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World of 1898: International Perspectives on the Spanish American War

Manuel Rojas

Although Manuel Rojas was born in Venezuela, he grew up in Puerto Rico. He was a member of the revolutionary group Centro Bravo, founded in Lares. He was one of the main leaders of the Grito de Lares, an uprising against the Spanish colonial government in 1868 (see below). He was arrested that October and sentenced to death by a court-martial, but he received amnesty soon after.

Grito de Lares

Several hundred women and men revolted against Spain for Puerto Rican independence on September 23, 1868. The most important figures in the uprising were Manuel Rojas, Mathias Bruckman, Joaquín Parilla, and Francisco Ramírez. The main leader was Ramón Betances but he was not given permission to enter the island. The insurrection failed because the population was apathetic, the rebels lacked adequate training and equipment, and the fact that the Spanish authorities knew of the rebels' plans in advance. Lola Rodríguez de Tió, a Puerto Rican writer, wrote a poem that became the lyrics to La Borinqueña, a revolutionary song and the rebel anthem.