José Celso Barbosa

José Celso Barbosa
José Celso Barbosa
Dr. José Celso Barbosa
Member of the Executive Cabinet
In office
Member of the Senate
In office
Personal details
Born 27 July 1857(1857-07-27)
Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Died 21 September 1921(1921-09-21) (aged 64)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Nationality Puerto Rican
Political party Puerto Rican Republican Party
Spouse(s) Belén Sánchez
Children Twelve (12)
Alma mater Medical School of the University of Michigan
Profession Medical physician, sociologist, and political leader of Puerto Rico
Religion Roman Catholic

Dr. José Celso Barbosa (July 27, 1857 – September 21, 1921) was a medical Physician, sociologist, and political leader of Puerto Rico.

Known within Puerto Rico's New Progressive Party as "The father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement"[1], Barbosa was also the first Puerto Rican to be awarded an American (United States) medical degree.


Early years

House where Dr. Barbosa was born

Barbosa was born in the city of Bayamón, Puerto Rico; he received both his primary and secondary education in Puerto Rico. He was the first person who had both black ancestry and white ancestry to attend Puerto Rico's prestigious Jesuit Seminary. After graduating from the Seminary, Barbosa tutored private students to save money to attend college. In 1875, he moved to New York to attend prep school where he learned English in a year.[2]

Originally Barbosa wished to become a lawyer, but after a bout of pneumonia in New York City, his doctor recommended he study medicine rather than law. In 1877, he was admitted to the medical school of the University of Michigan, where he graduated valedictorian of the class of 1880. He returned to the island where he set up his practice in his native hometown.[3]

First Puerto Rican with an American medical degree

The Spanish government did not recognize Barbosa's medical degree as it was not from one of the European universities. It took the intervention of the American consul to the island for Barbosa's degree to be recognized. Barbosa was the first person in the island with an American medical degree. He practiced medicine all over the island, and introduced the novel idea of employers paying a fee for the future health care needs of their employees (a very early health insurance system). In 1893, Barbosa founded the first Puerto Rican cooperative and named it "El Ahorro Colectivo".[2]

Political career

Barbosa was a member of the Autonomous Party led by Román Baldorioty de Castro but left because of ideological differences.

In 1898, when the United States bombarded and blockaded San Juan during the Spanish–American War, Barbosa together with other doctors who lived in Bayamon, traveled to the town of Cataño and boarded a ferry headed towards San Juan. Barbosa, as member of the Red Cross, went to the aid of the wounded Puerto Rican and Spanish soldiers. The ferry trip which crossed San Juan Bay was dangerous due to cannon fire. Barbosa and those with him were recommended by the Spanish government to be decorated with the Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Naval (The Naval Cross of the Order of Merit) for their bravery.[4]

On July 4, 1899, Barbosa formed the pro-statehood Puerto Rican Republican Party as a reaction to the outcome of the Spanish-American War, in which Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States; he became known as the father of the "Statehood for Puerto Rico" movement.[1]

Later years

Bust of Dr. Barbosa

On June 5, 1900, President William McKinley named Barbosa, together with Rosendo Matienzo Cintrón, José de Diego, Manuel Camuñas and Andrés Crosas as part of an Executive Cabinet under U.S. appointed Governor Charles H. Allen. The Executive Cabinet also included six American members.[5] Barbosa served in Executive Cabinet until 1917 and as a member of the Puerto Rican Senate from 1917 to 1921. In 1907, he established the newspaper "El Tiempo", the first bilingual newspaper on the island. José Celso Barbosa died in San Juan on September 21, 1921. He was laid to rest in Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery in Old San Juan. His daughter Pilar Barbosa would one day become a renowned historian, the Official Historian of Puerto Rico from 1993 to 1997 and a political activist who would carry on her father's work.[6]


In honour of Barbosa's accomplishments, Puerto Rico has declared his birthday, July 27, an official holiday. Barbosa's house in Bayamón has been converted into a museum in which many of his awards, certificates, books and other artifacts of interest are exhibited.[7] On July 20, 2006 the House of Representatives approved the Dr. Jose Celso Barbosa Post Office Building Designation Act to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 100 Avenida RL Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, as the Dr. Jose Celso Barbosa Post Office Building. On August 1, 2006, the President of the United States, George W. Bush signed the bill. It's now Public Law 109-253.[8]

See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • José Celso Barbosa — (* 27. Juli 1857 in Bayamón, Puerto Rico; † 21. September 1921 in San Juan, Puerto Rico) war ein Mediziner, Soziologe und politischer Führer. Er war der erste gemischt ethnische Schüler in Puerto Ricos prestigereichem Jesuiten Seminar …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • José Celso Barbosa — Alcalá (1857 1921) fue un político y médico puertorriqueño. Nació el 27 de julio de 1857, en la calle de La Palma, en Bayamón, la que hoy lleva su nombre. A pesar de ser de humilde origen, ingresó en el Seminario Conciliar de San Juan debido a su …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • José Celso Barbosa — Dr. José Celso Barbosa José Celso Barbosa (Bayamón, 27 de julio de 1857 San Juan; 21 de septiembre de 1921), médico, sociólogo y líder político puertorriqueño …   Wikipedia Español

  • Dr. Jose Celso Barbosa Post Office Building Designation Act — H.R. 3440 redirects here. For the star (HD 74071), see List of stars in Vela. The Dr. Jose Celso Barbosa Post Office Building Designation Act (Pub.L. 109 253, 120 Stat. 656) designates the facility of the United States Postal Service… …   Wikipedia

  • Barbosa — ist der Name folgender Personen: Alecsandro Barbosa Felisbino (* 1981; genannt Alecsandro), brasilianischer Fußballspieler Alexandre José Barbosa Lima Sobrinho (1897–2000), brasilianischer Rechtsanwalt, Schriftsteller und Politiker Antônio… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Barbosa — is a Portuguese surname: * In Brazil: ** Barbosa, São Paulo ** Carlos Barbosa * In Colombia: ** Barbosa, Antioquia ** Barbosa, Bolivar ** Barbosa, SantanderBarbosa is also the name of some famous people: * Adoniran Barbosa, a Brazilian singer *… …   Wikipedia

  • Celso — ist ein männlicher Vorname. Herkunft und Bedeutung Celso ist die italienische und spanische Form des lateinischen Namens Celsus. Namensträger Celso Amorim (* 1942), Außenminister von Brasilien José Celso Barbosa (1857–1921), Mediziner, Soziologe… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pilar Barbosa — Dr. Pilar Barbosa de Rosario (July 4, 1898 January 22, 1997) was an educator, historian and political activist. Early yearsBarbosa born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, was one of twelve children of Jose Celso Barbosa, also known as the Father of the… …   Wikipedia

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in metropolitan San Juan, Puerto Rico — This portion of National Register of Historic Places listings in Puerto Rico covers the San Juan metropolitan area of Puerto Rico. See also: National Register of Historic Places listings in southern Puerto Rico National Register of Historic… …   Wikipedia

  • Bayamón — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Municipio de Bayamón Archivo:Escbayamon2.gif Bandera del Municipio …   Wikipedia Español

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