Francisco Ayerra de Santa María

Father Francisco Ayerra de Santa María [note 1] (1630–1708) is considered to be Puerto Rico's first native born poet.

Francisco Ayerra de Santa María
Puerto Rico's first native born poet
Puerto Rico's first native born poet
San Juan, Puerto Rico
NationalityPuerto Rican

Early yearsEdit

Santa Maria was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he received his primary and secondary education. He went to Mexico as a young and enrolled in the University of Mexico, where he earned a degree in Canonic Law. Following this, he was ordained as priest. [1]

It was in Mexico that Santa Maria wrote most of his works and became successful as a poet. His Poetic style was known as "cultural", because it was based on religious and historical themes. He wrote his verses in both Spanish and Latin. His work has been included in many anthologies.[1]

First rector of the Tridentino Seminary in MexicoEdit

In 1690, Carlos de Sigüenza, a Mexican Intellectual, became fascinated with the adventures of Puerto Rican named Alonzo Ramirez, who as a child embarked from San Juan, Puerto Rico on an adventurous voyage in 1675, that would take him around the world and eventually to his final destination Yucatan, Mexico. Sigüenza wrote the book titled "Infortunios de Alonso Ramírez" (The Misfortunes of Alonso Ramirez) where he narrated these adventures. Archival evidence recently discovered by Fabio López-Lázaro proves not only the existence of Ramírez but also the historical accuracy of his experiences with pirates, most noticeably William Dampier, as narrated by Sigüenza.[2] Santa Maria held the position of Censor from the Holy Office in Mexico when he was approached by Sigüenza. During this period of time, the church would normally censor that type of work, however Santa Maria who like Ramirez was also a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, overlooked his obligations and cleared it for publication. It is believed that Alonso Ramirez is the first Puerto Rican to have traveled around the world. Eventually, Santa Maria became the first rector of the Tridentino Seminary in Mexico. Father Francisco Ayerra de Santa Maria died in Mexico in 1708.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ This article uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Ayerra and the second or maternal family name is de Santa María.


  1. ^ a b "Puerto Rican Poetry: A Selection from Aboriginal to Contemporary Times"; by Roberto Marquez; Pg. 25-26; Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press (January 31, 2007); ISBN 1-55849-562-2; ISBN 978-1-55849-562-3
  2. ^ The Misfortunes of Alonso Ramirez: The True Adventures of a Spanish American with 17th Century Pirates,' University of Texas Press, 2011.'
  3. ^ The Misfortunes of Alonso Ramirez (1690)

External linksEdit