Juan Ponce De León

Spanish colonizer and conqueror


He was the First Governor in Puerto Rico.

Juan Ponce De León was a Spanish Conquistador. He was born in Santervás de Campos (Valladolid). As a young man he joined the war to conquer Granada, the last Moorish state on the Iberian peninsula. Ponce de León accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World.  He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish Crown. He is regarded as the first European known to have visited what is now the continental United States, as he foot in Florida in 1513.  It is thought that Ponce first landed on the site where Cockburn Town is located, on Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos Islands.  He helped conquer the Taínos of the eastern part of Hispaniola, and was rewarded with the governorship of the Province of Higuey that was created there. While there he heard stories of the wealth of Boriken (now Puerto Rico), and he sought and received permission to go there. In 1508, Ponce de León founded the first settlement in Puerto Rico, Caparra (later relocated to San Juan). He was greeted with open arms by the Taíno Cacique, Agueybaná, and quickly gained control of the island. As a result, Ponce de Leon was named Governor of Puerto Rico in 1509. Ponce de León and the other conquistadors forced the Tainos to work in the mines and to construct fortifications. The Tainos died in great numbers after exposure to the European diseases the sailors brought with them and to which they had no immunity. Ponce de León, however, became rich while serving as Governor.  The Spanish Crown by then had selected Ponce de León to colonize and govern the island of Puerto Rico.  The popular story that Ponce de León was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he discovered Florida is misconceived. He was seeking a spiritual rebirth with new glory, honor, and personal enrichment, not a biological rebirth through the waters of the Fountain of Youth. The Tainos had told the Spanish of a large, rich island to the north named Bimini, and Ponce de Leon was searching for gold, slaves and lands to claim and govern for Spain, all of which he hoped to find at Bimini and other islands.

Don Juan De Haro y Savitores


He was the Second Governor in Puerto Rico. 
He confront the Hollanders when they attact Puerto Rico.


Ramón Castro y Gutiérrez
1795 - 1804
Field Marshal 


He was the Third Governor in Puerto Rico from 1795 to 1804.

General Manuel Macías Casado


Last Spanish Governor of Puerto Rico.  At the start of the Hispanic-American War, Puerto Rico was governed by the "Carta Autonomica"(a form of a constitutional autonomy), established on November  25, 1897 by the Spanish government.  The autonomic government was inaugurated on February 9, 1898, five months before the invasion.  This was well accepted by Puerto Rican society and its leaders, who created autonomist assembly in Ponce in 1887, under the presidency of Ramon Baldorioty de Castro.  The structure of government under the Autonomic Letter provided administrative autonomy, as well as an insular parliament, composed of two chambers and a general governor, to govern the island.  The autonomic letter could not be modified by the Spanish parliament without previous solicitation of the insular parliament.  According to the Spanish Constitution of that period, sixteen deputies and five senators represented Puerto Rico with rights in the Spanish Courts.  With its establishment, members of the two Puerto Rican political parties composed a cabinet of secretaries:  "Autonomistas Ortodoxos" or "Puros and the Liberals".  The General Lieutenant Manuel Macias Casado was the last Spanish governor in Puerto Rico, holding office from February 2 to October 16, 1898.  Manuel Macias inaugurated the Autonomic Government and on February 10 appointed the first autonomic cabinet.  On February 12, 1898, members of the provisional autonomic cabinet were sworn in before governor Macias.  This first Secretaries Council functioned until the elections for Insular Representatives were held on March 27, 1898.


Mayor General John R. Brooke


First North American Militar Governor of Puerto Rico.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1838, Major General John Rutter Brooke began his military career in 1861 as a captain of volunteers in the Civil War and eventually achieved the rank of major general of volunteers. He retired at war's end, but later returned to work his way up through the ranks of the regular army. In the Spanish-American War, he commanded the 1st Corps of the Army. In Puerto Rico he landed in Arroyowith General Hains, and reached Guayama by the time the armistice was signed. When General Miles left the island in October of 1898 to return to the U.S., Brooke became military governor and head of the army of occupation in the U.S. military government. On the 6th of December, Brooke was replaced by General Henry, and by the 13th, was named to the same position in Cuba.

Jesús T. Piñeiro
1897 - 1952


Governor of Puerto Rico from 1946 to 1948.

Jesús T. Piñeiro born in Carolina, Puerto Rico on April 16, 1897 and died on November 16, 1952.  He studied in The University of Puerto Rico, then in The University of Pennsylvania, graduated as an engineer.  He got into the politic presiding the Municipal Assembly of Carolina, his native town.  He was selected to preside in the Association of Sugar Cane Colonies of Puerto Rico from 1933 to 1937 and he was incorporated to the Reconstruction Administration of Puerto Rico (PRRA).  He was a candidate for Senator of the Liberal Party, and then, with Luis Muñoz Marín, Luis Negrón López, and others, he was one of the founder members of the Democratic Party (PPD) in the town of Carolina, when he separated from the Liberal Party.  From 1940 to 1944 he became a Board Representative.  On 1944 the Democratic Party won seven electoral districts and seventy three municipalities.  Piñeiro was elected Resident Commissioner in Washington, D.C. (1944-1946).  On 1946 he was elected Governor of Puerto Rico by the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, he was the first Puerto Rican in the history of Puerto Rico to occupied the most higher political rank in the Island.  On 1948 the Puerto Ricans vote for the first time on our history, to elect our Governor, Luis Muñoz Marín.

Luis Muñoz Marín1898 - 1980


Puerto Rico Democratic Party Founder and Governor of Puerto Rico from 1949 to 1964. 

 (February 18, 1898– April 30, 1980) was a poet, journalist and politician.  He was the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico and considered one of the most important twentieth-century political figures in the Americas. He worked closely with the Government of the United States for the creation of a Constitution for Puerto Rico that would create a more favorable environment in which the island could achieve progress both economically and politically. Muñoz served for sixteen years as Governor and his achievements made him worthy of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1962 and of the title "Father of the Modern Puerto Rico".  Born José Luis Alberto Muñoz Marín at 152 Fortaleza street in Old San Juan, he was the son of  Don Luis Muñoz Rivera, and Doña Amalia Marín Castilla. Luis Muñoz Marín's early years were spent with frequent travels between the United States and Puerto Rico. His father founded the newspaper the "Puerto Rico Herald" in New York and in 1910 was elected Resident Commissioner  of Puerto Rico to the United States Congress.  In 1911 Muñoz began his studies at the Georgetown Preparatory School, in Washington, D.C.  In 1915 he began his Law studies at Georgetown University but was forced to return to Puerto Rico after his father became ill. Luis Muñoz Rivera died November 15, 1916.
In 1920 Muñoz Marín joined the Puerto Rican Socialist Party headed by Santiago Iglesias Pantín. During this time he advocated for Puerto Rican Independence from the United States and sympathized with the Puerto Rican worker, who in his views was being neglected by the political forces of the time.

Roberto Sánchez Vilella
1913 - 1977


Governor of Puerto Rico from 1965 to 1968.

Sánchez Vilella successfully ran for governor on the 1964 elections for the PPD (Partido Popular Democratico, or Popular Democratic Party), after Luiz Muñoz Marín, the then party leader, decided to step down as Governor after four terms in office. Sánchez attended High School in Santurce.  After graduation, he attended Ohio State University where he graduated with a degree in Engineering in 1934. He then was a professor for a short time at the University of Puerto Rico.  After a long and distinguished career as city manager of the city of San Juan, Secretary of Public Works and Secretary of State, Sanchez-Vilella was handpicked by Governor Luis Muñoz Marín to run as the PPD's candidate for Governor in 1964. Sánchez won the election by a comfortable margin becoming the second democratically elected Governor of the island. During his tenure, Sánchez tried to change his party's membership, urging a younger generation to rise in the party's organization. It could be argued that Sánchez was influenced by the youth movement that the island was experiencing country wide during the 1960s, a period where many social areas in Puerto Rico, including television, music and sports, were being introduced to fresh, younger personalities. Sánchez had public marital problems during his term; he divorced his wife in 1967 and married one of his close assistants, Jeannette Ramos-Buonomo, the daughter of the then Speaker of the House, Ernesto Ramos Antonini. This marked the first time a Governor married while holding the office.

Luis A. Ferré Aguayo


Governor of Puerto Rico from 1969 to 1972.

Don Luis Alberto Ferré Aguayo (February 17, 1904 – October 21, 2003) was a Puerto Rican engineer, industrialist, politician, philanthropist, and a patron of the arts.  He was the third Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico from 1969 to 1973, and the founding father of the New Progressive Party which advocates for Puerto Rico becoming a state of the United States of America.  Ferré became active in politics in the 1940's. He unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1940 and Resident  Commissioner  in 1948.  In 1948, Puerto Ricans where allowed to elect their governor.  Luis Muñoz Marín was elected governor of Puerto Rico, and a movement began which aimed to adopt a commonwealth relationship with the United States of America.  In 1951, a referendum was held to decided to whether to approve or not the option granted by the United States Congress to draft Puerto Rico's first constitution. Ferré abstained from participating in the process in which the pro-statehood party to which he belonged favored the 1951 referendum.  He believed that the process would mean "an acceptance of a colony and condemn the people to a perpetual condition of second class citizenship".  His work as governor of Puerto Rico included defending the federal minimum wage and granting workers a Christmas bonus. He visited Puerto Rican troops in Vietnam.  In 1970 his first wife, Lorencita, died at La Fortaleza after being bed-ridden for years.

Rafael Hernández Colón1936


Governor of Puerto Rico for two decades:  from 1972 to 1976 and from 1985 to 1989.

Rafael Hernández Colón (born October 24, 1936 in Ponce, Puerto Rico) is a Puerto Rican politician who was the fourth Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for three non-consecutive terms (1973-1977, 1985-1993). An experienced politician, Hernández holds the record for being the youngest Governor of Puerto Rico, having won his first term at the age of 36. Hernández is also the person who has run for Governor the most times, a total of five. During his terms as Governor, Hernández Colón's administration was known for trying to invigorate the Puerto Rican economy as well as defending the current political status of the island.  Hernández Colón studied at Wayne in Pennsylvania, and obtained a bachelor's degree in Political Science from John Hopkins University in 1956 where he graduated with honors. In 1956, he obtained his degree in Law from the University of Puerto Rico, at Río Piedras graduating magna cum laude and as valedictorian of his class.  He was married to Lila Mayoral, with whom he had four children: Rafael, Jose Alfredo, Dora Mercedes and Juan Eugenio. Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral is currently a senator in the Puerto Rico Senate.  Hernández Colón affiliated himself with the Popular Democratic Party, or Partido Popular Democratico (PPD). He served as Associate Commissioner of Public Service under the governorship of Roberto Sánchez Vilella.  In 1965 he was named Secretary of the Department of Justice. In 1968 he was elected to the Senate of Puerto Rico, becoming the youngest Senator to hold a seat in the Senate at the time. A young political star, he was named President of the Senate until 1972, when he successfully ran for Governor of Puerto Rico.  Hernández Colón has been granted honoris causa degrees from Johns Hopkins University, Seton Hall and the Pontificial Catholic University of Puerto Rico, where he has served as a law professor in the university's Law School.  In 1985, Hernández Colón was awarded the Order of Duarte, Sánchez y Mella.  In 1987 he was awarded the Cross of Isabel the Catholic by king Juan Carlos I and the government of Spain. That same year he was awarded the "Grand Cordón del Libertador" by the government of Venezuela, the Harvard Foundation Award, and the Spirit of the Caribbean Award. In 1989 he was awarded the Olympic Order Award.  On October 18, 1991 at the Campoamor de Oviendo Theater, Hernandez Colón, received the Príncipe de Asturias de las Letras award from Felipe de Borbón.  In early 2003, Lila Mayoral, his fisrt wife died after battling cancer. Currently, Hernández Colón maintains distance from public political engagement, but continues involved in Puerto Rico's political affairs assiting active politicians. He remarried attorney Nelsa López in late 200.

Carlos Romero Barceló


Governor of Puerto Rico for two decades:  from 1977 to 1980 and from 1982 to 1985.


Carlos Romero-Barceló born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 4, 1932, with political issues running thru his blood.  He is one of the biggest braves that continues active and fighting in the Puerto Rican political campus.  In an Island where the consensus is so difficult to obtain and the elections were disputes too tights, he was an institution in the politics of Puerto Rico’s life during more than 30 years.

At the end of the decades of the 60’s years it was determinant in the creation of the “Partido Nuevo Progresista” (PNP).  Today he continues to be one of the more prominent leaders of the Party, and under the State Flag that promotes the “PNP”, he was the only person elected to the three positions considered in the politics:  San Juan Mayor, Governor of Puerto Rico, and Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in Washington, D.C.

His maternal grandfather, Antonio R. Barceló, he was an emphasize leader of the Union Party of Puerto Rico.   The Union Party was founded in 1904 based on the principles of the government with the public consent.  During the first 25 years, it was an important movement in the Island on the fight looking for the auto-determination to the Island, under leadership of others like Luis Muñoz Rivera and José De Diego.

In 1916, Antonio Barceló, former President of the Union Party, enrolled a commission bipartisan that travels to Washington to ask for the approval of the Jones Law (Ley Jones) that should confer to the Puerto Rican people the North American Citizenship and the right to elect our own Senators in the Local Legislature.  The next year, after the success of the law, Barceló was converted into the first President of the Senate of Puerto Rico.

Pedro Roselló


Governor of Puerto Rico from 1991 to 2000.

Don Pedro Roselló born April 5, 1944, is a Puerto Rican politician who was the sixth Governor of the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico from 1993 to 2001.  He also served as President of the Council of State Governments as wells as Chairman of the Southern Governor's Association, and Democratic Governors Association.  After a two year retirement Rosselló sought a third term on the General Elections of 2004, but was defeated by Resident Commissioner, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá by a margin of 3.566 votes.  He currently holds a seat in the Senate of Puerto Rico.

Sila María Calderón


She was the First female Governor of Puerto Rico from November 2000 to 2004.

Sila María Calderón (born September 22, 1942) was the seventh Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico from 2001 to 2005.  She is the only woman ever elected to that office. Prior to being Governor, Calderón held various positions in the Government of Puerto Rico, including Secretary of State and Chief of Staff.  She was also Mayor of San Juan, the Capital of Puerto Rico.  Sila María grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and attended high school at the Sacred Heart Academy in Santurce.  In 1960 she attended Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York.  In 1964 she graduated with a degree in Political Science.  In 1970, her graduate studies led her to the School of Public Administration at the Univetrsity of Puerto Rico where she graduated with a masters in Public Administration in 1972.  Her political career began in 1973 when she was named executive assistant to the Labor Secretary and Special Assistant to then Governor, Rafael Hernández Colón.  Calderón became the first woman Chief of Staff in Puerto Rico in 1985.  Later, she served as Secretary of State.  She returned to politics and was elected Mayor of the city of San Juan in 1996. As mayor, she sponsored various urban projects to revitalize Río Piedras, Santurce, Condado and other deteriorated sections of the city.  She initiated a "Special Communities Program" to assist poor communities and foster community volunteering.  During her time as mayor of San Juan, she was granted several high profile audiences, including one with then -president Bill Clinton.  In 2000 she set her sights for the governor's seat. She led the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) during a heated and close campaign for Governor against Carlos Pesquera (PNP) and Rubén Berríios (PIP). With her victory, she became the first elected female governor in the history of Puerto Rico.  Calderón's administration objectives dealt with issues such as Vieques (see Navy-Vieques protests), the fight against drugs  and the extension to the rest of the island of the "Special Communities Programs". During her campaign for the governorship, she promised to "get the Navy out of Vieques in 6 months", but the Navy left as agreed in the historic Clinton-Rosselló agreement, on May 1, 2003.  Although a firm believer in the current political status of the island, an attempt to discuss mechanisms to resolve the status dispute that faces Puerto Rico among the three major political parties was unsuccessful.  After her term ended, Calderón retired completely from public life.  Her administration was characterized by a pursuit of uncovering corruption committed during the previous administration (which was led by the opposing party), resulting in many indictments but relatively few convictions.

Anibal Acevedo Vilá1962


He was the Governor of Puerto Rico from 2004 to 2008.

Aníbal Acevedo Vilá (born February 13, 1962) is the eighth and current Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  As such, he is a member of the National Governors'  Association, the Southern Governors' Association, and the Democratic Governors' Association.   Acevedo has served in many political posts in Puerto Rico, including being member of the House of Representatives (1993–2001) and Resident Commissioner (2001–2005).  Acevedo won the office of Governor on the elections of November 2004, defeating former Governor Pedro Roselló.  However, Acevedo's margin of victory was just 3,566 votes and was marred by a controversy that involved appeals to the United States Federal Courts.  Acevedo is the first elected governor born after the adoption of the Constitution of Puerto Rico.  Acevedo Vilá was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and attended the Colegio San José High School in the same municipality, where he graduated as president of the class in 1979. In 1982, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras.  He continued his studies in Law at the same campus, where he was elected Vice President of the Student Council and served as Editor-in-Chief of the law journal published by the school. He obtained his Juris Doctor in 1985, graduating magna cum laude.  After passing the Puerto Rican bar, Acevedo Vilá completed a year-long clerkship at the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, where he worked under Justice Federico Hernández Denton.  In 1987, he obtained a Master's degree in Constitutional Law from Harvard University.  From 1987 to 1988, he served as a law clerk for the HonorableLevin Hicks Campbell,  Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, Massachusetts.   Acevedo Vilá began his political career in 1989 when he worked as Advisor in Legislative Affairs to then-Governor Rafael Hernández Colón.  In 1992 he was elected as Representative At-Large to Puerto Rico's House of Representatives.  He developed his leadership skills during this period and was able to win reelection in 1996. The following year, his party elected him Minority Leader of the House. In February 1977, Acevedo Vilá was elected President of the Popular Democratic Party.   Acevedo won the Puerto Rico General Elections of 2004 by approximately 3,800 votes (0.2 percent of the vote) over former-governor Pedro Rosselló. However, since the margin of victory was so small, a full recount of the elections took place. During the period, Rosselló filed a civil law suit against Acevedo Vila himself over a dispute of certain ballots that were cast during the elections. The case moved up to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit,  where three judges ruled that the question of whether the ballots were properly cast or not was a question of state law and therefore should be seen by the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. The Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the ballots in question were valid. On December 28, 2004 the recount ended and Acevedo was certified as the winner of the elections.   Acevedo assumed the office of Governor on January 2, 2005 and was expected to face many political challenges during his term. This was primarily due to the fact that the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico would be controlled by the opposing New Progressive Party (PNP by its acronym in Spanish). Also, the new Resident Commissioner of the island is also member of the PNP, and Acevedo's main political rival, Pedro Rosselló, managed to gain a seat in the Senate of Puerto Rico.

Luis  Guillermo Fortuño Burset


Luis Guillermo Fortuño born October 31, 1960 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Is the Governor-elect of Puerto Rico.  He is the outgoing Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to the United States Congress, a post held since January 3, 2005. He is the first Republican Resident Representative elected from Puerto Rico in history.

Fortuño is the first Fortuño, is the president of the New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico (NPP), a member of the United States Republican Party, the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference and the Ranking Member of the newly-created House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs.  Fortuño became the New Progressive Party's 2008 gubernatorial candidate after winning the NPP primary held on March 9, 2008 by a 3-to-2 margin. Fortuño was elected Governor of Puerto Rico the night of November 4th, 2008. He will take office on January 2, 2009.

Fortuño will be the first Republican to be elected Governor of Puerto Rico since 1969, and only the second Republican governor since 1949.   Luis G Fortuño Burset attended Colegio Marista of Guaynabo, graduating in 1977. He then received a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (B.S.F.S.) degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.  In 1985, he received a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. During this period, Fortuño was an intern at the Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in Washington, D.C.




Alejandro García Padilla (born August 3, 1971) is our new Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a self-governing territory of the United States of America.  He is a Puerto Rican Senator at-large, President of the Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico (PDP), and was the successful gubernatorial candidate for the 2012 election. Alejandro García Padilla was born on August 3, 1971 in Coamo, Puerto Rico, the youngest of six brothers. After high school, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Puerto Rico.  He later earned a law degree from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico.

García Padilla began his law career working at Puerto Rico's Court of Appeals as a law clerk. He then worked as an attorney, specializing in Property, Estates, Contracts, and Administrative Law. He also worked as a law professor at the Interamerican University. He later served as a legislative aide for the committees on Internal Affairs, Women's Affairs, and Agriculture, among others. He was a member of the board of the Puerto Rico Bar Association.