Federico Degetau, First Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico 1862

Federico Degetau, Puerto Rico’s first Resident Commissioner after it became a US territory, was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico on December 5, 1862.  Degetau was a man of many talents, and his career roles included politician, art collector, author, lawyer, coffee grower, and educator.  He studied in Puerto Rico and at the University of Madrid, where he earned a law degree.  After US troops took over Puerto Rico during the Spanish American War, Degetau was appointed Secretary of the Interior of the first governing cabinet formed under American rule.  He was elected as Resident Commission to the US House of Representatives in 1900 and re-elected in 1902. After his career in politics, he turned to art collecting and academics, working to establish the Pan American University in Puerto Rico.

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