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de la Guila, Espártaco

A horizontal La Selección trading card for Espártaco de la Guila that tells us the basics: his name; that he was a pitcher selected in round 5 with pick 322; that he was 1.72 meters (about 5'8") tall and weighed 80 kilos (about 175 pounds); that he batted and threw right-handed; that he was born on December 29th, 1834, in the town of Ponce; that he struck out 69 batters (nice), threw 39 complete games, and allowed 87 home runs. The card has a violet background with orange accents and border, which lets us know that Espártaco de la Guila was a member of the Brillantes de Naranjito even before we see the black Naranjito "N" on the orange flap at the bottom right.

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The fact that Espártaco de la Guila had a baseball career at all—let alone one where his name was called on the first day of La Selección, in the same round as luminaries like Villicana, Ocampo, Rendón, or Matías—is a testament to the triumph of the Revolution.

First and foremost, because Espártaco de la Guila was not born free, nor was he even born answering to “Espártaco.” Hubris may be one of the many sins of the slaveholding class, but even the most classically-minded among them strenuously avoided calling any of the men they owned by a name so redolent of rebellion—which is exactly why, as every historian of the late 19th-century Republic knows, it exploded in popularity among Black Puerto Rican men who, for the first time, were allowed to choose to what name they answered, and to whom.

De la Guila’s surname is equally easy to explain. Given the opportunity to craft a new name, he had selected del Águila1 as a suitably grandiose second barrel. Unfortunately, whichever clerk of the Army of National Liberation took down his information for the regimental roll had received a less-than-thorough grounding in the principles of Spanish orthography, and so butchered the spacing. Supposedly, by his playing days, de la Guila had come to appreciate the erroneous, if more unique, spelling.

Second, because de la Guila, at thirty-six, was significantly older than most of his future teammates and opponents, and for many ballplayers, their official age only told the first chapter of the story. Though the owners of sugar and coffee plantations in Puerto Rico had only just begun to industrialize their processes by the time the Republic was officially extant, that did not make the work any less arduous on the enslaved men and women who did much of it, and it only magnified the toll it exacted from their bodies.

Espártaco de la Guila was fortunate enough to still have the arm on which his career would rest, but, characteristically dissatisfied with being simply whole, he garnered a reputation in the Army of National Liberation for feats of legendary endurance—a particularly impressive feat considering how many of his fellow soldiers had also led lives marked by privation.

A line graph showing the cumulative percentage of the 2,028 players selected in 1871 after each numerical age is taken into account; 18-year-olds represented under 2 percent of them, but 18- and 19-year-olds represented just over 4 percent. The majority (54 percent) happens once 29-year-olds are added to the equation; by de la Guila's 37-year-olds, almost 93 percent of players are represented.

The 2,028 men who signed Selección contracts came from 76 of the island’s 78 post-Republic municipalities (though Barranquitas and Maricao would join the parade in due time) and an even broader variety of personal loyalties and owed favors, many of which won a young cousin or an old sergeant a late-round selection.

A line graph showing the percentage of the 2,028 players in La Selección who were drafted at each age. As expected, the peak is clustered around the late twenties, with ages 27-29 all coming in at 8 percent or above; de la Guila's age of 37 is half that, at 4 percent. Notably, there were both players under twenty and players over forty selected.

No surprises here: though nearly every team’s general manager took a gamble on a seventeen- or eighteen-year-old who’d picked up the game watching the local regiment play, the vast majority of their rosters were made out of dependable men in their twenties and thirties.

Most famously, Espártaco de la Guila was one of the three survivors of the Pelotón Tragao2, a group of volunteer soldiers who went days without food, medical treatment, or company as they covered the escape of the Batallón Eleuterio Gómez3 after the Reversal at Comerío.

The valiant effort saved nearly a hundred lives and gained all three men señalamientos4; in de la Guila’s case, it vouchsafed him a promotion to sergeant and, after recovering at El Recóndito5 in Culebra, an appointment to its guard.

However relative his newfound safety was, it apparently so bored him that he learned to read and write in order to pass the time: though he was listed as analfabeto6 in the Informe general of 1870, his Selección contract a few months later bore his full name, signed in his own hand.

Third, because de la Guila, like many other men and women of Puerto Rico, did not wait for the Revolution to come to him. When the Insular Government’s founding promise of final and total abolition reached the ears of the thousands of men and women still enslaved in Puerto Rico, many of them listened. When Francisco Ramírez Medina7 declared that “every man, woman and child born within our liberated precincts is free and equal since being born,” more than a few gathered friends and arms to await the proper opportunity.

Unwittingly, it was the Spaniards who provided that moment, when they chose to regroup in the east of the island. There, with plentiful men and supplies, they found it easy to crush the few uprisings that did arise. In the north of the island, however, where most soldiers had either gone east to reinforce San Juan or west to bolster the forces at Aguadilla, the local landowners had been left almost defenseless, and the martilleros8 took advantage.

Despite a near-total lack of support—the Insular Government did not even bother to send a representative to Vega Alta until its troops had already brought it into Republic territory—they attacked overseers, destroyed machinery, burned manor houses, and generally made themselves enough of a nuisance to encourage the manumission the revolutionaries had hoped landowners would enact voluntarily.

De la Guila never spoke of his activities in this regard. He seems to have avoided the town of Vega Alta altogether: when he trained pitchers for Río Grande and Hormigueros, he refused to travel with the team for road games there.

This may seem a particularly long introduction, but given the trajectory of de la Guila’s career, it is especially important to understand how he had spent the years before his baseball career began.


Despite being selected in the fifth round, which provided plenty of serviceable starters across the Liga Nacional, Espártaco de la Guila did not pitch a game in 1871. It is unknown how he spent the time.

Naranjito finished 20-18, but in their division, a mere game above .500 did not get you to the torneo.


In 1872, however, intrigued by the opportunity of the doble ciclo, Naranjito manager Horacio Martín gave the mound to Espártaco de la Guila on April 4th, 1872, against Florida.

He needed a second starter, and de la Guila had apparently learned to throw six different ways while in Culebra. Furthermore, a man with his outlandish stamina could be expected to finish what he started.

Besides, he had proven quite efficient in the season opener, where he shut down Guayama on four pitches after entering with two men on base, in order to keep the game within reach.

In short, it was a defensible decision, at least until the game began.

De la Guila had flashed enough brilliance that his inauspicious debut would not cost him his roster spot, but he had not achieved the one thing Martín needed from him: a complete game.

For the second game in a row, and in only the second game of the season, Naranjito had needed three pitchers to get through a contest. In an era where games were rarely, if ever, won from the pen, this was a problem.

More dismally, it was a recurring theme. Left without a truly dependable moundsman by a front office unwilling to spend premium money when they had four arms under contract, Martín made do with what he aptly termed el carrusel, from the way nearly every game saw nearly every pitcher warm up for the Brillantes.

RHP Eneas Bahena

A cameo portrait of Eneas Bahena, the Brillantes pitcher, in a modern uniform: a white jersey with light piping around the collar, worn over a dark undershirt, and a hat with the Naranjito "N" superimposed. His image is placed on a violet background with slashes of various shades of orange.
  • Born: 03/19/1841, in Ponce, PR.
  • Batted: Right.
  • Threw: Right.
  • Selected: Round 12, Pick 917.
  • Played: Naranjito, 1872-1879.
  • Retired: 1879.

Inexplicably, Bahena was known to his teammates as “Enriquito.” Due to his rather uninspiring two-pitch arsenal, he was not activated until August of 1872, by which point he could only notch four games. He became the rare premium 1870s relief arm, pitching at least 30 innings every year until he retired.

RHP Celso Herrera

A cameo portrait of Celso Herrera, the Brillantes pitcher, in a modern uniform: a white jersey with light piping around the collar, worn over a dark undershirt, and a hat with the Naranjito "N" superimposed. His image is placed on a violet background with slashes of various shades of orange.
  • Born: 10/11/1832, in Cataño, PR.
  • Batted: Switch.
  • Threw: Right.
  • Selected: Round 9, Pick 644.
  • Played: Naranjito, 1871-1873.
  • Retired: 1873.

Although Herrera was not the first-rounder most teams would have assigned to start in 1871, Herrera was durable and cool under pressure, which won him the job. Unfortunately, the Brillantes soon discovered his calm came from a surprising awareness of his incompetence, thus requiring the carrusel system.

RHP Pablo Nazario

A cameo portrait of Pablo Nazario, the Brillantes pitcher, in a modern uniform: a white jersey with light piping around the collar, worn over a dark undershirt, and a hat with the Naranjito "N" superimposed. His image is placed on a violet background with slashes of various shades of orange.
  • Born: 09/18/1840, in San Juan, PR.
  • Batted: Right.
  • Threw: Right.
  • Selected: Round 1, Pick 59.
  • Played: Naranjito, 1871-1876.
  • Retired: 1877.

By all rights, Nazario should have shouldered the principal pitching load for Naranjito. His phlegmatic demeanor, which won him the aposematic nickname “El Resfriado,” unfortunately also made club officers reluctant to deploy him, despite their dire need for a starting pitcher who knew what he was doing.

OF Gabriel Cardona

A cameo portrait of Gabriel Cardona, the Brillantes left fielder and emergency pitcher, in a modern uniform: a white jersey with light piping around the collar, worn over a dark undershirt, and a hat with the Naranjito "N" superimposed. His image is placed on a violet background with slashes of various shades of orange.
  • Born: 03/20/1842, in Trujillo Alto, PR.
  • Batted: Left.
  • Threw: Left.
  • Selected: Round 10, Pick 761.
  • Played: Naranjito, 1871-1880.
  • Retired: 1880.

Cardona suffered from that vilest curse of the early ballplayer: versatility. Despite his flashes of skill at the plate and the passable caliber of his outfield play in all thirds, he never demonstrated proper brilliance with either the stick or the glove, and was therefore relegated to platoon work—and emergency pitching.

That, and a bottom-third defense, ensured they would end the season at 33-43, well below .500 and in third place—but only a game and a half back from Corozal.

In de la Guila’s case, given his tendency to walk or plunk batters onto first, this combination of circumstances was an odd gift: even if he instigated or prolonged many of the jams in which he ended up, it was his fielders whose butcheries resulted in runs.

Not that he ever dodged responsibility for a bad start: Martín later said he never heard de la Guila lose his temper with a teammate, and that, in fact, he often insisted on finishing losing efforts to save other arms for winnable games.

That honesty earned him the respect of those few teammates who were not already awed by the presence of a real, live martillero among their ranks.

So did the effort he put forward at the plate, swinging so hard that he was sat down 17 times, tying for the league lead, and yet showing just enough plate discipline that he drew two walks with the bases loaded.

It is difficult to imagine de la Guila needing respect from men who, almost by default, had spent the last few years in more comfort than him, but he likely appreciated it.

A line graph showing how each game pitched in 1872 affected de la Guila's earned run average (ERA), plotted against weekly dates. After starting in the 3.00-3.50 area, it hovers in the 2.50-3.00 range for almost the entire rest of the season, dipping as low as 2.35 for a stretch in May.

Only 20.1 innings of Espártaco de la Guila’s 1872 workload was in relief, and he did not allow a walk over those sixty-one outs, which is the highest praise his performance in relief deserves. His ERA was slightly above the mark—because it was buoyed by an absolutely terrible defense.

A scatter plot showing the runs and earned runs Espártaco de la Guila allowed in each start. Most of the time, the total runs (depicted in purple) are quite a bit higher than the earned runs (in orange), correctly suggesting an absolutely terrible defense.

Second verse, worse than the first: many of de la Guila’s losses were caused by unearned runs, which often accounted for 4-5 scores above the ones that were, technically, his fault. True aces of the time were capable of pitching their way out of these jams, but he had neither the precision nor the reliable fielding to achieve that.

A scatter plot showing how many innings Espártaco de la Guila pitched in each of his 39 starts—already one more than the average starter in 1872. He always made it to at least the fifth inning, and generally made it to the seventh, with a few incomplete starts, all of which he lost.

Wins are in blue, losses are in red. Due to the every-other-day schedule in 1872, de la Guila usually went four days between starts—but as this chart shows, he was sometimes asked to start multiple games in a row, and that does not include games where he relieved a starter. It’s a wonder he completed even half of them.

A scatter plot showing Espártaco de la Guila's 39 starts by game score. Though he had some brilliant games (an 80+ and a couple more touching or exceeding 70), most of his starts, including a few wins, were in the sub-50 range.

Wins still in blue, losses still in red. Game score is an imperfect metric in many ways, but in this era, when even bad pitchers often finished their own games, it makes more sense as an analytical tool. De la Guila could throw a good game, but most of these are stinkers, even accounting for the failures he didn’t commit.

A scatter plot showing how many home runs Espártaco de la Guila allowed in each start. Notably, he either allowed one or none.

18 home runs allowed “led” the entire Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña: running up was Aguada‘s Antonio Alvarado with 13. There are good stretches of work here (notably, de la Guila won those four last starts where he did not allow a roundtripper), but of the six home runs he allowed in late July and August, five gave the opposing team the lead, and three were grand slams.

Even in 1872, it was an open question how brilliant a 38-year-old could be as a pitcher.

No teammate, no matter how disappointed at missing the torneo, would have denied that Martín and de la Guila had done their best—at least, not to the latter’s face, not when legends of him walking into the Torre de San Blas9 covered in several days of beard, blood and branches still passed around veterans’ clubs.

Partly, that was because the 1872 edition of El Colorido just wasn’t a very good team, as their play had more than proved. Naranjito had plenty of speedy players—they were second in stolen bases only to the Tortugas—but their offensive prowess was otherwise so lacking that it suggests their wheels were most useful to take advantage of other teams’ defensive miscues.

It was also because these men were baseball players, and as strange as that made them in the Puerto Rico of the 1870s, they were just as prone as other men to thinking their luck would turn.

Then the next year arrived.


In April of 1873, Naranjito rolled out Herrera and Nazario as an extremely sensible starting rotation. Both had shown they could handle the workload, and Nazario in particular just needed some polish to become a bona fide ace.

With Bahena and de la Guila as a relatively well-stocked bullpen, if Herrera just gave them league-average work, they would have no trouble improving on their previous season.

Unfortunately for that plan, Celso Herrera was a 40-year-old man whose arm was no longer in sporting condition. He would retire after the season, and after a quiet 1874, served a few years as pitching coach for San Juan before becoming the masterful pitching coach of the Cuban league’s Leopardos de Santa Clara, who won thirteen pennants in a row and turned eight of them into national titles.

Now that his dependable veteran had developed a tendency to give up longballs, Horacio Martín found himself, for the second year in a row, with 38 games that needed a starter.

He made, as he tended to make, the most sensical decision under the circumstances.

Celso Herrera had retired under the humiliation of giving up five home runs in a month.

Espártaco de la Guila, clearly made of sterner stuff, had given up four home runs in under six innings . . . and there was no lesson to be learned, because they had won the game regardless.

Martín must have been flummoxed.

Twenty days later, he perhaps felt a little less confused—if significantly more frustrated.

These were two especially bad games. Two eerily similar especially bad games.

May 3rd (at Carolina)May 23rd (at Guánica)
innings pitched5.25.1
hits allowed1111
earned runs65
home runs allowed44
pitches thrown9283
strikes thrown6259
game score1821

On the one hand, the Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña of the 1870s was not interested in posterity, and home runs were so rare that some early umpires had to be reminded that they existed. On the other, it would be nothing short of appalling if this was not the record for home runs allowed in a single game—and de la Guila had now done it twice in less than a month.

Unfortunately for Martín, Nazario, Bahena, Herrera and the rest of the Naranjito men, the rest of his year was not much more encouraging.

innings pitched328.0199.2
quality starts295
complete games192
home runs allowed1848
hit batsmen1910
wild pitches93
walks + hits per inning1.331.72
wins above replacement-0.2-7.5

The 48 home runs Espártaco de la Guila allowed that year would stand as a record for more or less the entirety of the early Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña: not until 1889 would any other pitcher allow more than 40 in a season, and that was with fifty more games to play.

He gave up two grand slams, neither to a player who could generally be accused of being a power hitter, and on four separate occasions gave up back-to-back home runs, including on July 8th, when he allowed two Capitanes players the first and only home runs they would each hit during that season.

That is the most famous, and most damning, number from the 1873 season—alongside the pitiful two complete games, as many as Celso Herrera had thrown in the month he was able to play with the remnants of his collateral ligaments—but it by no means tells the whole story.

A line graph showing how each game affected de la Guila's earned run average (ERA). After a horrible early climb to a season high of 10.97, he (very) gradually works it down to a still-execrable 5.99.

Espártaco de la Guila, 1873 (reliever): 21.2 IP, 0-0 (1 SV), 0 K / 0 BB, 3 HR, 2.08 ERA (154 ERA+).
Espártaco de la Guila, 1873 (starter): 178.0 IP, 5-17, 13 K / 22 BB, 45 HR, 6.47 ERA (we don’t even want to know).

Had Martín’s plan not relied on a quadragenarian arm, de la Guila could have spent a year as a pretty decent reliever for a beleaguered rotation. Instead, being pushed into long service made him the worst pitcher in Liga Hostos by some distance.

A scatter plot showing the runs and earned runs de la Guila allowed in each 1873 start. While there's still some separation, the gap is smaller, suggesting that more of the runs are due to de la Guila's pitching.

Naranjito’s defense was in the exact same place as 1872, relative to the rest of the league (namely, in the toilet)—so the fact that the separation here is often smaller than in the previous season is fairly revealing about de la Guila’s pitching.

A scatter plot showing how many innings de la Guila pitched in each of his 32 starts. He only made it through two whole games, and usually left the game in the sixth inning if not before.

Wins are in blue, losses are in red. This was the cruellest indictment against de la Guila at the time: a pitcher was expected to finish the games he started, even while being shelled. Unfortunately, Martín was too afraid of losing his other workhorse to keep him in any game that had become a rout against the Brillantes.

A scatter plot showing de la Guila's 32 starts by game score. Gone are the brilliant games: the new ceiling is around a 52, with most games in the 20-30 range.

Wins still in blue, losses still in red. It is completely understandable that de la Guila was not the same man as last year: he was 38, dealing with the effects of his various war wounds, and not especially motivated on a team that was clearly not going to the torneo.

Even controlling for that, this is a dreadful season.

The most infamous chart of all: de la Guila's 32 starts in 1873, plotted by how many home runs he allowed in each one. This does not include the three home runs he gave up as a reliever, but it's disastrous enough.

Obviously, de la Guila had allowed more home runs than anyone else—otherwise this article would not be about him—but he actually more than lapped the competition: the runner-up this year, Alcibíades Segovia of Hormigueros, allowed only 19.

Finding a silver lining would usually have been the thirteenth labor after a pitching campaign this catastrophic, but Naranjito had actual reasons to be happy—as in, reasons other than knowing the next season could not be worse.

A bar chart of how many home runs each team allowed in 1873. The Brillantes are top of the list by far, with 58 home runs—and if de la Guila had been his own baseball team, he would've been second, with 48.

While Naranjito would still have been pretty high up without de la Guila, at 10 home runs allowed, it at least would've been reasonable, not nearly twice as much as the next closest team.

Also, the Telegrafistas did not allow a single home run this year.

On the one hand, de la Guila’s season had been so dire that he had been “worth” seven losses to his team—seven losses they could ill afford, because they had once again finished 33-43, and six games back from Barranquitas, although that was good enough for second place in 1873.

On the other, they managed to finish 33-43 in spite of both de la Guila’s wretched year on the mound and fielding that had taken a significant step backwards, thanks to a rebounding offense that sacrificed a little speed for quality contact.

De la Guila became somewhat infamous for “evading” responsibility for many of his starts turning sour, due to his teammates scoring enough runs to keep games competitive until, almost invariably, opposing lineups backed by reliable starting pitchers finally ganged up on a gassed Nazario or Bahena in the bottom third or extras.

In fact, some wag at La Central commented on an internal document that Nazario and Bahena had lost seventeen games apiece, “but only the great Espártaco could lose a game his team wanted to win.”

How Horacio Martín managed to repeatedly pull a pitcher who had once spent three days shadowing a Spanish patrol before hacking them to death would be a question for the ages, except that we have Martín’s own words on the subject.

If the front office could be convinced to sign a real second pitcher, or a couple better fielders in important positions, they had a real shot at the torneo. For the first time in Horacio Martín’s tenure as Naranjito skipper, there was real, unadulterated hope for the future.

Instead, the front office allowed every pitcher on the winter market to go to other teams, Naranjito was forced to start de la Guila for a third consecutive year, and to boot, Nazario’s 1873 was merely above average, rather than dominant.

Fortunately, though de la Guila’s offspeed pitches continued to decline, he was at least bad in a way that was understandable at the time. For the first time in his career, had to settle for being third in home runs allowed, behind old friend Segovia and Vieques Sancho González.

innings pitched328.0199.2276.2
quality starts29524
complete games19218
home runs allowed184821
hit batsmen191017
wild pitches936
walks + hits per inning1.331.721.31
wins above replacement-0.2-7.5-2.6

Buoyed by their stabilized pitching (“improved” seems a stretch) Naranjito finished 34-42, five games back, and the front office finally signed Felipe Esquibel on the winter market, beginning their long climb towards respectability and a streak of playoff appearances that included several years among the top lineups in Liga Hostos.

It would not, however, be Horacio Martín leading that team. Along with general manager Prudencio Borbolla, who had bowed to sponsorial pressure in refusing to spend money on a top rotation, Martín had been fired some days before the end of the regular season—a move that likely influenced de la Guila’s decision to retire after the torneo was over, as he had always respected Martín’s forthrightness with his players.

Plus, he was nearing forty, and it was clear he would not have the same success as a pitcher that he did as a soldier. For a man who had handled years of violence and horror with nothing but implacable resolve, the recognition of his age and concomitant uselessness in his new chosen career would have been rather difficult.

He retired with a thoroughly substandard record, like many older pitchers of his decade, but in one respect—one we suspect most readers will already have guessed—he was once again a legend.

A scatter plot showing the 100 pitchers who had allowed the most home runs through 1890, the last year in which de la Guila ranked among them. His lonely orange marker is the fastest anyone has accumulated that many, by some distance.

After his playing career, de la Guila trained pitchers for various teams, none with any particular success. His four-year stop in Aibonito was by far his best work, but then it was also where he had the best clay to work with, and he had never chosen the easy task.

He attempted to serialize his memoirs in the Voz del Valle, but they did not prove popular enough to sustain the paper’s popularity, and it folded in 1891.

From there, very little evidence is available of the rest of the life of Espártaco de la Guila.

There are legends that he returned to El Recóndito10 as a porter; that he rejoined the Insular Forces during the invasion of 1898; that he departed for parts unknown; that he brought organized baseball to Haiti; that he died fighting a bear in Kamchatka.

Whatever the truth may be, these stories share an appropriate awe of a man who, given a chance to literally make his name and place in the society of the Republic, did so with more determination than almost any of his compatriots. In that, Espártaco de la Guila was living proof of the victory of the Revolution.

No amount of baseballs he watched disappear over the fence could take that away.


  1. lit., “of the eagle.” ↩︎
  2. lit., “Swallowed Platoon.” Volunteer unit named as a rather patibular pun on their exploits in the town of Comerío, whose name is supposedly derived from a man yelling ¡ay, que me come el río! (“oh no, the river’s going to eat me!”). At its “founding,” the Pelotón comprised around 25 men, each of whom received a rifle, a machete, a (notoriously unreliable) grenade, whatever ammunition could be spared, and the encouragements and prayers of their comrades, who were otherwise quite surrounded by the Spanish Army. They began their grueling campaign in October of 1869; the last of the survivors rejoined the Army of National Liberation ten months later. ↩︎
  3. Officially the 1st (and only) Battalion, 9th Regiment of the Army of National Liberation, intended to incorporate any men the revolutionaries emancipated, before high command realized it made far more sense to integrate them into existing units. Named for Eleuterio Gómez (1845-1868), an enslaved man in Ponce who, upon hearing of the Revolution, killed his owner and attempted to flee to the Insular Government. Gómez was caught and hanged by the municipal government, which would soon be ejected by the Red Lions, who first created a battalion in his name. It never exceeded two hundred men in size, and was disbanded shortly after the War of National Liberation. ↩︎
  4. lit., “a pointing out.” Since the Army of National Liberation could spare neither the metal nor the labor to strike medals during the Revolution, soldiers worthy of individual recognition were instead mentioned by their generals in official reports. The honor of being a señalado was later buttressed with an automatic promotion and a small pension. ↩︎
  5. lit. “The Remote One.” Military hospital whose frenzied construction (on the then-uninhabited island of Culebra) and equally intense defense from Spaniard attacks is the subject of some of the most defabulated exploits of the Army of National Liberation. Eventually, it was replaced by a more permanent structure suitable for use as a veterans’ home. The current edition of the Recóndito, its fourth, was inaugurated in 1987.. ↩︎
  6. “Illiterate.” An unsurprisingly common designation in an army made up mostly of peasants and former enslaved men. ↩︎
  7. First President of the Insular Republic of Puerto Rico (1868-1871), who led the Insular Government through three turbulent years of revolution. His reward was being displaced by his own chief soldier, General Rojas, on whom he promptly avenged himself as the President of the Constitutional Assembly (1872-1876). ↩︎
  8. lit., “hammerers.” Militias made up of former slaves who revolted, escaped, and took violent action against the slaveholding class. The name stems from an incident in which Getulio Perales García, a particularly abusive slaveholder whose lands straddled Vega Alta and Vega Baja, was beaten to death in his bed by several of the men and women he owned. ↩︎
  9. Breathtakingly grandiose name for the hastily-erected wooden “fortification” the Red Lions erected to mark the northeastern border of their territory, shortly before the Treaty of Orocovis joined them to the Insular Government. Served as a lookout and rally point for soldiers entering Spanish-held territory in the eastern Cordillera. ↩︎
  10. See #5. ↩︎


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