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Florencia Guzmán

accomplished master cobbler and organizer of a guild of shoemakers of color in Buenos Aires (Argentina) during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 1793, with the objective of obtaining official recognition for this guild, he traveled to Spain, where he had a meeting with the royal authorities. While there he managed to obtain the permission he had fought so hard for, but he was prevented from carrying out his plans for the guild because of other restrictions. As a result, he became bitter and left Buenos Aires.

Baquero was born in Buenos Aires in 1748 and began working as an apprentice cobbler at the age of 12 Though no details are known about his parents it is clear that Baquero followed the custom of leaving his home and living with the family of a master cobbler whose scarce resources he shared After four years of working intensely as ...


Bethsaida Nieves

was born on 24 October 1790 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Lucas Andino, a cigar maker and teacher, and Rita Molina, teacher. On his baptismal record, his full name is listed as Rafael Cordero y Molina, and in later life he was known as “El Maestro.” Rafael Cordero’s mother was the daughter of Bibiana Molina, a freewoman of African descent. His father was related to José Campeche, a Puerto Rican artist of African descent, and the son of Juan Eugenio Valentín, a slave of African descent and cigar maker, and Ana Cordero, a freewoman of African descent. It is believed that Rafael’s parents, Lucas Andino and Rita Molina, reclaimed the name “Cordero” as a symbol of Ana Cordero’s freedom. It is not known how Bibiana Molina, Ana Cordero, or Juan Eugenio Valentín obtained their freedom. From 1508 to 1873 slavery was legal and commonly practiced in Puerto Rico ...


Jorge E. Chinea

remembered as a successful mulato shoemaker who in spite of the overwhelming odds stacked up against him managed to become a well-known and influential armador de corsos, or corsair outfitter, described variously as calculating, generous, dependable, notorious, daring, wicked, pious, and resourceful. Born in the Puerto Rican capital city of San Juan around the mid-1670s, Miguel Enríquez was certainly one of the most colorful figures of Spanish America during his lifetime. By devoting himself to the job at hand, befriending people in high places, and taking advantage of promising opportunities for personal advancement, he grew his supplier business into a vast commercial venture. Although he enthusiastically cultivated the support of leading members of colonial society—from governors to presidents of the Real Audiencia (Royal Court)—throughout his life he suffered the devastating effects of racial prejudice and discrimination that sought to fix individuals belonging to the so-called castas nonwhites in ...