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date: 05 April 2020

Saco, José Antonio locked

1797–1879 White Cuban intellectual who wrote one of the first extensive histories of slavery in Spanish America and promoted abolition in order to decrease the number of blacks in Cuba.
  • Liliana Obregón

Extract

José Antonio Saco received what was a typical education for Catholic boys in early-nineteenth-century Cuba. He first studied in a small schoolhouse next to his home and later transferred to a Catholic school in Santiago de Cuba. Saco continued higher-level education in modern philosophy at the San Carlos seminar in Havana. Under the tutelage of Father Félix Varela y Morales, one of the most influential professors and prominent intellectuals of his time, Saco studied with a group of young men who were to become representatives of the urban bourgeoisie that promoted the independence of Cuba from Spain. In his autobiography Saco claims that these early years with Varela, who provided guidance and friendship and whom Saco considered the “most virtuous man” he ever met, were definitive in the formation of his thinking and ideology.

In 1821 Varela asked Saco to take over his seminar in ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.

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