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1 - The Myth of the Disappeared Legion of Proprietors

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 January 2020

César J. Ayala
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
Laird W. Bergad
Affiliation:
Lehman College, City University of New York
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Summary

During the crisis of the Great Depression of the 1930s, Pedro Albizu Campos, the president of Puerto Rico’s Nationalist Party, repeatedly stated that the island had to “reconstitute the legion of proprietors that existed before 1898.” Puerto Rico’s export sector was heavily dependent on sugar, and the sugar-producing zones of the island were characterized by great social inequalities. The concentration of landownership was acute and was paralleled by large-scale rural landlessness and the proletarianization of workers. What stands out in Albizu’s denunciations of US colonialism is not the very real social and economic inequalities of the 1930s, but the assertion that these began in 1898, the year the United States invaded Puerto Rico.

Type
Chapter
Information
Agrarian Puerto Rico
Reconsidering Rural Economy and Society, 1899–1940
, pp. 15 - 40
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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