“THIS DAY IN CUBAN HISTORY…. – José de La Luz y Caballero (1800-1862)”

A publication of the Cuban Studies Institute

José de La Luz y Caballero (1800-1862).  Born on July 11, 1800 he was an educator and, along with Félix Varela and José Antonio Saco y López, one of Cuba’s leading intellectuals of the mid-19th century.  Nephew of José Agustín Caballero, he became a respected and beloved teacher of philosophy (in succession to Saco) and supporter of the empirical scientific method at the Real Colegio y Seminario de San Carlos and the Colegio El Salvador, where he influenced an entire generation with his advocacy of austerity, justice, and freedom, including the abolition of slavery and Cuban independence from Spain. 

A world traveler, he visited Europe and the United States, becoming acquainted with the leading writers of his era, including Goethe, Sir Walter Scott, Longfellow, Humboldt, and Jules Michelet.  Accused of participating in the Escalera conspiracy, he voluntarily returned from abroad to defend his innocence.  His writings include Texto de lecturas graduadasAforismos, and Impugnación al examen de Consin sobre el Ensayo del Entendimiento Humano de Locke.  His works, including De la vida íntima: epistolario y diariosPolémica filosóficaElencos y discursos académicosEscritos educativos, and Escritos sociales y científicos were reprinted in 1945-1946 by Editorial de la Universidad de La Habana.

*Jaime Suchlicki is Director of the Cuban Studies Institute, CSI, a non-profit research group in Coral Gables, FL. He is the author of Cuba: From Columbus to Castro & Beyond, now in its 5th edition; Mexico: From Montezuma to the Rise of the PAN, 2nd edition, and of the recently published Breve Historia de Cuba.