Ignacio Guasp, several issues of the Boletín include poems, sonnets, dramas, short stories, and literary reviews. Likewise, we find frequent announcements of theater performances, identification of actors/actresses, singers, musicians, and orchestras.

The Boletín mercantil published articles, news and advertisements regarding technology and inventions. There are plenty of drawings and photographs of technological devices within the industrial context, making this a very important source for the study of the history of technology both within Puerto Rico and worldwide.

Several announcements for books, textbooks, school supplies, and their prices are found in this publication, providing a glimpse of the literature that circulated in the colony during this time. Other advertisements from the selling of land, hotel accommodations, and restaurants appear throughout.

The Boletín serves as an important source of information about Puerto Rico in the historical crossroad of the Spanish- American War of 1898, the military government of 1898-1900, and the new political and economic directions taken under United States colonial rule in the first two decades of the 20th century. It published several pages in English, mainly international news. Once the U.S. civil administration began, with the Foraker Act of 1900, the Boletín informed its readers about the decisions taken by the Executive Council and the Cámara de Delegados (House of Representatives). It also reported the wars in the Philippines and in Cuba, and congratulated the latter for achieving independence in 1902.

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