History in Bronze
February 21, 2022
Ask Google what the perfect human is, and you’ll see the words “Puerto Rican” scrolling down the page.
Having ancestry that traces back through the native Taíno, conquering Spanish, and African slave, Puerto Ricans have more than a strong mix of genes, but a proud mezcla of cultures.
A little way off from the Paseo de los Presidentes, commemorating all of the United States presidents that have visited Puerto Rico, is a bronze mural reenacting Puerto Rico’s centuries of history.
Time flows fluid across its surface while anchored in remembrance within its metal surface. It begins:
De tu Historia
The Taínos were the natives of Puerto Rico, who greeted the Spanish peacefully when they first arrived on the island, led by Ponce de León.
Y tu Lucha Heroica
When a cycle of submission, death, and misery was cast over the indigenous Taínos by the Spanish, they were led to battle by Agüeybaná el bravo (the fierce), defeated in 1511, but resisting longer.
Emanan tu Dignidad
With a declining indigenous population, the Spanish brought African slaves to carry the weight of the island, fast becoming known as the “Key to the Indies” and envy of other European powers that were fought off from its shores.
The Puerto Rican identity thrived into the 18th Century with artists, educators, religious leaders, Spanish constitution signatories, and abolitionists.
The 20th Century saw Puerto Rico ceded from Spain to the United States, the women’s vote granted, and three Organic Acts establishing a civilian government, American citizenship, and the Constitution of Puerto Rico.
Y tu Cultura
Puerto Rican culture now lives, a mixture of roots manifested in music, literature, painting, and, as in the relief, history and culture.
In English, those words carved in Spanish under the bronze translate to:
From your History and your Heroic Fight Emanates your Dignity, your Perseverance, your Greatness and your Culture